So, you have taken your first CCD images and
they look pretty good, but you are ready to improve them. Image processing
allows you to enhance CCD images using a wide variety of
However, keep in mind that image processing can enhance a good picture, but it
cannot make a bad picture good. It is important to get the best possible
image while you are at the telescope. Most imagers spend their time at the
telescope taking images; the processing is not done until a later time.
You can always process while the sun is out. When it is clear and dark you will
want to get as many images as you can!
The following tutorial will take you step by step through the most basic
image processing routines. These steps will be sufficient for almost all
of your imaging, especially when you are getting started. When you have
mastered these techniques move on to the Advanced Image Processing section of
the website. But remember, take your time and understand all of the basic
techniques first. Also, remember that this is not the only way to process
an image. Today's software is incredibly powerful and there are many
procedures or combinations of procedures which will result in the best image for
you, so have fun with it!
This is what image processing can do:
Above: On the left is a single exposure of the Whirlpool
Galaxy. By combining multiple exposure through colored filters and
enhancing the pictures with image processing software, the full-color image on
the right was created.
Note: For specific steps using a
particular software package (MaxIm DL, CCDOPS, Photoshop, etc.), visit the
Software Instructions section.
If this is your first time here it is recommended that you read through the
following pages in order.
If you are looking for a specific reference to help you out, feel free to
click on the links below to jump ahead to any page.
Return to CCD Basics Page