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Imaging Special Interest Group

Gautami Shirhatti


As a part of our collaborative learning meet ups at Houge Park, the SJAA Special Interest Group met on November 17, 2012 to learn more about Imaging Acquisition and specifically “Backyard EOS- BYE” , a very effective and popular image acquisition tool used these days in the Astronomy fraternity .

Why do I need Image Acquisition software?

Deep-sky astrophotography requires shooting many short exposures. This can be done manually, but it is a very tedious process. For example, faint deep-sky objects may require several hours worth of 5 minute exposures that are later stacked or combined in subsequent image processing. Image acquisition is a key step and a thorough understanding of this process early on surely helps to ease the learning curve in Astroimaging. And we at the SIG are always looking out to ease your way.

Paul Mahany gave a very informative presentation and demo of the software. The highlight of the seminar was tips and tricks that Paul demoed to improve image acquisition process in general and shared his lessons learned when he built his own telescope. Well, who would imagine using a 4$ flashlight from Home Depot for your telescope? This just tells me that imaging or for that matter any hobby you pursue need not always be an expensive affair, you just need to put on your creative hats, invest your time and get going!! The key is not to settle until you get the results you deserve.

The good thing is that it was designed and developed by amateur astronomers. How many times have we struggled with complex UIs and functionalities? A good product is the one that gets rid of anything that isn’t absolutely essential; yet is comprehensive and caters to every need of the user. Ease and Simplicity being the defining qualities!

This particular tool provides 5 different tabs with multiple settings available to cater to user needs: Image Capture, Frame and Focus, Planetary, Drift Alignment and ASCOM.

Additional details of the tools can be found at

In conclusion, the image acquisition software is a great tool that helps you get the results you desire but like anything else, it takes passion, lots of trials and errors, persistence and patience to get those perfect shots! As Galileo right said, “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.”


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