We purchased a phone adapter for my sons telescope and got some amazing pictures, BUT we believe that they can be clearer.

What is the best, or a really good, image editing program for amateur astrophotography images; especially those taken with a telescope + cell phone combination?

What kinds of functions should we be looking for in this case?

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    $\begingroup$ You can use registax for desktop, in which you can stack frames to obtain best image or video you can then use adobe lightroom for mobile phone or tablet to make final touches, adobenlightroom for smartphone is free and the features you get is enough to process astrophotographs. $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2022 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it's an image processing "request for recommendations" and not particularly related to astronomy $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2022 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ I've used SAOImageDS9 with some success in the past. $\endgroup$
    – zephyr
    Jan 6, 2022 at 21:20
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    $\begingroup$ Carl Witthoft, This has everything to do with astronomy. I'm trying to get clearer images out of the pictures I took of Jupiter and the galaxies. All it looks like in my picture is a fuzzy blur with bright stars around it. $\endgroup$
    – SSmith3
    Jan 7, 2022 at 2:22
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    $\begingroup$ Would softwarerecs.stackexchange.com be a better location for this request? $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2022 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


For better astrophotography experience, here are some stratergies I usually if I were to shoot with a cell phone cam.

Capturing images

It starts with your smartphone itself, Your smartphone should be able to shoot at least 1080p and should offer manual settings. Make sure that you shoot images at JPEG (Check your compression rate, it should be in minimum, PNG format is always preferable) or PNG format and not in any compressed formats such as HEIC. Use voice control or a earphone to capture pictures so that you don't shake you smartphone


Planets or Galaxies, your exposure time should range between 30 seconds to 60 seconds, most smartphones offer this settings, longer the exposure time, more details you see in the image

ISO Settings

Capture images at no more than ISO 400 (ISO simply refers to the sensitivity to the light, since high ISO in low light will produce disastrous noise in the image), different sensors / smartphones offer different ISO range, anything from 25 to 400 will fetch you good images


For stacking you may need to take as much as 30 pics (Best results if you shoot as a video, not sure if some smartphones allows you to take videos with advanced settings/manual mode), since more images = more information to the software to fetch you good results in destroying the noise. Registax is my personal choice to stack images.

Final touches

After stacking images, you can use Adobe lightroom for smartphone or Dark Table for PC which gives you the features that are enough to correct colors, contrast, white balance etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Jpeg is a lossy format. Png is not. Compression does not hurt (e. g. png is compressed) $\endgroup$ Jan 21, 2022 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ @planetmaker Yes PNG files are compressed, I mentioned compressed formats such as HEIC which some softwares may not read it. And JPEG's quality loss depends upon the compression rate, I forgot to mention about it. $\endgroup$ Jan 21, 2022 at 16:10

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