AIC 2010 Speakers and Workshop Leaders

Click on a name to review this year's dazzling line-up of astro-photographic luminaries:

  • Rogelio Bernal Andreo
  • Steve Bisque
  • Russell Croman
  • Bob Denny
  • Neil Fleming
  • Lisa Frattare
  • Doug George
  • Don Goldman
  • Tony Hallas
  • Al Kelly
  • Todd Klaus
  • Zolt Levay
  • Brad Moore
  • Stan Moore
  • Kevin Nelson
  • Martin Pugh
  • John Smith
  • Steve Walters


  •  
     
     
    Rogelio Bernal Andreo

    Astrophotographer
    Wide field and Multi-Scale Processing




    This presentation will discuss:
    • framing and capturing original skyscapes,
    • color techniques that include gradual saturation, chromatic noise reduction and color sharpening,
    • several unique processing techniques and
    • multi-scale processing which involves star masking, making faint details visible and enhancing details in bright structures.




    Rogelio was born in Spain but has been living in the United States for over 20 years.

    He commenced producing astronomical photographs only two years ago. However, during the last 12 months, his work has been featured on APOD 8 times, published in several astronomy publications, used in planetariums, astronomy exhibits at museums, and appeared in the IMAX/Warner Bros. motion picture production Hubble 3D.

    Rather than simply trying to obtain the best image, he constantly challenges himself to ensure the final picture connects with the viewer by focusing on composition and experimenting with new processing techniques. Interestingly, Rogelio does not have a permanent observatory so his imaging requires extensive traveling to dark sites.

    Visit Rogelio's web site at DeepSkyColors
     
     
     
    Steve Bisque
    Founder & President, Software Bisque


    Using TheSkyX Professional Edition




    This presentation will demonstrate the latest version of TheSky- TheSkyX Professional Edition.

    Retooled from the ground up, Software Bisque has added a host of exciting features the world's favorite desktop/ telescope control astronomy software.

    Virtually every feature has been redesigned to emphasize ease of use:
     - Mac or Window operating system support
     - Screen refreshes as fast as your graphics hardware will allow.
     - Improved telescope control- features native telescope drivers with extensive driver support.
     - Full T-Point integration.



    Stephen Bisque is president and founder of Software Bisque. Stephen is currently one of the lead programmers working on TheSkyX, and is closely involved in the design of robotic telescope mounts. For over 25 years he has enjoyed marrying the latest computer and telescope technologies with TheSky family of software products.
     
     
     
    Russell Croman
    Renowned Astrophotographer
    2010 Hubble Award Recipient


    The 2010 Hubble Lecture








    Russ was one of the original AIC Board members, serving from 2004 through 2006 as its Registrar. Much of our continuing success rests upon the hard work he selflessly contributed. He was also one of the first to recognize the value and overcome the challenges of operating a remote observatory located far from city light pollution. His Dimension Point Observatory, situated high in the south central Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico and equipped with a half meter telescope, was one of the initial private fully-remote installations in that area and helped lead the small stampede that has made Mayhill, New Mexico, what some regard as, the world's capital of astrophotography.

    Russ also helped popularize the use of mapped color imagery. His techniques are presented in Ron Wodaski's The NewAstro Zone System for Astro Imaging, which Russ co-authored. Pursuing his career as a professional integrated circuit designer, Russ nonetheless exhibits the aesthetic heart of a gifted artist- just a brief glance at Russ' images can evoke strong reactions from even the most jaded viewer. Many consider Russ to be the finest astrophotographer on the planet!

    Visit Russ' web site at Russell Croman Astrophotography
     
     
     
    Bob Denny
    Founder- DC3 Dreams
    Principal Developer- ACP Observatory Control


    Using ACP to Plan and Acquire Imaging Data




    Both the quantity and the quality of raw image data are the foundations of successful art astronomy. Automated image acquisition is essential to getting the most out of your observatory. When that's still not enough, you can move your observatory to a remote location which provides both better image quality and more usable imaging time. Remote imaging clearly requires automation.

    First introduced in 1999, adding web-based automation in 2002, ACP Observatory Control Software has evolved towards ease of use as well as flexibility. This presentation will begin by discussing the reasons for combining automation and web control, who is using ACP, and a bit about how it works and how to use it. After this, a new approach to scheduling image acquisition will be covered. This will be an informal talk, with plenty of question and answer time throughout.



    Bob Denny has been involved full time for over ten years developing new- generation astronomy software, focusing on astronomy automation as well as remote observatory operation through a web browser (for which automation is a prerequisite). He is also the originator and still a primary evangelist for the ASCOM Initiative, which has freed astronomy software developers from having to write low-level control code for the myriad of computer-controllable astronomy instruments and devices that have appeared in recent years.

    Bob is quick to say that he is not an astronomer; he is an engineer and software designer. However he has a thorough knowledge of the needs of both science and art astronomers and their technologies. Software has been his real love for most of his life, having written his first program in 1963. Since then he has worked on a wide range of machines using a wide variety of languages. In addition, he is an expert with the latest web technologies and browser-based scripting in Java script.

    In the past, Bob has worked as a broadcast television engineer (while attending University), ten years in aerospace engineering and flight test, consulting for EMM and Xerox on special projects, then founding and operating a medium sized software business as CEO for fourteen years. Following that, he developed the first web server on Windows, made Visual Basic a web back-end programming language, and created the first Java based web server back-end.

