Software for the (Beginning) Astrophotographer


When you take your very first astroshots - presumably much the way described on the first page - chances are, that you will be both disappointed and confused at first sight:

Have I captured any stars at all? If so, which are they? What is star and what is noise??

You will sooner, rather than later discover that in order to fully exploit the "astrophotographic power" of even a fairly simple compact camera, you will have to do some digital imaging post-processing and thus, that you will need an adequate image processing software.

The good news here is, that you can go a long way with fairly simple imaging software suites that are  1)designed for ordinary photographic work and thus, versatile and 2) not very expensive - in fact, you may use some simple freeware for a start. Some general recommendations/comments on such software are to be presented on the general photo pages and simple, astro-specific guidelines can be found in the starter pages and more "advanced topic" tutorials later in this section.

But there are two dedicated types of software that I would urge any would-be astrophotographer to acquire right from the outset. They are free, relatively easy to install and use and they add greatly to the exploitation of your efforts and achievements under the starry sky.

Normally, I am not the (competent) one to recommend software by brand or name, but the following two, I do recommend by name. These are:


Digital Star Chart.

Cartes du Ciel / Sky Chart: A digital star map and planetarium program.


Stacking Software.

Registax: Stacking software dedicated for astrophotography. For enhancement of lunar and planetary detail --- and very well suited for levelling out camera sensor (colour and luminance) noise






Copyright 2008 - Steen G. Bruun