StarStack is a software package for processing and enhancing astronomical photos. This software is work-in-progress, so more features may become available in the future. The features in the current version include:
- Applying dark, bias and flat corrections to an image.
- Alignment of multiple images prior to stacking.
- Stacking multiple images for S/N enhancement.
- Stacking multiple sequential short exposure images to obtain an equivalent long exposure star-trail image.
Images are loaded under the File menu. The images are not loaded into the computer memory at this this stage, but only the file information and file location are read and stored. If the file on disk is subsequently deleted after it's information has 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. These are:
- Image data. Data that has been loaded using "Load Image Files", which will be just a regular photo.
- Processed. Data that has come out from the "Processing" step. Manually aligned data is also within this group.
- Auto-Aligned. Data that has come out from the "Auto-Align" step
- Stacked. Data that has come out from the "Stacking" step.
- Dark. Data that has been loaded as a Dark Image, or from Dark Stack pre-processing
- Bias. Data that has been loaded as a Bias Image, or from Bias Stack pre-processing.
- Flat. Data that has been loaded as a Flat Image, from Flat Stack pre-processing, or a Modeled Flat image from the Pre-processing.
By default, the loading and processing options for dark, bias and flat files are not visible. To allow these options, go to the Preferences menu (Main Menu -> Edit - >Preferences) and set the processing level to Level-2.
The workflow is divided in to 6 main steps. These are:
- Load the data, and select the required images.
- Filtering and determine shifts for Manual Image Alignmnet
- Processing Workflow
- Applying the selected processing options to an image. The processing steps are applied sequentially in the order of the steps as listed.
- 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.