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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Curcio

My Astrophotography Stacking Steps

As a casual photographer & novice astrophotographer, I have attempted to absorb as much information as possible in my learning adventure.

YouTube, Websites, Blogs, Books, etc.

So many tutorials!!

Over my short time of taking astro photos, I have taken notes regarding how to process my deep space astro photos to my liking.

I hope by making my notes on my processing steps, I can help others & possibly start a discussion on how to improve my images/processing.

If you would like to view some of my Deep Space Astrophotography, you can check them out in my Astrophotography project.


As a good starting point, most people use Deep Sky Stacker to begin their photo process. I am still using this software and have been happy with the results. I have also used Siril, but have not had luck recently with being able to stack any images...

Here are my current steps I use to stack my images before taking them into Photoshop to be processed.

===Open Picture Files===

• LIGHTS images

• Check All (ensure light frames are all check marked)

===Register Checked Pictures===

• Actions Tab

• Check "Register already registered pictures" & "Automatic detection of hot pixels"

• Advanced Tab

• set percentage & check for number of stars

• Check "Reduce the noise..." checkbox

• Computer number of detected stars >> Need to get good amount but not too many - may take too long to process

• Once happy with number of stars >>> Make sure stack is unchecked & click OK

• Light Frames will be rated/scored

• Review scores & determine if OK for stacking or need to be removed from set (low score could be fine or could mean star trails/blurry/etc)

• Right click bad image -- remove from list

===Set Reference Frame===

• Select 1 image to be base image

• Right Click - Use as Reference Frame

===Adding Dark / Flat / Bias Frames===

• Open Dark Frames

• Open Flat Frames

• Open Bias Frames


• Check All Photos you want to stack

• Register stacked pictures

• Uncheck "Register Already Registered Pictured"

• Check "stack after registering"

• Set Percentage to 90-100%

• Recommended settings...

• Click "Sigma-Clipping"

• Click OK

• Stacking Parameters

• Leave on Default for all tabs

• Click OK

• Review data is what expecting


===Save Picture to File===

===Load Stacked Image into Photoshop===


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