What a Difference a Stack Makes

I was asked about how much difference stacking planetary images made recently and whilst they’re not particularly brilliant images I pulled out a few from a recent capture run to demonstrate. These are all from a single capture run with my 127 Mak and ASI120MC.

First a single frame unprocessed other than to crop down the frame size:

Obviously the image is very noisy and there’s not a huge amount of visible detail other than the two equatorial belts.

Next, the same capture run (around 5,000 frames) with 50% stacked in AutoStakkert!2:

Much of the noise has now been removed and there’s better definition to the belts. In fact it’s possible to see more detail because of the lack of noise and then refer back to the first image to find that same detail amongst the noise.

Finally, because the noise is now much reduced we can transform the image using wavelets in Registax:

This has brought out a huge amount more detail that certainly wasn’t discernable in either of the previous two images, but without the initial stacking there’s no way this would have been possible.

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