Digital SIG

The "Digital Imaging" group is made up of members and visitors who share the same interest in Astrophotography (or Digital Imaging) and to learn how to do it better and easier. This covers both still image capture with DSLR and CCD cameras, video captured with DSLR cameras, and webcams.

The Digital Imaging SIG meets at 7:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the Weldon Spring Center. We frequently adjourn to Broemmelsiek Park to practice what we preach.

A list of books, articles, and on-line links to tutorials, software, reference websites, and equipment is below. This list is a collection of items and links from all who have supported this SIG over the recent years. Whether you are an experienced imager or a newbie to this "other way" of observing, we strongly recommend you check this page out and even bookmark it for future reference. Note that this section needs to be updated.

To facilitate dialog and sharing information among members of the DigitalSIG, we have a discussion list too. Be sure to join in on the discussions at



"A Beginner's Guide to DSLR Astro-Photography", by Jerry Lodriguss

"Astrophotgraphy for the Amateur", by Michael Covington

"The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing", by Richard Berry and James Burnell

“CCD Astronomy “, by Christian Buil

“The New CCD Astronomy”, Ron Wodaski

“The Art and Science of CCD Astronomy”, by David Ratledge


"Improving your DSLR Photos" by Jerry Lodriguss, S&T, October 2008

(off the Internet)


Personal/Informative Websites

(Members and friends of ASEM, who have their own websites and who have provided instruction at ASEM Digital Imaging meetings)

Gregg Ruppel

Will Day

Dan Crowson

DSLR Cameras and CCD Imaging

(Those below have books and products to sell along with sharing information)

Jerry Lodriguss

Author and active DSLR Astro-Photographer. Has put a lot of his books' content and recent DSLR camera reviews on his website; go thru the site's menu and look around. Also the forum moderator for the Yahoo's 'digital_astro'' group.

Michael Covington's Digital SLR Notes

Another noted book author with some content and techniques to share in his website.

Richard Berry

Jim Solomon's Astrophotography Cookbook

Matt BenDaniel Articles

Hap Griffin

Also well known for DSLR modification services, in addition to his Imaging experience.

Rob Gendler

Paul Kanevesky’s Imaging Tips

Select from the menu "Tips and Downloads"

Dick Locke's DSLR Astronomy Workflow

CCD Imaging Only

Steve Cannistra

Paul LeFevre’s CCD Image Processing Tutorial

Thierry Legault’s High Resolution CCD Imaging

Ron Wodaski’s New CCD Astronomy

Apogee's CCD University

Other Reference and Magazines

Wikipedia's page on Astrophotography

AstroPhoto Insight Magazine


Astrophotography Image Processing

Free or 'Easy on the Wallet':


A free program that provides the basics of image processing. If you plan to get into AstroPhotography with a DSLR or low-cost CCD camera, then this program is a good starting point.


A less than $100 program that provides very good tools for image stacking, processing, and includes shutter control and image display for both DSLR and CCD cameras. If you can't afford Photoshop for after processing refinement, this program can help with its built-in image refinement tools.


This has a steep learning curve, but rich in tools, and has an over-wehlming amount of tutorials - so be prepared to spend time just learning this one.

A site with more help on using Iris:


A low cost an image filter that can reduce noise and grain in photographic images produced by digital cameras and scanners.

Software Products over $100

(Most of these products are available for a free-trial period)


A very common choice when getting serious about an all-in-one image acquisition and processing program. Cost is around $250.


Built from the ground up for Astrophotography. From Europe, with cost around 230 euro.

Diffraction Limited's MaxImDL

The current leader in image acquisition and processing programs. Cost can range depending upon options, to upwards of around $700.

Photoshop plug-ins

Astronomy Tools by Noel Carboni

Very powerful, yet low cost, plug-ins specifically for Adobe Photoshop, for refining Astro-Photography images, after they are developed with an processing program.


Another low cost plug-in specifically for Adobe Photoshop to remove gradients

FITS Liberator

A free program that preprocesses FITS files before PhotoShop sessions.

Video Processing

(AVI Tools)


A free program that combines images in a video into a single stacked result.


Another free program that combines images in a video into a single stacked result.


Reads raw webcam AVIs


A free program that reads and converts video files into different formats.


Canon EOS Camera Movie Record

For use with Canon LiveView Cameras only. When used with your Canon camera, this FREE program will create movie files on your computer

BackyardEOS / BackyardNIKON

Another program for Canon and NIKON cameras, that can handle both movies and still Astrophotography images. It is not free.


Covers video-capture (supporting wide range of video capture devices), auto-guiding and frame aligning and stacking / summing.


For the correct scaling of video dark-frames caused by AGC

wxAstro Capture

A free capture program that supports webcams and Artemis/ATK cameras


A free program to create avi movies from jpg sequences. It can be used for creating timelapse movies with your digital photocamera.


A low cost program that can control video cameras for time-lapse, motion-detection, planetary and meteor photography. Can also edit and play movies, and control your telescope.


CCD Calc by Ron Wodaski

A free program that can be used to visualize the field-of-view for various optical tube/camera combination including barlows or focal reducers.

"3D Fly Thru", "Star Removal" and "Stereo Image Pair" Photoshop add-ons ("PS Actions")

Astronomy Software, Books, and related material

Camera and Guider Control Programs

Open PHD Guiding (free)


CCD Camera Manufacturers





Starlight Xpress





Build your own CCD

Focusing and Focus Masks

(Focusing Masks are available at most Astronomy equipment distributors)

Wikipedia explanation of a Bahtinov Focus Mask

Bahtinov Focusing Mask Generator

Makes a SVG file of a mask based on your input, for your own construction of a mask


A video-based tool for precise collimation using the in-focus diffraction pattern of a star.

Barn Door Mounts

How to make a Scotch mount design by author Phil Harrington

Rod Nabholz's How To

A Motorized barn door mount

Robert Reeves

How to use the AstroTrac TT 320


A short review with links

Telescope Mount Control

ASCOM platform

Group of developers and astronomical instrument makers that work together to bring vendor-independent and language-independent plug-and-play compatibility between astronomy software and astronomical instruments on Windows computers.


Can autoguide and has several novel features that allow optimal guiding of mid-range mounts under typical seeing conditions. MetaGuide can provide insight into both the optics of your telescope, and the tracking behavior of your mount.


A low cost program for a quick and precise alignment of goto mounts to the polar axis.


A free telescope pointing program. It analyzes a sky image with a few stars, and calculates the coordinates of the image centre.


An open source applications that can provide an alternative to the hand controller on supported GEMs. It is free.