Solar System

Photos of Objects in our Solar System: UPDATED 18-JUN-2018

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So you have a bunch of Moon shots in RAW. Now what?

The Moon should be your first target when you start off in astro-photography.  It’s easy to find, does not require dark skies and you don’t need specialized gear.

So now that you’ve found yourself will a bunch of RAW photos of the Moon you’re wondering what to do next.  You took them with the RAW setting right? All astro-photo need to be taken in RAW to conserve as much information as possible since all the processing is done at the pixel-level.

Registax is a great software for moon and planetary stacking.  Unfortunately it has two drawbacks:

  1. It cannot deal with .CR2 CANON RAW files
  2. It crashes or gives a memory fault when dealing with large images from DSLR.

Luckily there is a way around it…

You must be wondering, why use Registax if it can’t deal with large RAW CANON files?  It’s because it can align and stack images by sub-dividing your image to address atmospheric turbulence and it has one of the best wavelet analysis tool to sharpen images.

Here is what you must do: convert your RAW files to 16-bit .TIF and reduce their size.  This can be done with Digital Photo Professional that comes with your CANON camera, or can be downloaded.

Highlight the desired RAW files and select File – Batch Process

moon-raw-1

In the Batch Process window select to save the files as 16-bit .TIF and ensure that you resize the images.  Normally 50% reduction will do the trick. In my case a reduction to 3000 x 2000 was sufficient.

moon-raw-2

Then it’s simply a matter of opening the resulting .TIF images in Registax as you would normally.

moon-raw-3

Once the alignment completed and the images stacked, your photo can be saved

moon-raw-4

But before you close the program, head over to the Wavelet panel and tweak the image to get as much detail out of the moon’s cratered surface.

moon-raw-5

If you compare both images it is clear that the 2nd one has sharper details.

As always, the best is to try different things and experiment with your setup to see what works best.

Equipment used for the above photos:
Canon 80D
Skywatch 80ED (600mm F7.5)
1/250sec ISO 200

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