APP is being developed by drs. E.M.W.P. Haverkamp (Mabula) who has a drs. and M.Sc. degree in Astrophysics from the University of Utrecht, 2004.
Mabula uses current scientific insights to develop APP besides developing and creating new innovative feautures and algorithms like it’s unique debayer algorithm Adaptive Airy Disc, Local Normalization Correction and fully automatic N-View mosaics.
APP couldn’t have been possible without extensive help and feedback from the astrophotography community worldwide and it’s future development path will be largely dependent on input and support from the community.
A selection of images made by APP users:
The Pleiades star cluster a.k.a. the Seven Sisters (M45), by Jeroen Moonen. Total integration time: 28,5 hours in 256 frames taken is 3 separate periods: december 2016, september and october 2017. Technical details: 65mm Tecnosky Quadruplet APO, 80mm F5 Skywatcher Esprit APO, SBIG-STF8300M with Baader LRGB fitlers. RGB data was shot with 1×1 and 2×2 binning. All four channels have around 7 hours of integration time and are divided in sub exposures times of 300 and 600 seconds. Fully processed in APP.
The Crescent Nebula and the Soap Bubble Nebula – by André van der Hoeven, Kees Scherer, Sara Wager and Dominque Dierick BiColor Hydrogen-alpha and Oxygen III composite of 57 hours of total integration time acquired with 4 different setups: André: TMB92/QSI583ws Sara: Orion Optics ODK10/TMB152/QSI683wsg Kees: Skywatcher Esprit 100/QHY16200 Dominique: Takahashi FSQ106/QHY163M
The Iris Nebula, NGC7023, by Yves van den Broek Takahashi FSQ106, QHY367C, Mesu200, 18x15min, gain 2800 offset 76
Kees Scherer – NGC 2174 – Monkey Head Nebula, 10,5 hours RGB exposure with Canon EOS 6Da and Skywatcher Esprit 100 f/5.5. – crop
NGC1499-1333 9 panel mosaic By Yves van den Broek 35x5min/panel. FSQ 106, QHY 367C, Mesu 200, Gain:2850, Offset:76
Messier 31 – The Andromeda Galaxy Mosaic in 8K resolution by Frank Schmitz, Osenau Observatory – Odenthal, Germany. The mosaic was shot with an 8″ Lacerta Newton, a ZWO ASI 1600 MM pro camera and on a Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro mount. Total exposure time of this LHaRGB mosaic is about 36 hours. “Wow, what a saga that was to put the mosaic together. This is my first LHaRGB mosaic ever and I had quite a hard time to match all the intensities … especially for the color channels. In the end I kept adding subs to low quality panels in order to even things out and zoooom I ended up with 36 hours of integration. My longest integration so far and by far the longest pre and post processing of all of my previous images. Fun fact: My last two images (Melotte 15 and the Pacman Nebula) which were both also 9+ hours were only shot while waiting for M31 to rise 😉 I encourage you to have a look into the full view: NGC 206, Cepheid Var 1, the core, the HA regions, small faint structures in Messier 110 really profit from the high resolution and the exposure time. I hope I did this wonderful target justice and I hope you like it! Let me know what you think!”
70 Panel Cygnus Mosaic of Hydrogen-Alpha data by Kees Scherer – this 70 panel mosaic has a total registration RMS error of only 0.1 pixels thanks to a new and completely rewritten mosaic algortihm with solves the entire mosaic calculation in only 1 highly non-linear Trust Region Newton based calculation in which almost 1000 parameters are found to get a flawless mosaic… – Details, Skywatcher 100 Esprit APO f5.5 on a 10Micron GM2000HPS II with a QHYCCD QHY16200A Mono camera. Roughly 48 hours of Hydrogen Alpha exposures. – Seams and illumination differences between the panels are corrected automatically with the LNC + MBB algortihms.
Iris Nebula, NGC7023 by Anne van Houwelingen Imaging Location: My backyard (orange zone) Telescope: Ritchey-Cassegrain (prime focus). F=1000mm F/D=3.0 Camera: Starlight Xpress SXVR-26C OSC Integration time: 15 hrs over 8 nights (90x600s). Heavily dithered. Pre-processing: APP Average stack, quality weight, discard worst 5%, LN sigma clip kappa 3 – 1 iterations Post Processing APP + Photoshop APP: Calibrate background, remove light pollution, calibrate star colors on area’s without nebulosity, HSL to eliminate green pixels and reduce color noise of background, DDP (20%BG, 3 sigma, 2,.5% Base), Highlight protection. Photoshop: Various targeted contrast stretches, noise reduction, selective sharpening, star shrinking etc. About the object: Diffuse reflection nebula in a molecular cloud complex. In its center a young pre-main sequence star whose stellar wind and UV radiation have carved out the cave like structure and lights up the walls.
