For digital imagers,
the computer has become as much an essential tool as the telescope
itself. With raw (single) video images, video noise (a speckled
appearance) is apparent in each still frame captured. This is
particularly the case with images captured from paused videotape.
Software tools such as Adobe PhotoShop, Ulead's Photo Editor or
PaintShop Pro are excellent commonly available programs for
processing images. These programs enable the user to stack several
of the best images in order to reduce the background (thermal) noise
with layering tools and also offer several other processing filters
for improving feature contrast.
to the PC
For many years I used
my own software AstroAVI
which records all my equipment and site information along with
dates and times and the target object details in a convenient
database for later reference while digitising images from video or
directly from a camera. I later developed the program as GSTAR4
Capture which is now primarily edited by friend Chris Wakeman
and the program has evolved greatly over the years.
Eyeballing the sharpest
images in a planetary or lunar video movie is still sometimes the
most efficient method for best results. For selecting the best
captured video frames I use
or GSTAR Capture's AVI Toolkit. I then import the exported bitmap
images one of the programs listed below.
and Dark Frame Subtraction
A couple of automated
image stacking tools I use and highly recommend are:
DeepSky Stacker (Highly Recommended)
If you want to try
creating colour images with a black and white video camera then
you'll need to use Red, Green and Blue light filters such as the
RGB Dichroic filter set from True Technology.
Using one of the aforementioned software packages, you can then
apply the resulting monochrome image from each corresponding filter
to the appropriate colour channel of an RGB 24 bit image to create a