Easy-to-use Stacking for Astrophotography

Starry Sky Stacker is a Mac application that reduces noise in pictures of the night sky. The reduction is noise comes from combining a sequence of identical exposures into a single image. Starry Sky Stacker assumes that an equatorial mount that ensures that stars move very little either during or between exposures is used during capture. (Note that altazimuth mounts are not suitable for use with Starry Sky Stacker because the images appear to rotate over the course of the capture).

Starry Sky Stacker

  • aligns the images to compensate for errors in tracking,
  • assigns a quality estimate to each image,
  • allows the user to select images based on the quality estimate or manually and,
  • combines the images using four different algorithms (median with outlier rejection, mean with outlier rejection, max, min).

Starry Sky Stacker can

  • optionally subtract dark frames and
  • optionally apply flat-field corrections

Instructions for using Starry Sky Stacker are here.

Key advantages of Starry Sky Stacker are:

  • it is simpler and easier to use than most stacking programs
  • it is fast
  • it uses a proprietary alignment algorithm that produces excellent results
  • it computes 5 compositions of the selected images simultaneously allowing the user to easily choose which compositions to use.

Starry Sky Stacker can substantially reduce both shot noise and fixed-pattern noise in the final image, and correct for vignetting and other lens and sensor defects. Starry Sky Stacker is for pictures of the sky, with no foreground, taken with a tracking device so that the stars do not move within the frame. Starry Sky Stacker requires TIFF files for input. If you have pictures taken with the camera fixed on a tripod you should consider using Starry Landscape Stacker.

Starry Sky Stacker requires Mac OS 10.10 or newer. Starry Sky Stacker can process 100's of images with as little as 4GB of memory. An SSD for the main storage device is strongly recommended and more memory (at least 16GB) is better if only because you will need to use an image editing tool such as Lightroom, Photoshop or Affinity Photo at some point and they all work betters with lots of memory.

You can purchase Starry Sky Stacker in the Apple App Store. A free trial is available for download. Starry Sky Stacker is also available in two bundles with other stacking apps.