PICTools is a software tool designed for users of the astronomical image processing IRIS in order to better exploit the signal coming from the calibrated and registered frames for further image processing by other software programs, like PixInsight LE or ImageJ.
IRIS works with signed 16bit integers (from -32768 to 32767), while normally other image processing software use unsigned integers (from 0 to 65535). So, when you try to export the image from IRIS to another IP software, you easily lose data. I started therefore to write a tool that would allow me to convert the PIC files from IRIS in a more convenient 16bit unsigned TIFF file. Later on, PICTools was expanded in order to provide some extra features, working in full 32-bit mode.
Current Main Features
Converts a PIC file into a 16 bit TIFF file suitable for post processing
Average stack of a set of PIC files into a 32 bit TIFF file
Sigma-Clip stack of a set of PIC files into a 32 bit TIFF file
Stretch asinh of a 32-bit TIFF file output by PICTools in a new stretched 32 bit TIFF file
Image colour balancing
DitherMaster - Dithering for Everyone
Main purpose of DitherMaster is providing an automatic dithering feature while imaging an astronomical object, with no human intervention.
The guiding program supported is the freeware program PHD Guiding.
DitherMaster is currently supported in the following flavours
DitherMaster for Canon EOS Utility - the application controls the Canon EOS Utility shooting software and PHD Guiding.
DitherMaster for Astroclick - a special version of DitherMaster which allows the users of the capture software Astroclick to dither between a capture sequence.
MaxPHD - flavour of DitherMaster to exploit the commercial software Maxim DL as capturing software.
DitherMaster Blind - Dithering is important even if you don't use autoguide. This version of DitherMaster allows to dither anyway.
Note: if you are upgrading from a previous version, uninstall the previous release of DitherMaster before installing the new one.
CCD correct exposure calculator
I have recently moved from DSLR to CCD and I found that I had issues regarding how to calculate the correct exposure depending on sky conditions. I then found a link describing the math behind calculating the correct exposure per frame, therefore I decided to translate it into a small program to keep with me in the field when I start my imaging session. The program currently runs on a DOS window. An improved commercial version is available for a small fee and it allows to calculate the right time also for DSLRs.
How does it work?
Take an exposure of, let's say, 5 minutes
Open your favourite processing program and find out the ADU value for the background
Get from your CCD specs the values for the Gain and ReadOut Noise
Run the program and input the above values, where requested
CCDCalc will output the estimated correct exposure time