Live Stacking

Live stacking is a feature that enables the capture of deep sky images within SharpCap without the traditional requirements of a high accuracy, guided, equatorial mount and long sub-frame exposures.  The capture of a larger number of shorter exposures and software correction within SharpCap for any drift or rotation of the field of view between frames makes deep sky astrophotography accessible to a much wider audience at much lower cost.

The traditional requirements of long exposures and accurately guided mounts arise from traditional CCD cameras used for deep sky astrophotography have a high-level of read noise.  If there is a high read noise every time that a frame is captured, long exposures are required to allow faint deep sky objects to be seen above the read noise level.  Long exposures mean that an equatorial mount which tracks accurately and is typically auto-guided is required.

This all changes when modern low noise CMOS cameras are used instead of CCD cameras.  The low level of read noise means that faint objects can be detected in far shorter exposures (and can be enhanced by stacking many short exposures – something that would not be possible without low read noise).  If exposures are short enough (often 30s or less), mount accuracy is less important as the amount of drift during a 30s exposure is far smaller than the drift during a 300s exposure.  Away from the zenith, field rotation due to the use of an ALT/AZ mount is also not usually going to be significant during a single 30s exposure. SharpCap corrects for any gradual drift or rotation between successive frames by tracking the movement of the brightest stars in the image.  As the number of frames captured increases the noise level visible initially visible in the stacked image will reduce giving astounding deep sky images with the minimum of fuss.

Because of the simple satisfaction of watching deep sky images appear in real time without the need to use a separate stacking program, Live Stacking is particularly well suited to outreach uses.

Live Stacking is started by choosing the ‘Live Stack’ option from the Tools menu or by selecting the Live Stack toolbar button.

Once selected, Live Stacking will immediately begin capturing, aligning and stacking frames.  A minimum of 3 stars must be detected in each frame for alignment to be possible (see the following sections for further details on alignment and how to customize star detection).  It is possible to save the stacked image at any point using the Save button that appears in the Live Stack work area – the Save can be repeated as required – for instance after 50 frames and again after 100 frames and so on.

The Live Stacking User Interface

The UI to control Live Stacking appears in the work area below the camera image, and is divided into an always visible left panel and a series of tabs to the right.

The left panel controls and reports on the most important aspects of the stacking process and is always visible during Live Stack.  The right panel has ten tabs to allow the monitoring and control of the details of the Live Stack process.


Left Panel




·         Frames Stacked – the current number of frames on the stack.

·         Frames Ignored – the number of frames ignored (not stacked).  This can happen because of alignment problems, SharpCap not seeing enough stars, frame failing to achieve a focus score criteria or other reasons.

·         Total Exposure – the length of time the current stack has been running.  Some cameras cannot report their exposure value to SharpCap (for instance DirectShow Frame Grabbers).  In those cases, SharpCap estimates the exposure based on the time between subsequent frames.


·         Align Frames – turn alignment and de-rotation on/off (default on).  See Alignment tab on right panel for more details.

·         FWHM Filter – enable/disable filtering of each frame by the average FWHM (focus quality) value.  High FWHM value frames are discarded as indicating poor focus/seeing/transparency/cloud.  See Filter tab.

·         Brightness Filter – enable/disable filtering of each frame by the brightness of the stars detected in the frame. A reduction in star brightness is often caused by thin cloud.

·         Auto Save on Clear/Close – enable/disable saving the stack automatically when the clear button is pressed or another action causes the stack to be reset.

·         Raw Frames – these options control whether the raw (unprocessed frames) are also saved. The options available are:

o   Save None – Raw frames are not saved

o   Save Stacked – Raw frames that are added to the stack are saved, frames that are not added to the stack are not saved (frames may not be added for a number of reasons : failure to align, FWHM or brightness filters, stacking being paused, dithering)

o   Save except when Paused/Dithering – Raw frames are saved except when the stacking has been paused or when a dither operation is taking place

o   Save All – All raw frames are saved.

Note that the saved raw frames do not have any pre-processing applied to them (dark subtraction, flat correction, banding suppression or background subtraction). This means that they can be processed later in another application.

Note also that the Preferred Still Format setting will determine the file format that the raw frames are saved to, and the raw frames will be found in a folder like YYYY-MM-DD\Capture\HH_MM_SS\rawframes.

·         View – you can choose to view either

o   Stack (show the stack so far – the default)

o   Individual Frames (show the individual frames being captured by the camera). This can be useful when you are having problems with live stacking. By viewing the individual frames, you can see what stars are visible, if conditions have changed, etc.

