Your astrophotography library

Observatory helps you collect, curate, inspect and share the astronomical images that you’re passionate about.

Introducing Observatory

Observatory 2 has been released!

What's New in Observatory 2

Observatory is the image management application specifically designed for astrophotography. It helps you keep your images organized with tags, albums, smart albums, ratings and color labels. With Observatory you can create master bias, dark and flat frames, calibrate, register, stack and adjust your images, all nondestructively, and without creating any intermediate files or accidentally modifying your master images.

Add notes, plate solve, and have it automatically tag your images to identify galaxies, clusters, nebula, variable stars, exoplanet host stars, planets, dwarf planets and minor planets in your images. Observatory even lets you find and download research images from 10+ professional ground-based observatories and space telescopes.

With Observatory, your Mac also gains the ability to display thumbnails and previews of astronomical FITS, XISF and SBIG images in Finder and other applications. It shows you metadata in the previews and for plate solved images includes the scale and image orientation. And it helps Spotlight index the right metadata, so you can quickly find your images.

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Observatory requires macOS 11+

”I would recommend Observatory to any Mac-loving astrophotographer [...] it is a fantastic image management tool and great for online data mining.”S&T Test Report March 2018 Sky & Telescope

”Plate Solving in Observatory is AWESOME! And so simple!”Software Review June 2018 Cassiopeia Observatory

”Preview support is fantastic. [...] even more amazing is that Spotlight can now extend its search to the FITS headers in the images [...].”AS&T Test Report August 2018 Australian Sky & Telescope

Featured in the August 2017 Astronomy Technology Today New Products / Industry News

Featured in the November 2016 Sky & Telescope New Product Showcase

Sky & Telescope



Find and download research images from professional ground-based observatories and space telescopes

Dual monitor support

Screen Transfer Function

Image and object information, adjustments, photometry, astrometry and stacking

Blinking and movie export

Overview, magnifier, histogram and attachments

Filter or sort images by type, tag, name and other metadata

Organize images with tags, albums, smart albums and folders

Nondestructive calibration, registration and stacking

Bulk editing of image metadata

Multiple image libraries

Plate solving and automatic tagging

Overlay galaxies, clusters, nebula, variable stars, exoplanet host stars, planets, dwarf planets, minor planets and stars up to magnitude 20

Import FITS, XISF, SBIG and RAW images

Badges for notes, adjustments, stacks and WCS

Astrophotography for Mac

Enhance your Mac with Observatory’s astrophotography plugins for Spotlight and Quick Look. These allow Finder and other applications to display thumbnails for FITS, XISF (PixInsight) and SBIG files, and show them up-close with their metadata. For plate solved images the image scale and orientation can also be displayed. Image dimensions, exposure time, focal length, filter name, detector temperature, right ascension, declination and other metadata is automatically indexed, so you can find your images right from within Finder itself.

With our optional Acorn plugin you can open FITS, XISF and SBIG images directly and at full bit depth in this image editor for post-processing.

Find & Import

Your Virtual Observatory

In addition to handling your own FITS, XISF, SBIG and RAW images, Observatory can download research images from professional ground-based observatories and space telescopes. To help you decide which images to download, it provides quick access to image previews when available.

European Southern Observatory
W. M. Keck Observatory
Gemini Observatory
Hubble Space Telescope
Spitzer Space Telescope
WISE Space Telescope
Palomar Transient Factory
Zwicky Transient Facility
Two Micron All Sky Survey
Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Digitized Sky Survey
SkyMapper Southern Sky Survey
Find & Import


Create a library for each of your projects and keep your images organized with tags, albums, smart albums and folders. Let Observatory keep track of your images, without copying, moving or altering them.

Keep your libraries in sync with your file system with Observatory’s watched folder feature, quietly importing new images into the library, creating new albums and stacks.

Automatically normalize image metadata and categorize plate solved images. Observatory supports metadata bulk editing, and you can add notes or attach important reference material to your images and albums.

Filter images by type or tag, sort them by sharpness or right ascension, or create advanced search filters using other image metadata.


Nondestructively Calibrate, Stack & Process

A nondestructive preprocessing workflow without the hassle of intermediate files.

  • Calibration
  • Binning
  • Background Neutralization
  • Flatten Background
  • Register
  • Stack
  • Rotate
  • Cosmetic Correction
  • Debayering
  • Color Balance
  • Chromatic Align
  • Normalize
  • Resize
  • Crop

Create master bias, dark and flat frames. Calibrate, remove hot and cold pixels, eliminate gradients caused by instrumental vignetting or light pollution and counter the effects of atmospheric dispersion. Register and stack your images to bring out faint details, all nondestructively.

You can create as many versions as you wish of an image and process each in a different way, without ever altering the master image.

Calibrate, Stack & Process

Analyze & Discover

Blink images to assess image quality, or help you discover supernova, minor planets and comets. Compute images statistics and sharpness, perform aperture photometry and astrometry.

Analyze & Discover

Export & Share

With its advanced export preset support that includes folder & file naming templates, you can easily export your images in different file formats and dimensions. You can even share them straight from Observatory using Mail, Messages, AirDrop and Notes.

Print or export images as PDF with their associated metadata and notes. Multiple images can also be exported as a movie.

PDF Export

Plate Solving + Tagging

Plate Solving

Observatory’s plate solver determines the right ascension and declination of objects in your images using its built-in object catalogs, and with help of the SIMBAD and NED services. It automatically tags plate solved images, so you can easily find them back later.



Discover what’s in your images by highlighting galaxies, clusters, nebula, variable stars, exoplanet host stars, planets, dwarf planets, minor planets and stars up to magnitude 20 in your images, and access additional information for each of these in the object inspector.

Multiple Libraries

Time Machine

Observatory is not limited to a single library. You can create a library for each of your projects, and have multiple libraries open at the same time. And they are all integrated with Time Machine.

FITS Headers

FITS Headers

Observatory automatically normalizes the image metadata in its libraries, but you still can view and search within the original master FITS header.


Your astrophotography library

Get Free Demo
Buy Observatory

Observatory requires macOS 11+

(16 GB RAM and SSD recommended)