Cygnus 134hour 8-panel Mosaic – André van der Hoeven, Sara Wager, Kees Scherer, Dominique Dierick Qoute by André: ” This image was created in the past year by myself and 3 fellow astrophotographers, Sara Wager, Kees Scherer and Dominique Dierick. It’s a mosaic of 8 panels that I started in 2016 and I’m slowly extending to cover more area. For every panel I try at least to get 5 hours of H-alpha data. Sara, Kees and Dominique were so nice to share their data on this region improving the quality of the image in many ways! The mosaic was generated with the new Astropixelprocessor software which did a great job in processing and mosaicing this image. Exposure info: Andre: TMB92/QSI583ws 171x900s Ha Sara: Orion Optics ODK10/TMB152/QSI683wsg 146x1800s Ha Kees: Skywatcher Esprit 100/QHY16200 61x900s Ha Dominique: Takahashi FSQ106/QHY163M 36x300s Ha “
Pelican Nebula Close-up by Sara Wager, APOD 2017-08-03 APOD information:” The prominent ridge of emission featured in this vivid skyscape is designated IC 5067. Part of a larger emission region with a distinctive shape, popularly called The Pelican Nebula, the ridge spans about 10 light-years and follows the curve of the cosmic pelican’s head and neck. Fantastic, dark shapes inhabiting the view are clouds of cool gas and dust sculpted by energetic radiation from young, hot, massive stars. But stars are also forming within the dark shapes. Twin jets emerging from the tip of the long, dark tendril left of center are the telltale signs of an embedded protostar cataloged as Herbig-Haro 555 (HH 555). In fact, other Herbig-Haro objects indicating the presence of protostars are found within the frame. The Pelican Nebula itself, also known as IC 5070, is about 2,000 light-years away. To find it, look northeast of bright star Deneb in the high flying constellation Cygnus. ” Calibration, registration, normalization, integration and Hydrogen-alpha + Oxygen-III Bi-Color combination done with APP. Post processing in Photoshop.
Yves van den Broek – The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in IC1396. Multi-channel narrowband composite of Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen III and Sulfur II using APP’s RGB Combine & Selective Color tools. RC 8 inch, 0.67 AP reducer, 24x5min Ha, 24x5min SII, 24x5minOIII, QHY163M, Avalon Linear.
Scorpion’s Head – A 9 Panel Mosaic of Rho Ophiuci Region, by Gabriel R. Santos (grsotnas). HEQ5 | Canon 80D (unmodded) + Tamron 70-200 @ 200mm f/3.5 | 9 panels, each 5 to 8 light frames of 240s ISO 1600. Total exposure 216min. Pre-Processing (Analysis, Registration and Stacking) and Background Calibration with AstroPixelProcessor. Post-Processing in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
Dominique Dierick – North America and Pelican Nebula in Hydrogen alpha & Oxygen III 2-panel mosaic. Each panel 2.5 hour exposure during the gray nights up North, with FSQ106EDX-IV astrograph and narrow band Ha & OIII filters on QHY163M camera.
The Tarantula Nebula by Diego Colonnello. Astrobin Image Of The Day 29-10-2017 Imaging telescope or lens: Skywatcher 10 inch F4 Imaging camera: ZWO Optical ZWO ASI 1600MM cool Mount: TAKAHASHI NJP Temma 2 Guiding telescope or lens: Skywatcher 10 inch F4 Guiding camera: QHYCCD QHY5L-II Filters: ZWO 7nm S-II, H-alpha, Oiii
The North America and Pelican Nebulas in Cygnus (NGC7000, IC5070) – SII H-alpha OIII mosaic by Joe Gagnon 12 Panel Mosaic with QHY 163M, Tak FSQ 106. Each Panel has about 2 hours exposure per filter taken with 45 second subexposures. Total exposure about 72 hours. Baader NB filters with SHO palette. Processed with Astro Pixel Processor and PS. Data acquired August through October 2017.
The Eye of God – The Helix Nebula by Diego Colonnello Imaging telescope or lens: Skywatcher 10 inch F4 Imaging camera: ZWO Optical ZWO ASI 1600MM cool Mount: TAKAHASHI NJP Temma 2 Guiding telescope or lens: Skywatcher 10 inch F4 Guiding camera: QHYCCD QHY5L-II Filters: ZWO 7nm S-II, H-alpha, Oiii
Sara Wager – M13, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules. All pre-processing (calibration, registration, normalization, integration, channel combination) in Astro Pixel Processor. Post processing in Photoshop. Details: M: Mesu 200, T: TMB 152/1200, C: QSI683 Baader LRGB filters, 30x600s Luminance, 30x600s Red, 30x600s Green, 30x600s Blue
The Orion Nebula by Steve Milne – LRGB image, shot with a QSI683wsg attached to a Takahashi FSQ106ED and Astrodon Tru-Balance LRGB filters. 14 hours of total exposure time.
Milky Way to Rho Ophiuchi Mosaic by Stefan Lenz & Mabula Haverkamp. The data was captured by Stefan Lenz at the Kiripotib astrofarm in Namibia and processed by Mabula Haverkamp in APP 1.062. It’s a 11-panel mosaic shot with a Nikon D810a and 2 objectives: Nikon VR 400mm F/2.8G & Sigma Art 135 F/1.8. The longer focal length objective was used to capture more quality on interesting objects in the large field of view. Total exposure time is nearly 12 hours.
