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.

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3 thoughts on “An experiment with Deep Sky Stacker

  1. Hi Chris,

    Would this DSS be uselful in photographing fluorescent minerals?

    Axel

    Axel Emmermann

    Mineralogische Kring Antwerpen

    http://www.minerant.org/home.html

    Werkgroepen Fluorescentie en Tech. Realisaties

    http://mkafluorescence.org/MKA/Index.html

    axelhandtekening

    cid:part1.04000206.04010508@skynet.be

    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 http://www.minerant.org 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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