Non-linearly stretching an image's RGB components causes its hue and saturation to be similarly stretched and squashed. This is often observable as "washing out" of coloring in the highlights.
Traditionally, image processing software for astrophotography has struggled with this, resorting to kludges like "special" stretching functions (e.g. ArcSinH) that somewhat minimize the problem, or even procedures that make desaturated highlights adopt the colors of neighboring, non-desaturated pixels.
While other software continues to struggle with color retention, StarTools Tracking feature allows the Color module to go back in time and completely reconstruct the RGB ratios as recorded, regardless of how the image was stretched.
This is one of the major reasons why running the Color module is preferably run as one of the last steps in your processing flow; it is able to completely negate the effect of any stretching - whether global or local - may have had on the hue and saturation of the image.
Because of this, AutoDev's performance is not stymied like some other stretching solutions (e.g. ArcSinH) by a need to preserve coloring. The two aspects - color and luminance - of your image are neatly separated thanks to StarTools' signal evolution Tracking engine.
Even the way StarTools displays and scales images, has been created specifically for astrophotography.
In this case the Life module can be used to isolate objects in an image and lift them from an otherwise noisy background.
Bin the image up until each pixel describes one unit of real detail.
'Brightness/Color detail loss' specifies a measure of allowed acceptable detail loss in order to reduce noise.
If you're worried about Wipe removing any larger scale nebulosity, you can protect this nebulosity by masking it out, so that Wipe doesn't sample it.
You can convert everything you see to a format you find convenient. Give it a try!