·         Stacking – Allows you to choose the stacking algorithm between the default algorithm and the sigma-clipping algorithm. See Stacking Tab for more details. Note that changing the stacking algorithm will reset the stack.

Actions Group

The Clear button will reset the stack to start from scratch.  Note, other actions can cause the stack to be reset; for instance, changing camera, resolution, colour space.  Changes to exposure, gain, brightness or applying a dark/flat will not cause the stack to be reset, but such changes should generally be avoided while a stack is in progress as they may lead to poor results.

The Save button has 4 sub options:


·         Save as 16 Bit Stack will rescale the stacked data linearly between the 0 and the maximum pixel value into the range 0 to 65535 and save this as a 16-bit FITS file.  The 16-bit FITS option is the default as it gives a high bit depth image with the full range of the image used (i.e. brightest pixel is 65535).

·         Save as Raw (32-bit) Stack will save the full 32-bit stack data as a 32-bit FITS file.  The data will be bitshifted to fill most of the available range of 32-bit data (the amount of bitshifting will be stored in the BITSHIFT header of the fits file). Note: when using Sigma Clipped stacking, the 32 bit values will be stretched up to a maximum value of 231-1.

·         Save with Adjustments will save the image with the Live Stacking adjustments applied (i.e. after histogram adjustments and colour adjustments have been applied) as an 8 or 16-bit PNG file (depending on bit depth of camera being used).

·         Save Exactly as Seen will save the image exactly as shown on screen as an 8-bit PNG file. This will include the effects of both the live stacking histogram and colour adjustments and the display stretch if one is applied.

The Pause/Resume button will temporarily stop or resume stacking.  Stacking will automatically be paused if the Live Stack window is closed or if the user switches to another tool such as Histogram. Switching back to Live Stack will allow stacking to be resumed in these circumstances if another action would cause the stack to reset has not been carried out (for instance changing resolution or colour space). This ensures that stacked data is not lost through accidentally selecting other SharpCap functions that might close Live Stacking.

Finally, in the Advanced section, you can choose to automatically save and reset the stack after a selectable interval. This can be useful if you live in an area with heavy aircraft traffic as taking a large number of shorter stacks may avoid a single set of aircraft lights spoiling a long stack.

Status Tab


The Status tab shows some more detailed information about the stacking process and the stack so far.  Of interest is the stacking time, which is the amount of time taken to process the alignment and stacking calculations needed for each frame.  If this time is longer than the exposure length, frames will be dropped from the stack (due to the previous frame still being stacked when the next frame arrives).  The Render Time indicates how long the calculations to redraw the image on screen take to complete. Certain Live Stacking features such as noise reduction and sharpening can increase the render time. If the render time is large then the program will only respond slowly to changes in the Live Stack histogram or colour settings.

The right-hand information panel shows the current status or warning or error messages if stacking errors are occurring.

Histogram Tab


The Histogram tab shows not only the histogram of the live stack data, but also allows the image levels to be stretched by moving the three vertical dashed yellow lines which represent the White Level, Black Level, and Mid-Level. The yellow curve shows the Transfer Curve which determines how bright the viewed image is for a given histogram level. For pixels at the Black Level point (and below) the viewed image will be black. For pixels at the Mid-Level point the viewed image will be mid (50%) grey. For pixels at (or above) the White Level point, the viewed image will be at maximum (100%) intensity.


·         Tweaks to the Black Level, White Level and Mid-Level affect how the image is shown on screen and how it is saved if choosing Save with Adjustments or Save Exactly as Seen

·         The changes do not affect the actual values in the stack or the result if Saving As 16 or 32 bit stacks. 

·         Changes made to the levels here do not affect the shape or position of the histogram shown in the Live Stacking panel, but will show in the Mini Histogram in the Camera Control Panel on the right.

·         Additionally, the Histogram Stretch Controls on the right, in the Camera Control Panel, affect only how the image is viewed on screen and do not affect saved data except when using the ‘Save Exactly as Seen’ option. 


Adjust White Level

·         The white level applies to the horizontal axis of the histogram, so left is 0% and right is 100%. It is not usually necessary to adjust this line.


Adjust Black Level

·         The black level applies to the horizontal axis of the histogram, so left is 0% and right is 100%.

·         Turn up the Black Level slightly (move slider to right) to suppress sky glow/chip noise and give a dark background to an image.  Turning the black level up too far can give the image an unnatural look or make faint detail vanish.


