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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Astronomy & Celestial Talk 
Thread started 22 Oct 2009 (Thursday) 15:24
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troypiggo
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Oct 22, 2009 15:24 |  #1

This is a very comprehensive list of astro software compiled by Pierpaolo Ricci. All free to download, but some are shareware, trial/demo type as well. He keeps it pretty up to date, adding 15 or 20 every few months.

http://www.pierpaolori​cci.it …/downloadsoftwa​re_eng.htm (external link)

I noted some omissions of some software I find useful and have contacted him for inclusion next update.
_______________

(Updated 8 May 2014)

Thought I'd post here a much more compact list of astro software that I regularly use (marked *), and maybe if you post your recommended ones too we can make this a one-stop-shop to help others. Trying to keep it a list of free or very cheap software for those just starting out, figuring by the time you're ready to really fork out for some of the more expensive software you pretty much know what you want my then anyway.

All software below is free unless noted otherwise. I've tried to keep them grouped, but not easy as some software overlaps categories handling several things. In this case I put them in the heading I think most apt.

Session Planning:
*CCD Calculator (external link) (Win)
*Astroplanner (external link) (Win/Mac) US$45 as at 08/05/14

Polar Alignment:
Alignmaster (external link)(Win) EU$14 as at 08/05/14 - a negligible price to pay considering the hours and hours it will save you doing time-consuming drift alignment. Get polar aligned in minutes, if not seconds. Note that I no longer use this regularly. I have been using OpenPHD's drift align feature as per below.
*PHD2 (OpenPHD) (external link) (Win/Mac) - the next generation of Craig Stark's PHD (see Guiding Software below). Has new features, one of which is a useful drift align tool.
EQAlign - see link below under guiding software. Can do polar alignment as well.

Guiding Software:
*PHD2 (OpenPHD) (external link) (Win/Mac) - the next generation of Craig Stark's PHD (see PHD below). Has new features and enhancements.
PHD Guiding (external link) (Win/Mac) - by far the most popular guiding software around.
Guidemaster (external link)(Win)
Metaguide (external link)(Win) - not just for guiding, can also be used as a powerful collimation aid
EQAlign (external link)(Win)

Planetarium:
*Cartes du Ciel (external link) (Win/Mac/Linux)
C2A (external link) (Win)
Stellarium (external link)(Win/Mac/Linux)
Celestia (external link)(Win/Mac/Linux)
Jupiter 2.0 (external link) (Win) - for Jupiter moon positions
Virtual Moon Atlas (external link) (Win)
Orbitron (external link) (Win) - satellite tracking software
Where is M13? (external link) (Win) - kinda different. It's actually a 3d view of our galaxy, the Milky Way. You can put in a Messier or NGC object and it'll show where it is in relation to where our Solar System.

Image Capture:
*Sequence Generator Pro (external link) (Win) US$99 as at 08/05/14- reasonable price, very powerful and useful.
Nebulosity (external link) (Win/Mac) US$60 as at 23/10/09 - quite powerful, does image capture, stacking, and post-processing. Can also link to PHD Guiding to drizzle (external link).
Astro Photography Tool (external link) (Win) free demo, EU$12.70 as at 6/8/10 - if you're imaging with a Canon DSLR, and if you're reading this you probably are, this one is definitely worth a look.
K3CCDTools (external link) (Win) US$49 as at 23/10/09 - more for webcam and planetary/lunar imaging, but can also drift align
Craterlet (external link)(Win/Mac) - also more for webcam and planetary/lunar imaging.

Deep Sky Image Processing:
*PixInsight (external link) (Win/Mac/Linux) EU$199 (excl VAT) - extremely powerful, specifically written for astro image processing although can be used on normal photos. Be warned, there is a steep learning curve, as the philosophy of image processing using PI is different to PhotoShop that you're probably used to. That being said, in my opinion, PI is the ultimate for astro images, and it's cheaper than PS by a mile.
Troy's Astro Actions (external link) for Photoshop (Win/Mac) - check out the thread here on POTN
Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools Photoshop Action Set (external link) (Win/Mac) US$21.95 as at 08/05/14
Gimp (external link) (Win/Mac/*nix)
Deep Sky Stacker (external link) (Win)
Iris (external link) (Win)

Planetary Image Processing:
*Registax (external link) (Win)
AviStack (external link)(Win/Mac)

Star Trails
StarTrails (external link) (Win)
StarStaX (external link) (Mac/Win/Linux)
Star Tracer (external link) - fill in the gaps on your star trail shots, or even extend them (Win) US$35 as at 08/05/14


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Jeff
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Oct 22, 2009 19:10 |  #2

A very nice list Troy, I'm sure it'll help out a lot of people.

