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Astrophotography: Processing Galaxies in PixInsight


PixInsight is a powerful tool, but with a steep learning curve. If you’re ready to take your astrophotography to the next level, this course will de-mystify PixInsight and unleash its potential for you. Even if you’re an experienced PixInsight user, I think you’ll find some tips, tricks, and scripts you may not have encountered before.

We’ll walk through the processing of the galaxy M61, a distant, challenging target that includes an image of a recent supernova! As we go, we’ll cover:

  • Installing my PixInsight process icons and third-party scripts to simplify things
  • Identifying and discarding bad sub-frames with the Blink process
  • Calibrating your frames across multiple nights using the WeightedBatchPreprocessing script
  • Weighted stacking with WeightedBatchPreprocessing
  • Linear noise reduction with MURE Denoise
  • Cropping your integrated images
  • Creating luminance, range, and star masks
  • Sharpening your image with deconvolution
  • Background extraction
  • Color combination, luminance integration, and photometric color correction
  • Stretching into non-linear space while preserving star colors
  • Nonlinear noise reduction with TGVD Denoise
  • Aesthetic tweaking with RGB and saturation curves
  • Shrinking and re-shaping stars with MorphologicalTransform
  • Annotating your images
  • Final tweaks in Photoshop

This walkthrough uses monochrome data collected over 3 nights using luminance, red, green, and blue color filters. But many of these techniques will be the same if you’re using a color camera as well.

Don’t let PixInsight’s unusual user interface and complexity scare you off – it’s worth learning, and can really take your images to the next level.

Who this course is for:

  • Astrophotographers intimidated by PixInsight’s complexity and learning curve
  • Experienced PixInsight users looking for some new tips and tricks


  • You should know the basics of deep sky astrophotography and how to acquire multiple sub-exposures of an object through your telescope. We only cover the processing of your images, not how to collect them.
  • You’ll need a copy of PixInsight (they have a free trial) if you’d like to follow along hands-on.
  • The sample data used in the course requires at least 6GB of hard drive space.

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