AstroToaster Help

The AstroToaster  is an application for performing Near Real Time observing using a DSLR or CCD camera.
It stacks images as they are taken, presents them in a simple effective viewer.

The stacking is performed using the DeepSkyStacker software
Stacking Engine.

is a freeware program by Luc Coiffier, and can be downloaded from ""
The help and user instructions that come with it are very well written and useful.
There is a yahoo group for it, and you can find knowledgeable users on many online forums.

I have done my testing and development on DSS version 3.3.2, and 3.3.4 under windows xp, service pack 3.
I have tested it briefly on windows Vista and windows 7
My hardware is an HP laptop with 2 CPU's 1.6ghz and 3gig of ram.

The Operation and work flow are similar to DeepSkyStackerLive.

The camera drops files into a 'Monitoring' folder, they are automatically processed and continuously stacked and updated into a viewer window.

- You can use darks/flats, etc.
- Color adjustments for levels, curves, are re-applied
  automatically to the refreshed image in the viewer.
- Performs a continuous complete align and restack of the
  data as it is acquired, instead of just a running average.
- The user has control over the images being stacked,
- You can view and tweek images taken earlier in the session
  while acquiring new images.



AstroToaster Controls


Monitor - Automatically Monitors the 'Monitoring' folder,
      registers and calibrates images
     ( when Monitoring is turned on the Stack, Single, and
      Refresh controls will run in automatic mode )

Stack   - Aligns and Stacks the current image group as new
       images are acquired.

Single  - fully processes the last Single image ( this is
       instead of stacking )

Refresh – Automatically Refreshes the Viewer, as a new
        stacked or Single image is created

Stop    - Turns off all Automatic processing


Refresh - Manually Causes Refresh of Picture,


Viewer  - Image viewer on/off

Full    - Full screen image viewer on/off

ColorAdj   - Color adjustments dropdown menu on/off
        (only while in the Viewer )

SetStack  -  Sets the current picture as the starting
       image of a new stack

FileList – organize and quick view the Images being stacked

Help    - Help/UserGuide/Faq/About

Quit    - Exit from the application


Processing statusBar  the colored progress bar   
     on top the right hand side.

     Blue/Green – normal
     Yellow – slow
     Red – even slower
     Brown – not enough stars detected
The TitleBar of the Main window and Viewer also has
     additional processing information, including
     image size and star count

     ( see notes in USER GUIDE about performance,
        image size and star counts )


Drop Down Menus



    - Manually select picture files

CalibrationFiles - Manually select calibration files
    ( darks, flats, offsets )

Picture Scale
- 1.0 is the default, (no resize is done),
    .75x Scales the image by 75%
    .75T Trims the image by 75%

Select Best “Percent”   - Select the acceptable image     
      quality percentile to stack .

Stacking Limit –Limits stacking to the ‘last’ x frames
      ex. if ‘5`was chosen it will stack the last 5
      frames taken.
      None’ is the default, it will stack all frames          
      in the current group

Star Detection Threshold  -  Select Star Detection
     Threshold, for Registering Stars used for alignment
     during stacking.
     Select ‘Auto’ to have the program automatically
     select the optimal Star Threshold
     ( see DSS User Guide Star Threshold for documentation

Dark Frame Factor  -  If using Dark calibration files,
     adjusts the power of the dark frame subtraction.
     ( see DSS Dark Multiplication Factor )

HotPix Detect -  Detects and removes Hot Pixels,
     Use lower values if possible, since higher values will .
create artifacts, and use more system resources

Hide Viewer Boarder
-  Hides the windows boarder on the
     viewer window.

AutoDetectStack –
Automatically detects a change in the     image, and starts a new stack

Image Message Text - Text to display under image

Image Text checkbox  – Displays text and status under image

Image Text Font - Font of image text

ReCalibrateStack - Initiates reprocessing of all the images
      for the Current stack group (all ‘checked’ images )

ReCalibrate Darks- nitiates reprocessing of all darks into
      MasterDarks (all ‘checked’ darks )

      (Will also process all Offsets, Flats, DarkFlats into

      Masters )

ReStack    - Re-Stacks all ‘checked’ images for the current stack

– UnChecks all image files in the list

Settings – Opens the settings screen for application options
      and settings.

HideStacks, UnHide – Hide/UnHide (and unchecks) all the
      stacks in the Filelist.


FilesList Items context menu
( select an item or items and right click to access menu)

Click - on file to display in viewer

File type –
change to Dark, Flat, Light, RefLight, Offset

Check, Uncheck 
- toggle check box

ExpViewer – view file with extended viewer modes

Copy –
copy file to clipboard

Remove –
Removes file from list (does not harm the file )

Delete –
Permanently Deletes
file from list and file system


Color Adjustments

    Red Green Blue sliders for basic color adjustments

    Black - Adjusts the lower Black level

    White - Adjusts the upper White level

    Contrast - Adjusts contrast

    Brightness - Adjusts overall brightness
    Colorfulness - adjusts the color Saturation

    Tint - Adjusts the overall tint


    Expand - Expands the luminance of dim objects        
        and nebulosity and in the image

    LensGrad  - basic lens gradient correction
    SkyGrad - basic sky gradient correction
    SGAngle  - sky gradient angle
    ApplyE/G  - Applies adjustments chosen for Expand and
        Gradients to the image.

AutoExp  – Automatically calculates Expand and viewing adjustments

    Negative  - invert the colors and intensity

    Logarithmic - mild luminance expand

    Rot - Rotate the image.

    Flip - Flip the image.

    Zoom    -   +/- change image size ( Mouse wheel will also zoom )

    Crop    - Viewer Crops and zooms to the selected
              Rectangle, ( Click ‘Crop’ control again
              To reset the picture )

      Reset - Resets all viewer settings

      Open  - open an image

      Save  - Save the current image

Hint: To adjust images of faint objects, first use the
Expand tool to give the image a fairly bright washed
out look, then use Brightness, Contrast and Black to
trim it back into more pleasing view.

Hint: For fine adjustments of colorAdj sliders, you can use either the keyboard arrow keys, or the Mouse Wheel


    Picture type/extension - select picture type that the
            camera places in the monitor folder

    Monitor Folder - indicate folder to monitor for new
             camera images

    Output Folder - folder to place stacked output images

    DeepSky program Folder - folder where the DeepSky      

     Fits SuperPixels – Use SuperPixels for translation of Fits 
             Bayer.  raw files. Generates smaller image files with better 

             colors but less resolution.

     Refresh Settings From DSS – Refresh Processing
             Settings from DSS.

    Cancel Changes – Cancel changes made to settings.

     Apply changes – Apply changes made to settings   

    Session Delete Temp Files – remove temporary files used by
            the Application and DSS processing.

     Session Delete ALL Files – Permanently Delete ALL files from 
            Monitor folder, include source image files.

     Session ReStackAll – Reprocesses all the image Stacks     
            or all the files (will AutoDetect the stacks)