Lately, I've been fooling around with my Adobe Photoshop, and decided to give a whirl at creating artificial diffraction spikes on wide-angle astrophotography. My final photograph will be submitted after this article because it is still in need of some processing, though I will include some great examples such as the preceding photo of the Pleiades, which has very visible diffraction spikes.
It should be noted that diffraction spikes actually detract from the scientific worth of a photograph, as certain features of stars may be obscured by their inclusion. They are strictly there to "pretty up" a photograph, and provide no calculable scientific value.
I have created a custom brush preset using instructions I found on IceInSpace.com, an Australian amateur astronomy website with some great information.
Do these steps and soon you're astrophotos will have those cool diffraction spikes on them as well! Look forward to my published photographs of Mars (similar to one already posted) stacked with Registrax and using IceInSpace's diffraction spike tutorial. It's going to be pretty cool, and I think a gigantic leap forward in quality.