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Volume: 28 | Article ID: art00008
Processing astro-photographs using Retinex based methods
  DOI :  10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2016.6.RETINEX-023  Published OnlineFebruary 2016

Stars, galaxies and some nebulae emit light, differently from solar system planets and satellites that mainly reflect Sun's light or nebulae that also partly reflect nearby stars light. Light emission is concentrated on specific wavelengths corresponding to transition states of atoms that compose the object. Professional photographers and astronomers use special narrow band filters to detect spectral light emission. Using monochromatic CCD cameras a multi filter photograph can be taken, producing at least long, middle and short wavelength snapshots that can be processed to give full color pictures. Amateurs can use wide-band filters or even color cameras. Colors in astrophotography do not correspond to perceivable colors by human vision system (HVS) and our visual system did not evolve to perceive these kinds of images. Any way we still have to consider our perception when creating pictures to observe cosmic objects photos, that have been rendered using the so called representative colors, selected to show the captured wavelength bands with the purpose to make visible what is scientifically relevant. The typical application field of the Retinex based algorithms is that of natural images, since their purpose is to simulate some behaviors of the human visual system. However we can use HVS properties to enhance astrophotographs and increase local contrast, thus allowing researchers to detect non-visible structures and lay people to be fascinated by richness of cosmic objects. We will present the results of applications of some Retinex based algorithms to astrophotographs. We will discuss their efficacy, compared to traditional methods and discuss possible developments.

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Daniele L.R. Marini, Cristian Bonanomi, Alessandro Rizzi, "Processing astro-photographs using Retinex based methodsin Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Retinex at 50,  2016,

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