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August 12, 2015

, and , StarStaX

UPDATE:  though the article states it can be installed on a mac, it seems your mac requires Parallels (or Windows based-type system) in order to be “mac compatible.” Seems to be PC OS based.

A moonless evening could give stargazers a fantastic light show this week.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which is known for being among the brightest of meteor showers, is happening near the tail end of summer.

<a href="http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1068716" target="_blank">Jason Hullinger</a> went to Joshua Tree National Park last December to catch the Geminid meteor shower. He set up his tripod to take 20-second exposures from about 11 p.m. Thursday to 3 a.m. Friday. He took about 500 photos and combined them with StarStaX, an image stacking and blending software for star trail photography.

The major meteor shower will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere. The meteor shower peaks between August 12-13.

“If you see one meteor shower this year, make it August’s Perseids or December’s Geminids,” NASA says. “The Perseids feature fast and bright meteors that frequently leave trains, and in 2015 there will be no moonlight to upstage the shower.”

Best ways to watch meteor showers

The best part about the showing is that it will happen a day before the new moon, meaning the night skies will be dark and perfect for meteor spotting. Under clear and dark skies, observers could expect to see up to 100 shooting stars an hour.

Astronomy experts say that those conditions have not been available since 2010.

(by )  If you are familiar with star trail photography, then the only thing I need to tell you is that the free StarStaX image stacking and blending tool will help you create star trail images. If you are not familiar with star trail photography, then listen up. Know those cool photos where you can see the movement of the stars because they are presented as streaks across the sky? Those types of images can be created with the StarStaX application.

StarStaX is available for multiple platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
To get started with StarStaX on a Windows-powered PC you must go through the following steps: download an archive, extract its contents, run the StarStaX executable.

<a href="http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1149431" target="_blank">Gokhan Saymaz</a> is a part-time professional photographer. He created this dazzling image of star trails above Esentepe, in Cyprus. Saymaz used a long exposure technique, shooting 111 frames with a shutter speed of 30 seconds for each frame, before combining them using star trails software.

Load several images into StarStaX and a list of all these images will be presented by the panel to the left. Select an image from the list and a preview will be displayed by the main panel. Click the cog or the wrench icons in the upper right hand corner and you will be presented with the Preferences and Tools panels. Overall, the interface is easy to use, easy to navigate.

You can load several types of images into StarStaX: JPG, TIFF, TIF, BMP, PNG. StarStaX allows you to open photos and dark frames. Several blending options are offered by StarStaX: lighten, gap filling, darken, add, subtract, multiply, and more. So if you load some photos and dark frames, select the gap filling blending option, process the images, and then set the threshold and amount from the Tools menu, you will have a star trail photo that you can save to the location of your choosing.

StarStaX is free software.

Create beautiful star trail images with a bit of help from StarStaX, a free image stacking and blending tool that is available for multiple platforms.

Pros
StarStaX is available for multiple platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The application does not have to be installed on a Windows PC. Useful documentation is available online; there’s a Help file as well. The interface is very easy to navigate. Support is provided for multiple image formats, multiple languages, and multiple blending options. StarStaX is freeware.

Cons
None that I could think of.

You can download StarStaX free here.

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