An experiment with Deep Sky Stacker

Following a comment on my previous post, “Getting started with night photography,” I was inspired to try out Deep Sky Stacker, a popular application for astrophotography. I’ve avoided using DSS for two reasons: First, I have a Mac, but DSS is for Windows. That issue is resolved by using the Wineskin procedure described by Tom Goetz. Second, most of my night photography is very wide-angle (hence I resist calling it “astrophotography,” and I usually try to include landscape features in my photos. I’m not sure if DSS is really appropriate for that type of image, but I thought I’d give it a whirl anyway.

The comparative results are shown in the gallery below. I stacked eight frames from my previous image, “Galactic center above lighthouse.” I thought that image was pretty awesome when I posted it, but evidently I can produce a much better product from the frames I have. The DSS stacked images look better, but at present I can’t explain why, since I haven’t studied the DSS manual very closely. Unfortunately the DSS processing took several hours, so I probably won’t be using it on a daily basis.

Each of these photos has something that I think is missing in the others. Overall, I really like to range of color and sharpness that emerge from the DSS processing.

3 thoughts on “An experiment with Deep Sky Stacker

  1. Hi Chris,

    Would this DSS be uselful in photographing fluorescent minerals?


    Axel Emmermann

    Mineralogische Kring Antwerpen

    Werkgroepen Fluorescentie en Tech. Realisaties


    Mineralogische Kring Antwerpen, 50 jaar jong ! MINERANT2014, 10 en 11 mei 2014, 10-18 uur – Antwerp Expo Mineralen Edelstenen Fossielen Schelpen

    álle mineralogische informatie … op mineralogische vragen én antwoorden ? stel ze op e-min !

    • Axel- I’m not really sure, since I don’t know much about the problems associated with fluorescence. DSS uses multi-frame stacking to reduce noise and increase dynamic range. It seems like these would be generically useful processing features if your images have a mix of very bright and very faint features.

  2. Pingback: Galactic Center over Lighthouse: do-over | Chris Winstead

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