Astrophotography with small telescopes

Home Articles New Comets Gallery Southern Sky from Namibia Astronomie (Deutsch) Author + Equipment Other pages Service

Starting into the field of astronomical image processing is a long and time-consuming learning process, especially without guidance.
Buying the wrong software or equipment can get expensive and frustrating.

Especially for beginners
, reading this "book" provides an easier entry into the comet photography. For all other beginners in astrophotography it teachs the basics of astronomical image processing, explains the CCD technology, provides an overview of CCD cameras, producers and distributors, as well as the practical doing with attractively priced commercial software, but also with freeware.

A second edition is available.

I welcome your feedback, criticism, requests and donations.

Stefan Beck

Email: (

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
1.1 Equipment for imaging comets
2. Basics to CCD / CMOS image sensors
2.1 Full-Frame / Interline CCD sensor
2.2 Microlenses
2.3 Number of pixels
2.4 Pixel size
2.5 Surface
2.6 Characteristics of the image sensors
2.7 Cooling
2.8 Electronics
2.9 Field of application
2.10 Resolution
3. Basic concepts + practices
3.1 Light or Light frame
3.2 Dark or Dark frame
3.3 Bias or Bias frame
3.4 Flat or Flat frame
3.5 Creating a Flat frame
3.6 Creating a Dark frame
3.7 Creating a Bias frame
4. Standard image processing and calibration
4.1. Calibration of the data
4.2. Calibration with Astroart, how to do it
4.2.1 Manual calibration
4.2.2 Batch processing with Astroart including stacking the calibrated images
4.3 Calibration with Fitswork. How to do it.
4.3.1 Creating Master dark-/Master flats
4.3.2 Manual method of calibrating images
4.3.3 Automatic method, stacking of calibrated images
4.4 Processing RAW-Images of DLSR cameras
4.4.1 Developing a RAW Image with Fitswork
4.4.2 Batch mode RAW Images
5. Advanced image processing
5.1 Histogram
5.2 Levels
5.3 Curves
5.4 Digital Development Processing
5.5 Noise reduction + sharpening + save as JPG
6. Special processing of comet images
6.1 Stacking without star trails
6.2 DeepSkyStacker-Method
6.3. Radial Weighted Model + Median Coma Model with Astroart
6.4 Larson-Sekanina filter
7. Measuring the tail and coma with Astrometrica
8. Evaluation, documentation and publication
9. Table of CCD cameras, manufacturers, software

Download some raw images ( 3 images, 1 flat, 1 master dark ) to try the standard image processing.

1. Publication: 21.04.2013