ASTROTOASTER  USER MANUAL

Quick Start

1) Your laptop is all set for the night imaging session, the
   CCD or DSLR capture software is up and running.

2) Start the AstroToaster application.
 
3) click on the auto Monitor, Stack, Refresh controls and
   open the Viewer.

4) Start taking pictures with your camera, adjust colors and
   Brightness of the Image as it is processed in the viewer.


Installation

Download the install program for http://www.astrotoaster.com
Choose to ‘run’ the program, you will be guided through the install scripts

You will need Deepskystacker installed, it is a freeware program by Luc Coiffier, and can be downloaded from http://deepskystacker.free.fr 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.

Settings 

When you run AstroToaster for the first time the Settings
Screen will appear, you will need to select your Monitoring Folder, Output folder, Verify that the Deepsky program folder is correct.  You should also enter the Picture type/extension of the images produced by your camera.


DeepSkyStacker

The application uses the DeepSkyStacker Engine (DSS) for all processing. It takes the user settings and options from DSS and uses them in its processing.

Deeepskystacker
is a freeware program by Luc Coiffier, and can be downloaded from "http://deepskystacker.free.fr"
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.
You will first need to be able to manually process your images in DSS in a satisfactory way, and save the settings.

Learning DSS takes some time, because the tasks it performs are quite amazing. But after you have it configured for you camera and setup, you will rarely have to make any changes to its seetings.

AstroToaster will use DSS settings and processing engine to calibrate, align and stack your images. The viewer in AstroToaster, will allow you to quickly adjust and view your images.

It is best to take a set of images that your camera has produced, and experiment with DSS and astroToaster before hand.( Once you are out in the dark taking images it will be difficult to learn much ). I have found that just dropping images into the application’s FileList, and seeing what happens is a good way to simulate what will happen in the field.

If you choose to use darks, offsets, and or flats, it will
be necessary to prepare and save these as Master files ahead of time in DSS (See the DSS documentation on how to do this)

FileList

The Filelist, manages the image files used by AstroToaster.
If the Monitor button is turned on, any new files appearing in the monitoring folder will automatically appear in the FileList. You can manually place files in the FileList by using the PictureFiles or CalibratinFiles button, or by dragging and dropping from a windows folder.

You will need to indicate the ‘file type’ from the drop down context menu.

Light – yellow – are the images to be stacked
Dark  - black – dark Master calibration file(s) (optional)
Flat  - grey  - flat Master calibration file (optional)
Offset – brown – offset Master calibration file (optional)
Stacked – green – is the stacked image created from the
                lights and calibration files

There is a check box next to the files. All checked files will be combined into the current stacked final image.

If you click on an image in the fileList it will appear in the viewer.



Options to Try

1) After first image appears in the Viewer, use the
   Color Adjustments tool, select ‘Auto Expand’ to quickly
   Bring out faint details.

2) Use the default ‘Auto’ Star detection Threshold

3) To quickly start a new image stack, at the current
   picture use the SetNewStack button.

4) You can manually determine which images get stacked by
   checking and un-checking them in the file list.

5) You can view and edit previously stacked images in the
   by clicking on them in the file list ( You will need to
   turn off the auto-Refresh button, in order to keep the
   currently processing image from being displayed in the
   viewer )

6) When starting a new session it is best to start in a new      
   or clean Monitoring folder.