Improving star colors in wide field astro landscapes

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
daveco2 Contributing Member • Posts: 931
Re: Improving star colors in wide field astro landscapes

It's very difficult, if not possible, to balance the star colors you want and all the other colors in the scene at the same time.

The second thing you may want to consider is that there are a great many small stars in the scene, to the extent that they detract from the Milky Way and the foreground main elements.

You could do the following:

1. Reduce the number of stars with a Photoshop plugin like the Astronomy ToolSet.  The remaining stars are mostly in three categories - very large (roughly 4), medium (maybe 10), and small.  You could go to a free astronomy app, like Stellarium, identify the large stars, and determine what their colors should be.  For example, Algol would be blue and Betelgeuse would be red.  Color these large stars.  You could also color some of the medium size stars according to a photo that you would have set up for them alone.  Leave the small stars white.   Save as a new image.

2. Eliminate all the stars in the new image with a free standalone application like StarNet, and adjust the colors of the starless Milky Way and foreground as you like.  Save as a starless image.

3.  Merge the starless image with the reduced star/colored star image in Photoshop.

Go to Backyard Astronomer for more information on StarNet and Astro Toolset, and for merging a starless layer.

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