Adjust Mid-Level

·         The mid-level line also applies to the horizontal axis of the histogram and specifies the level on the histogram that will be displayed as a mid (50%) grey level. The mid-level is restricted to be between the black level and the white level.

·         Moving the mid-level control to the left towards will enhance the brightness of dim areas of the image. Moving the mid-level control to the right towards the white level will darken dim areas of the image but enhance contrast in the brighter areas of the image.


Transfer Curve

·         The yellow transfer curve shows how the levels between the black and white points are going to be displayed on screen.  The shape of this line is determined by the positions of the black level, white level and mid-level controls, and the line acts in a way similar to the ‘Curves’ adjustment found in many image processing applications.  For this line the vertical axis of the graph is the display brightness from black (bottom) to white (top).  The brightness of a pixel in the viewed image is calculated by taking its horizontal position of the pixel on the histogram, moving up to the red transfer curve line and taking the vertical position of the line at that point as the displayed brightness for that pixel.

Auto-Stretch and Reset Buttons

These buttons are located at the top-right of the main histogram area. The Auto-Stretch button (with the lightning bolt) will automatically set the black, mid and white levels to appropriate values to enhance the view of the image being stacked. The Reset button (with the circular arrow) will set the levels back to their default values. Note that the use of the Auto-Stretch button requires a SharpCap Pro license.


If you find you want a slightly stronger stretch, hold down the CTRL key while clicking on the Auto-Stretch button. Holding down the SHIFT key will give a slightly weaker stretch than normal. You can also adjust the strength of the default stretch in the Display Settings.


Colour Adjustment


The colour adjustment sliders can be found to the right of the main histogram area and only show for colour cameras. The four sliders are, in order from left to right:

o   Red Adjustment

o   Green Adjustment

o   Blue Adjustment

o   Saturation Adjustment

The three colour sliders can be used to adjust the colour balance of the image. The saturation slider can be used to increase or decrease the amount of colour seen. Adjustments made here affect the image as viewed on screen and the saved images when choosing either ‘Save With Adjustments’ or ‘Save Exactly as Seen’.


The colour adjustment sliders can apply an adjustment of between -10db (0.32x) and +10db (3.2x) to each colour channel.


Below the colour sliders are three buttons – from left to right:

o   Auto colour balance based on aligning image histogram peaks

o   Auto colour balance based on star colours

o   Colour adjustments reset button

Making fine adjustments to the Histogram

Sometimes it is necessary to make fine adjustments to the histogram stretch levels or the colour balance sliders to get the desired effects.

·         Hold down the <SHIFT> key while dragging the Black/Mid/White level lines – this will reduce the speed at which the lines move, making them easier to adjust.

·         Start dragging the Black/Mid/White level lines and move the mouse pointer to the top of the screen while continuing to drag. The further you move the mouse pointer out of the histogram area, the slower the lines will drag left/right

·         Click on one of the colour balance bars and use the up/down arrow keys on the keyboard to make small adjustments or make the live stack area taller.

·         Tick the Logarithmic Horizontal Axis checkbox, which will adjust the horizontal scale of the histogram to give more space to the shadows and mid-range and less to the highlights region. Note that the vertical scale of the histogram is always logarithmic.

Alignment Tab



The Alignment tab controls the alignment process which, along with the FWHM filter, depends on the detection of stars in each image.  SharpCap can only align images in which it can detect stars (do not use Live Stack for planetary, solar or lunar images).

·         A minimum of 3 stars is required for Live Stack with alignment to work.  However, for reliability and good alignment a star count of 10-15 or more is to be preferred.

·         Too many stars being detected can also cause problems, with either false alignment matches or with the star detection stage slowing down the stacking process. 100 to 200 stars is sufficient.

Alignment Group

·         Align Frames – enable or disable the alignment of frames.  The first frame in any stack becomes the reference frame – all other frames are aligned with that frame when alignment is enabled.  SharpCap uses the stars it detected in the first frame to align all subsequent frames with the stack.  Stars in the stack are re-detected if any of the star detection parameters are changed.  The absolute minimum requirement is 3 stars detected, although having 3 stars is no guarantee of alignment working if too close together or close to being in a straight line for instance.  Ideally, aim for 10-20 or more stars detected with a good distribution across the frame.

·         Align using – to select number of stars.  It can be 10, 15, 20 or 25 stars.  Using a larger number of stars may slow down the stacking process, but may give better alignment results. Only increase this value if detecting plenty of stars but still having difficulty aligning.

