Key Features:

  • Analyze frame illumination by measuring flat frames or star-field images
  • Predict how well a telescope will work with a different size camera, including FWHM, vignetting, and star distortions
  • Limit settings for automatic image evaluation and flagging.
  • Includes CCDIS/P Plug-in (see below) for Effortless Image Registration in CCDStack
  • Collimate your telescope in-focus with your CCD camera
  • Generic support for all image capture software, including TheSky, CCDSoft5, Maxim DL, AstroArt, MaxDSLR, etc., capable of writing FITS, TIFF, SBIG, or most native DSLR Raw file formats!
  • Dramatically Improve quality of your images: increase sharpness and resolution
  • Determine the quality of your atmospheric conditions with real-time conditions graphs.
  • Automatically sort many images at once by evaluating star sharpness and tracking quality
  • Pick the best sub-frames for stacking, or for deciding which to keep
  • Compare images by many objective criteria, plot the results for a better visual impact
  • Measure and plot focus variations due to tilt or field curvature
  • Determine how flat the image plane is. Compare performance of field flatteners and focal reducers
  • Real-time focusing using Full-Width-at-Half-Maximum (FWHM), Peak Value, Half-Flux Diameter (HFD), and other displays.

CCDIS/P is a powerful plug-in for CCDStack to enable fast, precise, and effortless registration of images. Image scale, rotation, flipped axis, or large image offsets are all handled easily with no user input required. Average registration accuracy is better than 1/10 of a pixel. This plug-in is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows and requires CCDStack version 1.4 or later.
 See CCDIS/P in action with CCDStack

Collimate your telescope in-focus with your CCD camera!

Unlike collimation procedures of the past, CCD Inspector provides a revolutionary new way to collimate a compound-optics telescope.

Collimation makes a huge difference in the quality of image and resolution that can be achieved. With CCDInspector, a collimation error of 10 arc-seconds can produce as much as 1 arc-seconds increase in FWHM of a star. This means that a good 3.0 arc-second FWHM image can become a 2.0 arc-second image with proper collimation! 

By measuring the exact displacement of the optical center from the physical center of the imaging configuration, CCDInspector is capable of detecting the smallest collimation errors with your CCD still attached to the telescope! This is the best possible way to collimate, since:

  • The optical train is not disturbed by removing an eyepiece and replacing the camera after collimation
  • Focus position will need only minor adjustments to get to best focus after collimation is completed
  • What’s more, the collimation can occur right on, or very near-by to the field you will be imaging. This may be the best way to collimate a telescope with a significant mirror flop
  • Multi-Star collimation is done on hundreds of stars, there’s no need to re-center anything after adjusting collimation: just take the next image, and keep adjusting
  • The Defocused-Star collimator can use any bright star to determine collimation error and is a precise method that’s less affected by seeing and tracking errors.

Real-time analysis of focus, seeing and tracking quality


CCDInspector can performs the following functions:

  • Real-time focusing using Full-Width-at-Half-Maximum (FWHM), Peak Value, Half-Flux Diameter (HFD), and other display statistics
  • Seeing conditions estimation by measuring FWHM or HFD of a star
  • Focus quality monitoring during a long exposure by measuring the quality of the star image on the autoguider chip
  • Fast and easy way to evaluate the quality of a long exposure containing multiple stars and extended objects
  • Measure FWHM or a number of other statistics of a specific star in the image by selecting it.

Analyze your exposures for image quality

CCD Inspector employs a proprietary algorithm for star filtering and extraction. For each image, it will extract up to a few thousand stars from the entire image, ignoring hot pixels and other non-stellar structures. As part of the analysis, CCD Inspector will ignore stars that are bloomed or saturated, and any stars with a signal-to-noise ratio that may skew the measurement. It will then pick the median FWHM value, and the median Aspect Ratio value of all the stars remaining in the list. These will be the values displayed next to the image name.

FWHM and Aspect Ratio displayed represent an “average” value for the image. There will be some stars with higher and some with lower FWHM in the image. The same applies to the aspect ratio value.  The values chosen are meant to quantify the image for a meaningful comparison between similar images, such as multiple sub-frames of the same field of view.

CCDInspector will measure and display the following attributes of each exposure:

  • FWHM
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Background Brightness
  • Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Altitude of the image
  • Curvature amount
  • Collimation error
  • Tilt in X
  • Tilt in Y
  • Date and time of the image
  • Image Scale
  • Focal Length
  • Pixel Size
  • Camera Gain
  • Total stars used in analysis

Graph and plot your results to assist in future imaging sessions


CCDInspector’s Charts feature is a powerful analytical tool that allows direct comparison of various measured values from multiple images. Any of the numeric values can be used in a chart, whether computed or derived from the image.

Some example uses of the charting feature include:

  • Aspect Ratio plotted against Altitude can give an indication of how the mount tracks depending on position in the sky:
  • Collimation plotted against altitude or time can give an indication of mirror flop in the system
  • X or Y tilt over time can be an indicator of focuser sag, flexure, or mirror flop
  • Background brightness over time can indicate the time of the night when the sky is darkest
  • Changing curvature over time also implies changing collimation due to flexure or mirror flop

Camera Extrapolation Tool

Easily find out if a field flattener is needed with that larger sensor, or whether a larger secondary will be needed due to severe vignetting. Predict just how well that new camera will work with the current optics. Select from a large list of possible DSLR and CCD cameras and chips.

Aspect Ratio Map Tool

Aspect ratio map shows how stars shapes vary across the field of view, for example due to coma or to optical tilt. Easily see and diagnose tilt or coma problems.

Flat Frame Analysis

Flat Frame Analysis tool helps measure the degree of vignetting from a star field image or a flat frame. See the shape of vignetting in clearly marked contour lines, with % light fall-off shown.

CCDIS Registration Plug-in for CCDStack

This plug-in works in conjunction with CCDStack to provide a fast and extremely precise image registration using CCDInspector advanced star detection algorithm. CCDIS works seamlessly with CCDStack 1.4 and later, and registers images completely automatically. CCDIS handles rotation, differences in scale, image flip, and large linear shift with ease. CCDIS is fast on a single CPU, but will take full advantage of the modern multi-core CPUs for even faster performance. Here is a video demonstrating its performance on a single core machine.

Limit Alerts

Set limits on image parameters, such as FWHM, aspect ratio, background, etc. All images exceeding the limits will be flagged on the display for easy identification.