My choice of software for imaging

Telescope control

There are a lot of things to take into account when imaging, such as accurate polar alignment of the telescope, an accurate goto, tracking, etc. With the Paramount ME came a software package called BOSS (Bisque Observatory Software Suite), this includes the following

TheSky6™ Professional Edition
CCDSoft™ CCD Camera Control Software
TPoint™ Telescope Pointing Analysis Software
Orchestrate™ Scripting and Automation Software
Internet Astronomy Software™ Client and Server Applications

Having set up the telescope so that it is level and pointing roughly North I can then let the software take over and it is a breeze to use, a polar alignment accurate enough for imaging can be obtained in less than half an hour and using TPoint software the mount finds your chosen object with incredible accuracy. This is a bonus for me as I have to do this routine every time I put the telescope away and bring it out again, providing I don't move anything or change scopes I don't need to repeat this procedure each night but more of that later, normally this software suite costs $1200 so the fact it came as part of the Paramount package is an extra bonus.

Image acquisition

After having aligned the scope the next important part is good focusing and acquiring your images. I bought Maxim DL with the DSLR plugin when I still had my Meade system so I carried on using it in preference to CCD soft, not that CCD soft is an inferior package, it is just that I've grown accustomed to Maxim DL. It makes everything from framing, focusing, setting up directories, calibrating, exposure sequence and acquiring the images easy with everything done from within one dialogue box. It will handle electronic focusers and filter wheels. My only gripe is there is no routine to automatically make nice hot cups of coffee and bring them out to you in the early hours of a cold winter night.

Registering software

I have a copy of registar which does a more elaborate job of the alignment routine in Maxim DL but to be honest I have been using the Maxim routine because of ease of use.

Processing software

Adobe Photoshop CS2 is my choice for the processing side as it has everything you could wish for (the only problem is you have to look for it or rely on tutorials from other people), I also use Noel's plugin tools for astronomy. I am nowhere near the standard of some of the imagers in using these software packages but am learning as I go on, that is part of the fun of it.