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Creating an Astro mosaic

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Evening stargazers,

Last night i imaged M8+M20. And after thinking about it today, seeing as the weather is clear all week - i think i will take on my first astrophotography mosaic using my 200mm lens.

My question is, how do i go about doing this? I have actually created daytime mosaics before using Microsoft ICE and JPEG files. Buy this is a whole other ball game. What is the best way to stitch images together because i know for a fact ICE wont be able to. Will i need to process the image a little bit first before stitching? Because i cant attempt it straight out of DSS

Help from anybody in the know or anyone who has done this before would be great :)


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I have used different software in the past, but I know that you can use ICE as people do use it to good effect.

Stack all of your subs so that you end up with say 2 panes that you want to stich together. You then need to stretch them, probably to about 50-70% of a total stretch. Then you need to match very carefully the backgrounds using levels / curves as both panes need to be the same. You will also need to look at gradients, as you will probably have them and they need to be dealt with before stacking otherwise you will really see them in a mosaic. Don't do this in JPEG!! I use TIFF format all the way through.

Once you have got the backgrounds to the same levels and banaished all gradients then you can use your software to join them. That may sound a little flippant, but I've never used ICE, I have used PTGUI in the past and it worked well. With PTGUI you put all the frames in and it aligns them! Hey presto!!

Mosaics are difficult to do well as it's very difficult to hide the joins!!

Edited by swag72
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Thank you both for shedding a bit of light!

Martin, just had a look at that mosaic - i'm blown away! You say to use ICE.

Just stack the subs to a TIFF format and drop them in, output can either be TIFF or Photoshop large document format

Do you mean drop them into ICE without stretching at all? Would ICE be able to stack a black image straing out of DSS?

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