Star Detection Group


·         Sensitivity – This controls the overall sensitivity of the star detection process – increase this value to try to detect more stars, decrease it to reduce the number of stars being detected. Note the following:

o   Setting a higher sensitivity can make star detection take longer, potentially slowing down the stacking process

o   SharpCap will auto-adjust the sensitivity for you, turning it down (to a minimum of 75) if more than 200 stars are detected and turning it up (to a maximum of 75) if less than 25 stars are detected.

·         Noise Reduction – when enabled applies a Gaussian blur to help SharpCap to ignore low level noise and hot pixels.  Increasing this may help detect stars correctly in noisy images.

·         Suppress Hot Pixels – Enabling this option adjusts the star detection process to avoid detecting a star from a single hot pixel in the image. You may need to turn this off if you are using a large pixel camera and a short focal length telescope (i.e. your stars are very small).

·         Optimize for Faint Stars – Use this option if you are having trouble with alignment but can see faint stars in the image that are not being detected.

·         Highlight Detected Stars – checking this will put boxes around the detected stars – yellow stars are used for alignment; red are not used for alignment.  This can be very helpful to determine and understand the causes of problems with star detection and alignment.


Note that the detected stars shown are the stars for the stack when View is set to Stack, and are the stars for the raw frames from the camera when View is set to Individual Frames.

·         Reset All – this button resets all star-detection related options to their default values.

Status Groups

·         Shows various data including offset of the frame from the stack, rotation and number of stars detected. 

Stacking Tab

The Stacking tab allows the selection of either the Default or Sigma Clipped stacking algorithm and also allows adjustments to be made to the settings for the Sigma Clipped algorithm.


Default Stacking

The Default Stacking Algorithm adds the pixel values from each frame to the stack data. All frame date from stacked frames is included in the stack. The default stacking algorithm does not have any adjustable controls.

Sigma Clipped Stacking

The Sigma Clipped Stacking Algorithm averages stacked frames together to create the stack data. The algorithm tracks fractional pixel values, so stack quality is maintained. The algorithm also compares the value of each pixel in a new frame to the value of that pixel so far in the stack – if the two differ too much the data from that pixel is ignored for that frame.

The advantage of Sigma Clipped stacking is that anomalous features in individual frames – for example satellite or aeroplane trails do not end up in the stack data, since the anomalously bright pixels are rejected by the algorithm.

SharpCap keeps track of the mean value of each pixel in the stack as well as the amount of variability in the pixel value for each pixel. The amount of variability for each pixel is known as the standard deviation or Sigma value for each pixel.

The decision on whether to include the data for a particular pixel from a particular frame in the stack is made on the basis of the difference between the pixel value in the frame and the mean pixel value in the stack so far for that pixel. The size of this difference is compared to the sigma value for that pixel multiplied by the Sigma Threshold value. If the difference is larger than the pixel data is ignored.

The following controls are available to adjust the behaviour of the Sigma Clipped Algorithm:

·         Initial Frame Count – this controls the number of initial frames during which the algorithm learns what values are expected for each pixel without rejecting any potentially unusual values. A value in the range 5 to 10 is usually sufficient.

·         Sigma Threshold – this controls how different from the current stack pixel value a frame pixel value must be to be rejected. Setting a higher value here will mean that less pixel data is discarded but will reduce the effectiveness of the algorithm at excluding anomalous pixel data. This control should be adjusted while watching the Status information which shows the fraction of pixels being rejected in each frame.

·         Sigma Low Limit (%) – this control specifies a lower limit on the value of sigma calculated for any pixel in the stack. This is required to prevent incorrect rejection of image data when the individual frames have very little noise.

Note that Sigma Clipped Stacking requires a SharpCap Pro license.

Enhancement Tab

The controls in the Enhancement tab provide a way to improve the live stack image by either reducing the noise in the image, sharpening the image or both. All tools in the enhancement tab, except for the simple Gaussian Blur noise reduction require a SharpCap Pro license.


Gaussian Blur is a simple noise reduction tool which blurs each pixel in the image with its neighbours. This helps reduce the noise in the image but also has the effect of blurring the image somewhat. The Radius control determines how large an area each pixel is blurred over, increasing this value will strengthen the noise reduction effect but also blur the image more.

