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March 4, 2019
  • VAS Monthly Meeting

    March 4, 2019  7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
    Brownell Library, 6 Lincoln St, Essex Junction, VT 05452, USA

    Free and Open to the Public

    Astro-Image Processing with PixInsight 
    By Mike Stadtmauer

    PixInsight is the most advanced piece of software on the market for astro image processing. It is used by NASA and professional observatories around the world. It is non-intuitive, has a non-standard GUI, has no official manual and is entirely algorithm based - in short, its perfect for us astro geeks who like a challenge. Especially when that effort pays off in stunning images that can not be produced any other way.

    Astro-image processing typically invokes taking images shot through L, R, G, and B filters and combing them through extensive processing and manipulation of the data in order to produce a pretty color image. This presentation will walk through the steps of a typical LRGB image processing workflow, using the special tools and features of PixInsight. We will start with raw, straight out of the camera subs and calibrate and stack them into master frames for each filter. Then, I will demonstrate how to clean up those frames to prepare for RGB combination. Next, we will see how to prepare the L master and the RGB master for stretching by performing linear noise reduction and deconvolution (what’s deconvolution? - you’ll just have to come and find out! - but it was invented by NASA for processing the Hubble images so you know its pretty cool). I will demonstrate a number of different stretching techniques where we take the image from its natural linear state to a non-linear state in order to properly visualize the data. Once stretched, we will see how and why we combine the L with the RGB images to create the LRGB master. That final master image will then be taken through a number of techniques designed to optimize, bring out the most detail and the best colors of our data. Finally, we will see how non-linear noise reduction, sharpening, star reduction and some final touches are applied in order to arrive at the finished image.

    If all of this sounds like greek to you, don’t worry - there will be a handout to follow and lots of explanation along the way. If you have used other astro processing software, prepare to be impressed by the raw mathematical power of PixInsight!


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