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Comparison: Nebulosity vs PixInsight

Posted: 16 September 2014

Part 1 - Introduction

As mentioned in my article "How I Do Astrophotography", I just "play" at doing astrophotography. I edit my astrophotos in Apple Aperture and LemkeSoft GraphicConverter, with occasional use of Adobe Photoshop Elements, Keith's Image Stacker and Lynkeos for stacking images, and Neat Image to reduce digital noise. After reading Allan Hall's book "Getting Started: Long Exposure Astrophotography" I decided to check out two astrophotography image processing applications: Nebulosity and PixInsight. Both are available in Mac OS X and Windows versions. I tried the Mac versions on my iMac 27" (OS X 10.9.4). I first tested Nebulosity using its free 30-day full-featured demo version (saved images degraded with diagonal lines superimposed until a license is purchased). Once I completed my initial tests with Nebulosity I requested and received a PixInsight 45-day full-featured trial version (no image degradation) to test.

I needed some images to process in the applications. Since the moon was waxing and the sky was cloudy when I started using the apps, I initially used some images of NGC660, a "Polar-Ring" Galaxy, that I had taken on 13 January 2013, at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF. I had taken 2 images, 10 minutes each at ISO 6400. This is one of the 10 minute images, as edited at the time:


This is the resulting image that was stacked in Lynkeos with an effective exposure of 20 minutes:


While not a lot of data to work with (and it lacked any "dark frames"), I figured these would provide a good start to begin learning each of the applications. I saved the original D7000 DSLR Raw files (23.5 MB, unedited) as TIFF files (96.5 MB).

I suggest reading the following in the order shown as they describe each of the applications and what I went through to learn to use them. The discussion of each application is long as I describe what I went through while learning to use the applications and what went right and what went wrong.

Part 2 - Nebulosity

Part 3 - PixInsight

Part 4 - Summary

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