AstroCrop - Image Registration and Cropping

Astro Imaging on Linux

  • Automatically crop a region of interest from a series of images based on a single reference frame.

AstroCrop: Automatic image registering and precise cropping software for astronomical imaging as well as precise cropping of other images. AstroCrop is currently available for 32Bit and 64Bit Windows. A later release will include support for most 32Bit and 64Bit Linux distributions.

A static tripod can be used to hold a DSLR with a long lens or a Bridge camera with high optical Zoom, such as the 60x optical Zoom of a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72 bridge camera for capturing images of the Moon or Sun (suitably solar filtered.) This allows for very quick setup for imaging.

The camera can be set to capture images in bursts of several images. However, to obtain the highest quality results it is necessary to capture large numbers of images to be stacked. It is possible to capture more than 100 images in rapid bursts before problems of image rotation creep in. The problem is that whilst the camera can be held quite still enough to capture images without movement blur, there is inevitable, and usually substantial movement of the object being imaged between bursts of images, not withstanding the steady movement of the Sun or Moon across the field of view due to the Earth’s rotation.

The result is the capture of a large number of images where the object of interest is in very different places in a relatively large image. This makes it virtually impossible for stacking software such as Registax to keep up with the movement of the object from image to image. What is required is to precisely crop out the object in the centre of a user-specified area and to save out the cropped images ready for stacking. Moreover, because the cropped images are smaller than the original images in which there was lots of wasted space, the stacking process if facilitated and speeded up. AstroCrop does this automatically, but there is also a manual mode for precise cropping of individual images.

Similar problems arise when afocal images are captured of planets etc often on manually tracked mounts or Dobsonian telescopes. By using AstroCrop to precisely crop the images, the problem of object movement between images is solved.

>>> Download AstroCrop

Using AstroCrop

AstroCrop - Extreme example of movement between images

It would be very difficult to stack images like these, particularly if there was a lot of them.

AstroCrop - Unregistered stack of images

Unregistered stack of the example images to show the degree of movement between images.

AstroCrop - Launched

AstroCrop Launched

AstroCrop - Options Selection

Options Selected

AstroCrop - Images Loaded

Images Loaded

AstroCrop - Reference Frame Selected

Reference Frame Selected

AstroCrop - Crop area specified

Crop Area Selected

AstroCrop - Crop area placed on image

Crop area placed on image

AstroCrop - Ready to crop.

Ready to crop.

AstroCrop - Starting the cropping procedure..

Starting the cropping procedure.

AstroCrop - Automatic cropping in progress.

Automatic cropping in progress.

AstroCrop - Cropping complete.

Cropping complete.

AstroCrop - One of the cropped images.

One of the cropped images.

All of the images are now registered and ready for cropping in software such as Registax, AutoStakkert! or lxnstack.