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Live-stacking is a feature in software packages like Sharpcap Pro. This feature allows the user to capture multiple frames of the same target. Using star alignment, Sharpcap (and other such packages) can align those frames in such a way that star points are emphasized and darkness/noise (the space between stars, obviously) will drop out as Sharpcap averages the frames. Capturing a series of 3-second or 30-second frames (or anything in between) allows the software to create a fairly respectable image of most targets. Some 5 or 10 minutes later, Sharpcap can unlock incredible views of the night sky.

In addition to the live-stacking process, Sharpcap (and other applications) allow the user to “stretch a histogram.” Learning this skill will require substantial practice. But it’s one of the skills an EAAer will need to learn in order to excel in electronically-assisted astronomy.

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