Best amount of images for stacking

Started Aug 10, 2022 | Questions thread
Alen K
Alen K Senior Member • Posts: 1,720
Re: Best amount of images for stacking

EricTheAstroJunkie wrote:

Alen K wrote:

EricTheAstroJunkie wrote:

When it comes to nightscape/ultra wide angle stuff I don't even bother stacking, just single tracked exposures that are long enough for good SNR without clipping highlights.

Not hard to do in Bortle 1 or 2. Much tougher in Bortle 4. I know: I should move closer to someplace really dark!

It's all about positioning and post processing, here are a bunch of images I've shot from Bortle 4/5 skies, I position myself so I'm shooting away from the most intense sources of light pollution and do a lot of background subtraction in post processing:

Is it tougher? Sure. Is the detail, color, and overall quality a little worse? Ya, but not horribly so. Bortle 4 is plenty dark to get some great shots with not that much effort, that last shot is at a place that's one of our favorites for testing out gear, it's a ~25-30 minute drive for us and even though it's bortle 4 (almost 5 now) we can shoot away from the light pollution and with the Milky Way low enough we can shoot into Bortle 2 skies.

Nice results. (I am struggling to think of an image of yours that could not be described like that.)

My accessible, local dark sky sites are about 45 minutes drive away. They are Bortle 4 at the _zenith_ and considerably worse to the east and south where some major light domes live. Imagine the glow at the right-hand side of “Bridge to Our Core” but positioned where the core is. (Maybe it was that bad there for you too before background subtraction.)

Speaking of background subtraction, do you personally use PI for that (ABE, DBE) or do it another way? Have you tried GraxPert? And are you doing background subtraction on each panel first before stitching or on the stitched composite? I can think of advantages either way but one is probably better than the other in practice.

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