Humans resolve the spatial alignment between two visual stimuli at a resolution that is substantially finer than the spacing between the foveal cones. In this paper, we analyze the factors that limit the information at the cone photoreceptors that is available to make these acuity judgments (Vernier acuity). We use open-source software, ISETBIO1 to quantify the stimulus and encoding stages in the front-end of the human visual system, starting with a description of the stimulus spectral radiance and a computational model that includes the physiological optics, inert ocular pigments, eye movements, photoreceptor sampling and absorptions. The simulations suggest that the visual system extracts the information available within the spatiotemporal pattern of photoreceptor absorptions within a small spatial (0.12 deg) and temporal (200 ms) regime. At typical display luminance levels, the variance arising from the Poisson absorptions and small eye movements (tremors and microsaccades) both appear to be critical limiting factors for Vernier acuity.