Bilateral Filter is a more sophisticated noise reduction tool which can reduce noise in areas of similar colour without blurring detail as much as the Gaussian Blur noise reduction tool. Once again, the Radius control determines the area over which the noise reduction operates. The Luminance Tolerance control determines how big a change in brightness is required to be regarded as a feature that will be preserved. The Bilateral Filter algorithm requires much more calculation than the Gaussian Blur algorithm and may slow down live stacking when using high resolution cameras or on slower computers.

Unsharp Mask is a simple image sharpening tool which strengthens the sharper components of the image relative to the less sharp components, producing a sharper looking image. The Radius control adjusts the split between the ‘sharp’ and ‘less sharp’ components of the image – the higher the value set the larger the scales of details that will be considered part of the ‘sharp’ component. The Amount control determines how much boosting is applied to the ‘sharp’ components of the image. Applying the Unsharp Mask sharpening unfortunately has the side effect of increasing image noise in the image. Setting the Amount control to too high a value may lead to an unnatural look to the image.

Weiner Deconvolution is a sophisticated image sharpening tool based on determining the shape of stars in the stacked image as an indication of the nature of blurring in the stacked image, then attempting to undo this blurring to the image to produce a sharpened image. The only control to adjust for this sharpening algorithm is the Signal to Noise Ratio. This is an estimate of how much brighter the image signal is in the stack than the noise. The Signal to Noise Ratio control should be set to the highest value that gives a natural look to the image (setting the value too high will give the image an unnatural, ‘orange peel’ look). The Weiner Deconvolution algorithm requires a significant amount of calculation and may slow down live stacking when using high resolution cameras or on slower computers.

Note that Weiner Deconvolution requires star detection to be active and finding stars in the image, since it uses the average star shape as an estimate of the ‘Point Spread Function’ which describes how the image has been blurred by seeing, optics, etc. If no stars are being detected then the deconvolution option will have no effect.

The sharpening and noise reduction algorithms affect both the image as shown on screen and the image saved when using Save with Adjustments or Save Exactly as Seen. Since the sharpening and noise reduction is applied every time the image on screen is updated, using these tools may reduce the responsiveness of the live stacking to changes in other controls such as colour adjustment or histogram changes.

Guiding Tab

SharpCap can work with the popular freeware guiding application PHD2 and also the MGEN3 Autoguider to monitor and control guiding and dithering while live stacking. Additionally SharpCap can dither using a connected ASCOM mount without needing a guiding application. See the Guiding Settings for more information on configuring guiding/dithering options, including configuring dithering settings that were found in this tab in older versions of SharpCap.


Configure your guiding setup in the Guiding Settings before trying to start guiding or dithering while live stacking.

If Monitor Guiding Application is checked then SharpCap will attempt to connect to the selected guiding application/device when live stacking starts. A notification message will indicate if connection has succeeded or failed and if connection succeeds then the Status information will update regularly.

If SharpCap has successfully connected to the guiding application/device then a status such as ‘Guiding’, ‘Calibrating’ or ‘Stopped’ will be shown in the Status box on the right. If guiding monitoring is disabled or SharpCap cannot connect to the guiding application/device then ‘Not connected to guiding’ will be shown.

To retry the connection (perhaps if PHD2 was not running initially, or your MGEN3 device was not plugged in), uncheck and then re-check the Monitor Guiding Application checkbox.

Monitoring Guiding

Basic guiding monitoring is managed by the two options:

Pause stacking if guiding lost – if enabled then SharpCap will pause any live stack in progress if the guiding status changes from ‘Guiding’ to any other status. Note that with this option set you can still start stacking when not guiding (or not connected). Also note that if you manually resume the paused stack, SharpCap will not re-pause it unless the status again changes from the ‘Guiding’ to a non-guiding state.

Do not start stacking if not guiding – if enabled then SharpCap will pause any new stack that is started if the guiding status is not in the ‘Guiding’ state (or is not running or not connected).

Notification messages will be shown in the SharpCap notification bar when guiding starts or stops.


SharpCap Pro users can also enable dithering using their guiding application/device while live stacking. In order to enable dithering, tick the Automatically Dither checkbox and set the dithering interval as required.

SharpCap will send instructions to dither at regular intervals. If the dither time arrives while a frame is being captured, SharpCap will wait until the frame ends before starting dithering. During the dither operation, SharpCap will pause the live stack so that frames that may be blurred due to the dithering movement are not included in the stack. The stack will be resumed after the end of the first frame to finish after the dither has finished settling.

Dither Interval – this is the minimum time that SharpCap will wait between the end of one dither starting the next dither. As noted above, dither operations are delayed until the end of any frame in progress. The Dither Interval should be set to a time considerably longer than the camera exposure time, otherwise an unacceptably high fraction of frames will be lost due to dithering.

