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Introduction To Astronomical Image Processing

INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMICAL IMAGE PROCESSING: A Comprehensive Guide to CCD Image Enhancement for the IBM-PC and Compatibles with AstroIP Software, by Berry, 8.50" by 11.00", 96 pages, softbound, IBM-PC diskette included, published 1991, 1 Lb. 5 Ozs. ship wt., $29.95.

Most books on image processing are full of complicated mathematical formulas and equations. This one is not. This book is a manual for amateur astronomers (and anyone else who is fascinated by image processing) that you can use. And because we've included AstroIP software and plenty of sample pictures on the diskette bound into the back of this book, you can start image processing right away.

This book shows you easily you can achieve professional-quality image processing results with your own IBM-PC or any MS-DOS computer with a CGA, EGA, or VGA (best) graphic card. You don't have to be a computing genius or know how to program --- you just type simple commands from on-screen menus. The image you're working on will change before your very eyes as the software routines do their work!

The most exciting thing about image processing is the tremendous power to manipulate images it puts into your hands. With a few keystrokes you can summon powerful software routines that bring hidden features to light, enhance obscure details, or reveal brightness contours the eye has missed. This book is designed to help you do all these things and more.

The software diskette bound into this book includes all the images shown as examples in this book, and many more. After you've duplicated what you see in the book, you can go on to experiment with originals from amateur-grade CCD cameras --- pictures you could have taken yourself --- as well as sample images taken by the cameras aboard Voyager's spacecraft at Jupiter and Saturn.

For the serious programmer, the distribution diskette includes the complete program source code if you are curious, you can examine in detail how AstroIP accomplished its work. Or, if you wish to, you can extend AstroIP by adding your own special routines in QuickBasic language. Whatever you needs, work at your own pace and enjoy the image-processing power and magnificent astronomical images you'll find in this book and software package.

What the Reviewers said:

". . . This manual is well illustrated, clear, easy to use, and makes a very impressive processing package, describing in detail how to manipulate your Lynxx, SBIG, or Electrim images to get the most information from them. Each action is very clearly explained, and the mechanics of the processing operations are well illustrated with a series of astronomical image pictures, and corresponding histograms. Don't worry about whether you will be able to understand all this image manipulation stuff, the manual is superb and in fact could stand in its own right as a book on image processing . . ."

". . . Finally, as Richard Berry promised the program comes complete with its source code written in QuickBASIC which allows you to change and customize as you wish. We printed it out and it covers 39 pages! AstroIP puts into the hands of the amateur a really powerful tool for analyzing and manipulating images, at [a] very reasonable price . . ."

--CCD NEWS degree

"Richard Berry, editor of the US magazine Astronomy , was amongst the first to get hands-on experience with the revolutionary astronomical CCD cameras destined for amateur use. He has put his considerable experience to good use by penning this 96-page book (manual would be more apt). He has also written in QuickBasic the accompanying computer software contained in two 360K floppy disks. This goes well beyond the simple software supplied with most CCD cameras and permits the user full control over his own images to extract the maximum information to professional standards. With consummate ease the computer allows a level of control unheard of in the photographic darkroom.

Berry's easy going style covers every aspect of image processing via the home PC from first principles. The disks contain numerous top flight images including samples by Don Parker (planetary) and Jack Newton (deep sky) for you to experiment with. Amongst the topics covered are high, low and noise filters for sharpening images, purpose made filters to produce bas-relief, bright and dark sharp and unsharp masking or even contour or posterization. Don't be put off by the fancy names --- you will soon recognize many of the effects published in popular magazines or at least know how it is done and why.

Although the software is based around manipulating images from the Texas Instruments TC-211 CCD chip (used by SBIG, ST-4, Electrim EDC 1000 and SpectraSource Lynxx cameras etc.), the book remains a mine of information by stripping away the mystique and mathematics that have previously surrounded the subject. If you already have a CCD camera or are just contemplating, it is essential reading . . ."

--Astronomy Now (England)

"Most books on digital image processing have been written by expert mathematicians who seem to prefer that the majority of the human race should learn as little as possible about the subject! Joking aside, such authors often present abstruse mathematical equations and concepts, with little attempt to relate the algebra to readily understood `common-sense' effects on an image. This book, however, whilst not covering all aspects of digital image processing, is easy to understand and does not attempt to conceal the principle in a fog of convolutions and transforms. I recommend this package to users of CCD imagers . . . and suggest that anyone interested in the fundamentals of digital image processing will probably find it of value."

--Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Copyright ©2000 Willmann-Bell, Inc. All rights reserved.