When applying MaskedStretch tool, cores of saturated stars will be protected and will remain as they are, independently of the increasing bright in the periphery. A possible alternative to solve this is repair the stars cores before stretching. The following image of Antares will be useful to show the reparation.
First I have applied MaskedStretch tool to a crop of the image with Antares using the default values. As expected the center of the star does not look fine.
Over a clone of the linear image apply the Repaired HSV Separation script. Set the desired levels to Clip Shadows and Repair level and check V- no repairs for the scrip to generate also the Unrepaired V.
You will get four new images:
I have seen in some cases that is better to generate the new image using the Unrepaired V instead of V. Using ChannelCombination tool generate the new image.
The center of the stars look better now in the linear image:
Finally apply the same Masked stretch process to the repaired image.
See Bob Andersson post about Repaired HSV Separation Script.