Guiding and Imaging

What is it for?

Polar alignment without a webcam. You do need a reticule eyepiece though.

Price

Free 30 day trial then EU14

Pros

Quick and easy polar alignment of GoTo mounts

Cons

Needs a mount with ASCOM control

What is it for?

Webcam video capture programme

Price

Free

Pros

Works OK but see Cons

Cons

Seems to be slow at frame capture and looses frames frequently.

Need to Name each new file otherwise it overwrites last file saved!

What is it for?

Imaging & Guiding, Filter Control, Processing including Astrometry & Photometry + Plug-ins, etc., at a more modest cost than the big boys. Supports numerous cameras CCD, CMOS & DSLR. Works with ASCOM or Proprietary based in CCD drivers installed.

Price

V5.0

EU129 + VAT

Pros

Good and reliable, used for years for some members

Cons

None save to say it’s not Sky X or PixInsight

Backyard EOS and Backyard Nikon

http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.otelescope.com%2F&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFSEInv8pTeYQ9lFhF9ThfTQl-zxA

What is it for?

Exposure planning and sequencing for most models of Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

Price

US$35-50 (Basic or Premium)

Pros

Frame and focus control, live view, compatible with PHD guiding to dither frames to avoid hot pixel stacking. Automatically calculates flat frame exposure and intelligent file names. Tested OK on Win XP, Win 7 and Win8.

Cons

Nikon version not tested

K3CCDTools

What is it for?

K3CCDTools is a Windows application dedicated for astro-imaging.

It includes video-capturing (supporting wide range of video capture devices), auto-guiding and frame aligning and stacking / summing.

It also provides simple image post-processing.

However, K3CCDTools is not limited to astro-imaging domain,

it offers to be used in various fields of video / image processing (digital photography, video pre-processing).

It also valuable software for processing of microscopical photos.

Price

$49.99

Pros

Flexible piece of software that just works

Cons

License is to individual hardware which is not very flexible. For instance we had a member with a license for a laptop which was rebuilt with a 64-bit version of windows and now they need to get a new license. Whilst this is still free it is extra hassle on the part of the owner

FireCapture

What is it for?

Capturing astronomical images.

Price

Free

Pros

Can be used this instead of K3CCD Tools which is used by many astronomers

Cons

Windows only

MaximDL

What is it for?

Imaging & Guiding, Filter Control, Processing including Astrometry & Photometry + Plug-ins, etc., at a more modest cost than the big boys. Supports numerous cameras CCD, CMOS & DSLR. Works with ASCOM or Proprietary based in CCD drivers installed.

Price

V5.0

EU129 + VAT

Pros

Good and reliable, used for years

Cons

None save to say it’s not Sky X or PixInsight

PHD Guiding

www.stark-labs.com/

What is it for?

Guiding software via ST4 compatible guide port

Price

Free / donation

Pros

Self calibrating and simple set-up. Tested OK on Win XP, Win 7 and Win8. Also available on Mac!

Cons

None

Sequence Generator Pro

What is it for?

Image Capture software

Price

Free 45 Day Trial

Pros

Allows you to plan and capture multiple targets in a single night. Allows you to warm up and cool down your CCD and disconnect it! Also allows you to mosaic images really easily.

Cons

Windows only

SharpCap

What is it for?

Webcam video capture programme

Price

Free

Pros

Faster frame rate than AMCap on same camera, no loss of frames and intelligent file names automatically created

Cons

Windows only

WebCamS

What is it for?

Uses a webcam input to monitor drift and then provides mount corrections for accurate polar alignment

Price

Free 30 day trial then EU31

Pros

Works very well and provided accurate polar alignment quickly for those with mobile kit

Cons

Windows only. Only works on basic webcams, not higher specification planetary cameras.