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1, My personal parameters when using Siril
I have done the pre processing of astrophotos in many different software through the years. Pre processing is when you calibrate, align and stacking your astrophotos. In earlier software there was a big problem, they couldn't handle 32-bits floating points figures which is needed if doing the processing of the images with high precision. The first software I used was Iris, it could only handle 15 bit images. Interesting is that Siril is based on this old software but now added 32-bit support and a lot of new powerful functions. Other software I have used with 32-bit support were: AstroImageJ, Fitswork, DSS and I also used Matlab with my own functions.
There is already a good tutorial about how to use Siril, I more explain things where I divert from the normal workflow.
It's free to download too !
The Post processing I nowadays do in Gimp which also is a free software to download. Here is a tutorial I have written: Gimp tutorial. Post processing, when you make your astroimage good looking.
Siril pre processing:
First of all, read this tutorial from Siril with its workflow when calibrate, align and stacking astro images:
Siril is very easy to understand and use.
When I wrote this I had the Siril version 1.2.0 Beta 2 installed.
Replace MasterDark with a bias, a constant:
This is after you have started up Siril and converted your raw images to Fits files. In next step, when calibrating the images I do a little bit different. With a DSLR camera which doesn't have a stabilized cooler your sensor will always have different temperatures which make it complicated to calibrate. The image file and the dark should have the same temperature. You must built a library with lot of dark images to match the temperature, at least no more difference than 3 degrees Celsius. I skip this calibration ! I can do it because my camera, a Canon 6D has relative low noise and no ampglow. And more, every extra calibration you do increase the random noise, dark calibration can only reduce the static pattern. This work best if the photos is taken with dithering technique, about 10 to 20 pixels move between the photos.
Here is how I do it. Instead of a MasterDark calibration file I use the bias and in this case it's only a constant. My Canon camera has a bias of 2048 ADU, whatever ISO and exposure time I use. There is a more deeper tutorial on Siril's homepage here: Siril Synthetic biases.
Background extraction is when removing an uneven light polluted background. It can be done in the post processing too, I do it in Siril and the small rest of it I take away in Gimp or some other software. It's difficult to distinguish between nebulas, star fields and light pollution. I mostly use the most simple setup, an one degree 2D polynomial. In most cases it's a tilted plan I subtract the image with because of the light pollution gradient on the sky. Sometimes I can try other settings, but mostly I only do this and handle it in the post processing later. In the image above can be seen that it has placed its test points, the red small squares, along the edge, that's not good. I have to remove them manually. This error was introduced in the new Beta version and will be fixed later I hope.
I have found that Siril register the images very good, that's when aligning the images against each other. It shift, rotate, stretch and distort them to fit each other. I use the Global Star Alignment setting when there are no moving objects like comets.
After the images are registered a graph can be plotted to show different data. In this image I have plotted the stars FWHM value, the stars sharpness. This object was only 18 degrees above the horizon when I started. When time goes on it comes higher above the horizon and the stars sharpness will be better. Bad images can be excluded.
Nothing complicated with the stacking process, I use the Average staking with rejection which is recommended. But when building Master calibration files other settings are used. With stacking of many images you reduce the noise, the same effect as taking photos with longer exposure times.