Astronomical Image Processing Software

StarView is a software package for processing and enhancing astronomical photos. This software is work-in-progress, and the current version shown here is the first release. The features in the current version include:

  • Applying dark, bias and flat corrections to an image.
  • Stacking multiple images for S/N enhancement.
  • Stacking multiple sequential short exposure images to obtain an equivalent long exposure star-trail image.

 

Starview

 

Images are loaded under the File menu. The images are not loaded into the computer memory at this this stage, but the file information and file location are read and stored. If the file on disk is deleted after being loaded, then it will not be found during the later processing steps. The dark, bias and flat images should be loaded under the appropriate menu load item. Three file formats are supported and are JPG, PNG and TIFF formats. The image file information is stored under 7 categories, depending on how it was loaded or the processing step. These are shown by the 7 tabs on the left side of the main application body. The workflow is divided in to 6 main steps. These are:

  1. Load the data, and select the required images.
  2. Pre-processing.
    • To determine optional processing parameters and stacking the dark, bias or flat images.
  3. Processing.
    • Applying the selected processing options to an image. The processing steps are applied sequentially in the order of the steps as listed.
  4. Automatic Alignment <optional>.
    • Manual alignment is a separate process that is done in the main processing section, and can additionally be done preceding automatic alignment.
  5. Image Stacking
  6. Enhancement <nothing here yet>.
    • For future versions.

 

Workflow options

Some workflow scenarios are shown below. These are grouped into workflows that dont have any dark, bias or flat images, and those that do. The simpler workflows don’t use dark, bias or flat images are shown in the first diagram below. Of these, the simplest option is to simply load a number of images and stack them all together. The more complex workflows include alignment and image processing.

Starview workflowSimple workflow scenarios using a sequence of images.

 Starview workflowWorkflow scenarios using a sequence of images that include dark, bias and flat images.

 

Viewing images

There are two main ways to view an image.

  • The first way is to single-click on a file name when the “Preview and Exif” tab is at the front
  • The second way is to double-click on a file-name and a separate ImageViewer will pop up.

There is a third type of image window that will automatically come up at times, and this is from OpenCV. This window is controlled by the processing.

 

Pre-processing

Pre-processing steps are steps that dont have any immediate effect on any images. The pre-processing steps either assist in determining processing parameters, or compute auxillary files such as dark, bias and flats for later application to the image files.

  • Dark/Bias/Flat stacks. Computes a mean stack of the checked files that are loaded as either dark, flat or bias
  • Flat modelling. Simulates a flat file based on a single parameter called “flat coefficient”. A larger value has a greater falloff towards the edge of the image. An image is required to be present in the flat list before this option can be run, since information on the image size is needed and is got from any file in the flat list. This doesn’t have to be an actual flat file and can be any type of image
  • ADR. This is an attempt to reduce the severity of atmospheric dispersion that occurs on images shot at lower altitude angles close to the horizon. It simply shifts the red pixels down by a certain pixel count, and shifts the blue pixels up. The photo angle relative to the horizon is required, and is the parameter called camera angle. Note that if doing eye-piece projection photography, an additional 180 degrees needs to be added (or subtracted).
  • Manual Alignment shifts. Allow to identify a single, or a pair of points on each image for later alignment.
    • Single point alignment means that the images will be aligned at the selected point by X and Y translations.
    • Two point alignment means that the images will be first aligned mid-way between the 2 selected points by X and Y translation, and then a “best fit” rotation is applied so the two selected points will overlay. If the points were not accurately picked, or the images suffer from lens distortions, then the final overlay may not be exact.

 

Processing

Six processing option are available. The processing is applied in order from top to bottom. Only the processing options that are checked are applied.

  • Dark Subtract. A dark image is selected from the dark list, and the correction applied.
  • Bias Subtract. A bias image is selected from the dark list, and the correction applied.
  • Flat Subtract. A flat image is selected from the dark list, and the correction applied.
  • AD Reduction. ADR is applied using the parameters determined during pre-processing.
  • Manual Alignment. Manual alignment is applied, using the parameters determined during pre-processing.
  • Negative Image. A negative image is computed.

 

Auto Alignment.

Input data for auto-alignment can come from either the image (loaded data) or processed file lists. Still under development.

 

Stacking

Input data for auto-alignment can come from either the image (loaded data), auto-aligned or processed file lists. Four stacking options are available.

  • Mean Stack. An average of all the checked image.
  • Median Stack (not yet operational).
  • Star-trail Stack. For making a single star-trail image from a sequence of short sequential exposures. See Star-trail stacking for some more details.
  • Plane Stack. For stacking images of planes taking off near an airport, with camera fixed on a tripod and a blue cloudless sky. See Plane stacking for some more details.

 

Installation

StarView is a 64 bit application, so requires a 64 bit installations of Windows. A license is not required to run this demonstration version, although it is internally configured to expire on 31-Dec-2017. The StarView software requires that the Microsoft Visual  C++ 2013 Redistributable (x64)  is installed on the PC before it will run. This can be downloaded from https://www.microsoft.com/en-sg/download/details.aspx?id=40784. Select the download for vcredist_x64.exe. Note that this is a different one from the one required for GPS_locator and AVOlite which are 32 bit applications. To install the StarView software, first install the vcredist_x64.exe as described above, then get the StarView_installer EXE file and run it. After installation, it can be found under Program Files in the StarSeis directory.

Please contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy of this software.
The download link below is not active.

Last updated: 24-Jan-2017 (version 1003) 

This software has been tested on Windows-10 and Windows-7.