I have frequently been asked which software to use to process astronomical photos. The simple answer is it depends on your imaging system, equipment (with or without a telescope), your camera or video, what you are photographing (Lunar, planets or “DeepSky”), and output image format.
Taking photographs of the Moon, Planets, the Milky Way and “DeepSky Objects” of star cluster, nebula and external galaxies is a challenging prospect. Many of the beautiful photos seen online and in magazines are composed of many individual images “stacked” together and many hours processing afterwards to produce the final published photo.
Some celestial objects will take very little effort to capture than others; such as our Moon or a single shot image of a bright planet using a telescope, a good focus image can be improved with a little post processing with software that came with your DSLR or Adobe PhotoShop. You may have to look at each photo taken of the Moon to find “the one” that is sharpest focus.
Equipment, imaging using a camera or video, telescope, eyepieces and filters all factor into the process. Depending upon the subject photographed can also determine the post processing software to use.
Processing software for lunar and planetary, may not be suitable for deep sky. Each software may support only certain formats. For example, TIFF and JPG but not RAW. Some software will only process FITS file format.
What software you need to process depend on your digital output format, the telescope, and camera used. There’s many good software to choose from. To try to narrow which to fits your setup better I’ve made a list of which software that works with a file format and the object image. These are the most popular used software.
NOTE: these are for the Windows operating system.
PDF File: Suggestion software