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Storage space for your captured images
Prasad Agrahar

I am a beginner in astro imaging and yet I have accumulated a lot of gigabytes of images. Some have been good or decent and some may be worthless. The main point is I am running out of storage space. hence this question.

1. Do you save your captures on an external hard drive or on cloud storage to free up space on your laptop? If yes what is your preferred method of storage?

2. Is it really worth investing in an external storage? (How frequently do you ever look back at what you may have saved?)

I looked at buying an external hard drive and I found a 5TB drive costs $115. I thought of asking people with experience before I spend. I have no idea how expensive will be cloud storage.

Thanks for your advice


Garrett Wright

For the stacking results, intermediate, final, and master calibration files I use "Dropbox". It's a cloud backed synchronizing solution that runs as a small app on your computer(s). Once I think I'm done with files I will set them to "online only" in the application, which frees up my local drive space, but keeps them in the cloud. I can recall them from the cloud later if I need by setting file/folder to "make available offline". I think 1 or 2 TB plan for a year is similarly priced to an external drive. It is handy for many things, but was originally designed for easily keeping files synchronized between computers.

I've seen a lot of external drives (or their interface cards) die. Would recommend you have a second backup, or use a backup service as well if you can't live without the data.

Storing the raw subs for me is a problem... I have to start thinking about that more myself... I have thought about cold or infrequent cloud storage, but I don't want to do more programming-ish work when I get home :)...

Lou Varvarezis


Every once in a while, Costco puts 8TB external Seagate drives for sale for $99. They are USB C and very fast. It's a lot of local storage space for very little cost. If you intend to use an external drive as a local backup I would buy a pair drives to back up each other. Otherwise, if you only buy one drive you are rolling the dice that it wont fail.

I can tell you from experience I am glad that I backup up my data because as I progressed in the hobby, it was fun to revisit old data and reprocess just to compare results after learning new techniques or with different software that was previously unavailable to me.

There are various cloud services out there as well. Idrive offers 5 TB of backup space for a year for less than $60 but the price might change after that. It might be a good idea to check out a few cloud services before you decide on one. Some them will send you their drive (once a year for free, or for a small fee) so you don't have have take forever to upload your data onto the cloud over the internet. Just copy the data locally and send the drive back to them. Usually, they will make several copies of the data you upload on that drive once they receive it back from you. Most reputable services store back ups of your data in several different locations in case of fire or natural disaster or some other catastrophic event.

5 Tb might be enough to hold you for a while for all of your deep sky imaging data but that is no where near enough if you want to keep all of your raw data from planetary imaging. You have to decide how serious you want to get about preserving your data first and then examine your options.

The cheapest and fastest way is locally with a pair of external hard drives the more expensive but more secure way would be on the cloud.

Good luck,


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