Astrophotography would certainly not be what it is today, if it weren’t for the numerous tools available. As a beginner, I was stunned by not only the number of computer programs, tools, smartphone apps and websites available today; but also by the fact that many of them were actually developed by amateur astronomers, who simply wanted to help other fellow astrophotographers.
Work in progress list – Last update: 23/11/2018
|PIPP||Free||Planetary Image Pre-Processor|
|Siri-L||Free||Astrophotography software (stacking, processing)|
|DeepSkyStacker||Free||Image stacking software (DSO)|
|SharpCap||Free & Paid||Capturing software|
|Registax||Free||Image stacking software (Planetary)|
|AutoStakkert! v2 / v3||Free||Image stacking software (Planetary)|
|PixInsight||Paid (free trial)||Astrophotography software (stacking, processing)|
|HLVG||Free||Tool to remove green haze|
|Astronomy Tools||Paid||Astrophotography tools for Photoshop|
|GradientXTerminator||Paid (free trial)||Tool to remove gradients (e.g. light pollution)|
Stellarium is an amazing piece of software, that allows you to view a 3D map of the night sky, at any given place and time. This planetarium simply contains all the stars, planets, moons, comets and deep-sky objects ever discovered by mankind, as well as useful information for each of them (size, apparent magnitude, altitude, azimuth, right ascension…).
For beginners, it’s the perfect tool to get acquainted with astronomy and learn how to find constellations and stellar objects. Looking for M31? Just press CTRL+F, type M31, hit Enter and voilà!
You can customize Stellarium in a lot of different ways, to display only the objects you want to observe or photograph (e.g. deep-sky objects), show the constellations, the orbits of planets, etc.
It is especially useful for planning a session, because it can tell you where the object will be located. Stellarium can also display a preview of what the object will look like, either in your eyepiece or in your camera, based on the equipment you’re using.
Stellarium is a free and open source software, available on Windows, Linux and Mac.
Stellarium Web (free)
Stellarium Web is a lighter version of Stellarium, which is also 100% free. It is certainly more limited than the desktop version, but still has enough to offer for most situations. And it’s available everywhere, provided you have an internet connection and a modern browser!