Reduce Exposure while Dithering – If this option is selected then SharpCap will reduce the exposure of the camera to 1 second during dithering operations and reset it back to the normally selected exposure time when the dithering operation is complete. This reduces the amount of lost imaging time at each dither and should normally be left checked. The reduced exposure (1 second) frames will not be added to the stack and will not be saved as raw frames unless the Save All option is selected for saving raw frames. The use of this option is recommended.

Filter (FWHM) Tab


This filter allows poor-quality frames (poor atmospheric conditions or clouds) to be excluded from the stack.  Frame quality is judged only by the FWHM (full-width-half-maximum) estimate of the quality of focus in the frame.

·         Filter on FWHM – check to enable FWHM (focus score) filtering.

·         Maximum FWHM – use the slider to specify a maximum FWHM value for frames to be used.  It shows a history of recent frames.  Used frames are green, frames discarded by filtering are red.

·         Filtering does not apply to the first frame in any stack.

Filter (Brightness) Tab


This filter can help detect reductions in frame brightness caused by passing cloud, stopping frames spoilt by cloud from being added to the stack. The frame brightness is judged based on the brightness of stars detected in the frame, so this filter can only operate correctly when sufficient stars are detected in the frame.

The graph shows the brightness of recent frames with the most recent frames on the right-hand side and the oldest frames on the left. Frames that are rejected are shown as red squares, frames that are stacked are shown as green squares.

The controls available are:

·         Filter on Brightness – check to enable brightness filtering

·         Minimum Brightness – adjust the level of brightness below which frames will be rejected. The level is measured relative to the average brightness of recently stacked frames.

·         Auto – check this box to allow SharpCap to set the Minimum Brightness threshold automatically based on the statistics of recent frames. Uncheck this box to allow the Minimum Brightness to be set manually.

Drift Graph Tab

The drift graphs show the history of movement and rotation of the image during the current live stack.


The left-hand graph shows the amount of movement of the image on a scatter (X,Y) graph. Green crosses represent frames that were added to the stack, red crosses represent frames that were not added to the stack for some reason (filtering, stacking paused, etc). More recent frames have larger crosses and the most recent frame is a blue cross.

The right-hand graph shows the history of rotation of the stack with the amount of rotation measured on the vertical axis and time (with the most recent frames on the right) measured on the horizontal axis. Rotation will be very low for equatorial mounts, but may be significant for Alt-Az mounts.

Hovering the mouse over either graph will display a larger version.

Log Tab

Shows some log information of Live Stacking in more detail than is saved in the main SharpCap log.  If something is not working, this is the place to look.


The log tab also contains two controls that are sometimes useful:

·         Reset All Settings – pressing this button will reset all live stacking settings to their default values.

·         Warn After X Ignored Frames – adjusting this setting changes the number of frames that must be ignored in a row before SharpCap begins showing warning notifications.

Live Stack Reference

For default stacking, SharpCap maintains a 32-bit integer value for each pixel of the stack with the value from each frame being added to the pixel value.

·         For a 16-bit camera it is possible to stack up to 32768 (215) frames before running out of values in the stack.

·         For an 8-bit camera it is possible to stack up to 16 million frames (224) before running out of values in the stack.

For sigma-clipped stacking, SharpCap maintains 2 32-bit floating point numbers for each pixel – to represent the average pixel value and the variation in the average pixel value.

All files saved during a stack will be saved in a single folder (raw frames and processed stack images saved in subfolders).  This helps keep the saves from the stack together.  The folder is named after normal file naming rules based on the time stacking was started and the name of the target object selected.


Renaming a Live Stack

If the name of the target in the toolbar is changed during Live Stacking, SharpCap will rename the output folder. This will take place automatically without prompting if no images have yet been saved by the current stack. If images have been saved then you will be prompted to confirm the rename of the stack.

Note: The live stacking process will be paused while waiting for the answer to the rename confirmation question.

Note: The new name is not applied until you click away from the Target Name box or use the <TAB> key to move the cursor out of the box.


Using Live Stacking

A useful video demonstration of using the Live Stack function in SharpCap can be found, courtesy of Charles Copeland, at .

Although the video shows SharpCap 2.7, it is still valid for newer versions of SharpCap.  This is a good demonstration of what can be achieved with video stacking software using a NexStar 6SE telescope, analogue video camera and 0.5x focal reducer.