Here's some software to capture video from any camera with Live View.

Software - free:
http://sourceforge.net​/projects/eos-movrec/ (external link)

Author's homepage (in Russian - use google translate)
http://valexvir.narod.​ru/ (external link)


Jeff
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troypiggo
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Oct 22, 2009 19:31 |  #3

But is it suitable for astro?


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Karl ­ Johnston
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Oct 22, 2009 20:37 |  #4
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ooo wow this would make an excellent sticky! Thanks for the resource, troy


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MintMark
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Oct 23, 2009 07:01 as a reply to  @ Karl Johnston's post |  #5

Gimp is alright for final resizing or file format conversion, but because it's only 8 bits per channel I don't think it's very good for curves and level adjustments.

That's the reason I started using the free pixinsight LE, but that version is no longer available. Are there any other free image editing applications that can handle higher bit depths per channel?


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Jeff
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Oct 23, 2009 07:08 |  #6

troypiggo wrote in post #8875763 (external link)
But is it suitable for astro?

On planets and the moon yes. Other stuff I'd say no.


Jeff
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troypiggo
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Oct 23, 2009 08:40 |  #7

Mark - agree about Gimp. I was a big advocate of it, recommending it all over the place as a free but powerful alternative to Photoshop. Then I started astrophotography. It's because of all the extreme stretching we need to do, pulling data all over the place, that the 8bits really struggles.

However I included it because it's free and certainly can be used. I figured it's a good starting point.


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MintMark
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Oct 23, 2009 12:48 as a reply to  @ troypiggo's post |  #8

Gimp absolutely has a place on the list. Many of its tools are easy to use (cropping and resizing) and the one I always use in gimp is save as jpeg. You can preview the quality and it tells you how big the file will be, which is just what you need when preparing to attach an image in these forums!


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troypiggo
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Aug 05, 2010 06:10 |  #9

Been a while since I updated the list. Where is M13 added. Pretty cool.


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Jeff
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Aug 05, 2010 17:23 as a reply to  @ troypiggo's post |  #10

This is one of the best software packages I've seen for controlling the camera:

"Astro Photography Tool" or APT:
http://www.ideiki.com/​astro/ (external link)

Try before you buy version, 12.70 Euro (~$16 US) for full version and well worth it. Will do mirror lockup on more recent versions of EOS (one thing I was REALLY looking for). Shutter delay. Set lists for x exposures at x settings then x exposures at x settings and so on. Live view at 5x & 10x for focusing.


Jeff
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troypiggo
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Aug 05, 2010 18:13 |  #11

Aah yes. I've seen that one and heard good things about it, but haven't used it myself. Certainly worth a mention above, though. Thanks Jeff!


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troypiggo
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Nov 24, 2010 16:43 |  #12

Just added Troy's Astro Actions and Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools Action Set


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renderwerks
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Dec 16, 2010 18:02 |  #13

Jeff wrote in post #10669072 (external link)
This is one of the best software packages I've seen for controlling the camera:

"Astro Photography Tool" or APT:
http://www.ideiki.com/​astro/ (external link)

I couldn't agree more. I've been using this for the last few months and love it. The dark adapted interface is the best I've seen.

I also found great value in using it with an external temperature/humidity sensor ($20 on ebay). It can use ambient or exif temps as part of the filename. This was great for unmanned sets of darks.

Plus, Ivo, the developer of APT, is very responsive to his customers. A feature I requested was in the very next version. Two other features I suggested are also going to be included in the next few versions.


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troypiggo
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Feb 02, 2011 21:17 |  #14

Just added "Star Tracer". Not sure how I missed that one as I've been aware of it for a while and thought it'd be quite useful, although don't do that many star trails myself. Yet.


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troypiggo
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Nov 27, 2011 23:43 |  #15

Just added StarStaX star trails software. Free and available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Lovely jubbly.


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