Everyone has different key requirements for their imaging software. Some people like to sit by their scopes and watch closely while every image is taken. Others prefer to automate their session from startup to shutdown. Some people already have their favorite third party packages for focusing, camera control, guiding, plate solving, etc. Others want an “all-in-one” package that does everything without requiring third party software.

My own bias is towards automated, unattended imaging. The fewer pieces of software I have to run to get this done, the better. I also live in an area with frequent passing clouds, so I want imaging software that can connect to my weather monitor and pause while the clouds pass, and then resume operations when it’s clear. And since the stars didn’t stand still while the clouds were here, the software needs to be flexible and smart enough to know where to resume imaging, even if that means skipping ahead a target or two.

In the course of searching for software that was a good fit for me, I evaluated quite a few imaging software packages, combing through feature lists, manuals and help files, and downloading, installing and trying as many packages as I could find.

In the process of my evaluation I made a lot of lists, and it occurred to me after a recent presentation to my local imaging club that my lists might help others narrow down their search and save some time.

And so, I decided to transfer my lists to my Astro Blog, and to check with the various software package websites to see what has changed.

There are no ratings or reviews here – it’s hard to be objective once you’ve chosen the packages that are right for you. My intent here is to present as close to facts as possible – either a package does something or it doesn’t – and not give it a star or numerical rating for how well it does it.