“This photo is a 4 panel panorama assembled in Astro-Pixel Processor. Each panel consists of 20X30s images for a total of 40 minutes of integration time. No calibration frame was used. The camera used was a modified Sony A7S and the lens was a Canon 85mm f1.8 stopped down to f4. The Star Adventurer mount was used to track the stars over the duration of the photo capture. This photo was taken from Nakorn Ratchasima province, Thailand under Bortle 3 skies where some light pollution resulted in brightness variations in the sky. There was also a thin layer of high altitude clouds that resulted in the bloated stars you see in this image. APP’s light pollution removal tool helped to remove a good deal of the uneven lighting gradients, leaving a clean region in the image to do final touches on in Lightroom and Photoshop. Derrick Lim (https://www.facebook.com/ChasingNaturesLight)”
The Flaming Star Nebula by Marco Verstraaten – LRGB composite – Marco: “Some dusty stuff & clouds in space! IC410, IC405 and some other objects in this image. Just under 8 hours of exposure with my Takahashi 106/SXVH35 combination, mounted on a Mesu200 from dark skies in France. This is why I love widefield (relative). There’s so much to find in a single picture!”
Click on the images to view them full-screen with details.
Integration of 96 frames with regular normalization mode and LNC & MBB both disabled
Integration of 96 frames with advanced normalization mode and LNC & MBB both enabled.
Astroforum.nl forumpower – Final hubble palette (SII H-alpha OIII) composite of the Astroforum.nl forumpower Rosette Nebula project. Data courtesy of Irving Pieters, Michael van Doorn, André van der Hoeven, Rob Musquetier & Ruud de Vries.
image calibration with bias, dark, flat frames and bad pixel maps
accurate star analysis with very high star lokation precision (0,05 pixel for monochrome data) using Intensity Weighted Centroiding.
Registration with Dynamic optical Distortion Correction (DDC)
advanced Data normalization
advanced integration/stack engine including outlier rejection filters and the ability to output rejection, weight and normalization maps.
full drizzle support including bayer drizzle. The drizzle droplet and grid enlargement can be configured. And different drizzle kernels can be used, like point, square, tophat and gauss.
data interpolation algorithms for all different kinds of image transformations like Lanczos and Mitchell-Netravali algorithms.
choose different compositions for you stack before data integration. You can choose to integrate the entire field of view of all frames, or only the field of view of the reference frame, or even a crop of the reference frame.
directly integrate using another scale, so you can directly upscale or downscale the integration result.
the ability to project your data differently than the regular rectilinear projection for huge field of views after camera calibration (focal length, principal point). This is needed for Field Of Views (FOV) larger than 120 degrees.
a very efficient light-pollution/gradient removal tool.
batch tools to rotate, resize, crop, uncrop, and even undebayer(!) your frames
can split your RGB data into separate channels for combination with monochrome channel data.
ability to adjust FITS meta data
the possibility to multiply or divide your data with a certain factor or to add/remove a pedestal to/from your data
preview filter which different automatic stretch settings, background & highlights protected saturation adjustments, contrast increase, sharpening while protecting your stars and the option to reduce the stretch in the highlights, giving tighter stars and less saturated star cores and nebula.
using the preview filter, you can directly save all your results to FITS, TIFF or JPG formats including ICC color profiles for correct color management.
the RGB or Luminosity histogram of your data is always visible
tool for star color calibration
a RGB composite tool with Luminance implementation for the creation of all kinds of composites, like LRGB, LHaRGB, or a Hubble Palette using your narrowband data (SHO).
a selective color tool with the ability to selectively adjust the colors in your images or/and selectively boost saturation and/or luminance.
all data processing in APP can be done on linear data. The selective color tool has no problem for instance with your linear data.
APP will run on any 64bits operating system where the Oracle Java Runtime is available. APP is installed together with the correct Java Runtime Environment (JRE), so the user doesn’t need to worry about this. Currently, complete installers for Linux (DEB & RPM), Windows (.exe) en MacOS (DMG) are available.
Astro Pixel Processor has several features which are unique and innovative for Deep Sky astrophotography:
advanced image registration using true optical distortion correction
the ability to create huge mosaics automatically by solving the registration problem of all mosaic panels as one complete problem
advanced image normalisation using only the data areas that exactly overlap between the reference frame and the frame that needs to be normalised.
a new innovative technique called Local Normalization Correction or LNC. This will greatly improve data normalization in the complete stack before actual data integration.
Multi-Band Blending will remove stack artefacts in regular stacks or seams in a mosaic integration.
a special and unique demosaic algorithm called: Adaptive Airy Disc that will reduce green/magenta cast in your RGB data, will improve sharpness and will make your stars rounder when compared to the well-known AHD and VNG algorithms.
demosaic algorithms for direct processing of monochrome narrow-band data (H-alpha, SII, OIII,…) acquired with One Shot Color (color CCD/CMOS, DSLR) camera’s.
chromatic aberration correction as part of RGB data calibration using a special registration model that will correct all forms of chromatic aberration to a very high degree.
a tool to correct vignetting in your lights/stacks using Kang-Weiss models with or without a geometric factor. The geometric factor is needed for optics consisting of several optical elements.