    Bob holds a BSEE from the University of Arizona, an FAA pilot's license with multi-engine and instrument ratings, and numerous certifications related to his volunteer law enforcement work with the Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff's Office. Bob is enthusiastic about almost everything!
     
     
     
    Neil Fleming
    Astrophotographer


    The ABC's of Narrow Band Imaging- The Tough Parts and What to do About Them




    This "how-to" talk is designed for the imager who is familar with white light imaging through LRGB filters but wants to try some narrowband work. The theme is how to deal with the challenges that are inherent to narrowband imaging and processing:
    • What's different about narrowband imaging versus RGB/LRGB imaging?
    • Approaches to autoguiding
    • How to handle noisy data
    • Color adjustments and how to handle the overwhelming green (Ha) data
    • Adding in natural color RGB stars to your narrowband images




    • Neil Fleming specializes in the capture of high-quality images from very light polluted locations such as those in the Boston area. As such, the majority of his work is in the area of narrowband imaging, using Ha, OIII, and SII filters. His images have been published in both Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines, and featured on the popular Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) web site. Additionally, his imagery was included in Timothy Ferris’ PBS documentary Seeing in the Dark.

      His past speaking engagements have included such popular conferences as the Advanced Imaging Conference, the Midwest Astro-Imaging Conference, and the NorthEast Astro-Imaging Conference each an annual event oriented towards astrophotographers wanting to learn more about the techniques used for advanced image processing.

      Visit Neil's web site at FlemingAstrophotography
     
     
     
    Lisa Frattare
    Image Processor
    Hubble Heritage Team







    Workshop: Mining Images from the Hubble Legacy Archive

    A convergence of technologies now makes it more convenient to produce color photographs from Hubble Space Telescope data. The Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA) provides a navigation system into the extensive archive of Hubble data and the Adobe Photoshop plugin, FITS Liberator, provides the tools to transform files from the archive into color images. We will describe relevant features of Hubble's cameras and the resulting data that may be suitable for constructing color composite images, and take a tour of the Hubble Data Archive and the HLA interface to highlight the most useful capabilities for image processors. We will demonstrate FITS Liberator, using Photoshop to construct Hubble photos.

    General Conference Session: Visualizing Hubble Images in the Third Dimension

    The IMAX film Hubble 3D provides a front-row seat to the dramatic final Space Shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Exciting, in-your-face, as-it-happened footage from the mission is complemented by unprecedented views of astronomical landscapes in the spectacular format of the large IMAX screen in full stereo. The film helps us appreciate not only what it takes to keep Hubble at peak performance but also why we spend the effort to do so: unparalleled science observations and spectacular views of the universe. Of course, Hubble does not image in stereo, but through a few specialized techniques we can visualize a 3D landscape, much of it informed by detailed analysis of the Hubble data. Get an inside look at how these scenes were produced and rendered for the IMAX screen. We will discuss the different techniques we used to permit our audience to fly through the Orion Nebula, see Saturn suspended in the middle of the movie theater, be inside a globular cluster, and much more.



    Lisa Frattare is a native of Rochester, NY. She received her undergraduate degrees in Clinical Psychology (cum laude) at SUNY Oswego and Physics/Astronomy at Arizona State University. She earned an M.A. in Astronomy from Wesleyan University in 1996. She has been at STScI (research institute for the Hubble Space Telescope) since 1996, first as a data analyst and later as an image processor for the Hubble Heritage Team and the Office of Public Outreach News Team. She has been with the Heritage Project since a year before its public debut in 1998. Over the course of her tenure, the Heritage Project has produced nearly 150 image releases.

    Lisa loves telescope observing, whether with Hubble or ground-based telescopes. In addition to logging in approximately 300 hours at the Van Vleck Observatory 24-inch Perkin Reflector at Wesleyan University in CT, she has had the pleasure of using the Lowell Observatory 42-inch telescope in Flagstaff and the Kitt Peak 42-inch, 0.9m, and 0.6m Burrell Schmidt telescopes in Arizona; the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory 4m and 0.9 m telescopes in Chile; and the KECK II NIRSPEC in Waimea, HI. Lisa has also observed remotely with the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE).

    The Hubble Space Telescope has produced fantastic images for scientific discovery and public outreach. Lisa has facilitated observations for nearly 70 Hubble targets. She shares common goals with her STScI and Hubble Heritage families in a desire to make each new observation a rewarding experience for the public. Her imaging work from Hubble has been published in a myriad of books and magazines and has been used in the 2010 IMAX 3D movie, Hubble 3D.
     
     
     
    Doug George
    President, Diffraction Limited


    Using Maxim DL




    One of the most popular software applications used by astro-photographers in the production of images is MaxIm DL. Doug's workshop will focus on many of the most frequently used Maxim tools including:
    • Screen stretch, bit depth, file formats
    • Calibration including an explanation of calibration groups
    • Stacking including selection, quality check, alignment, stack, color combine
    • DDP, curves, color enhancement




    Doug George is a professional engineer with 24 years experience in the design of electronics, embedded systems, and application software. He is President of Diffraction Limited, which produces imaging products including MaxIm DL imaging software, MaxPoint telescope pointing software, the MaxDome observatory dome automation system, and the Boltwood Cloud Sensor.

    Doug's observing interests include astrophotography, occultations, and patrol programs. He co-discovered Comet Skorichenko-George visually, and has co-discovered 12 supernovae as part of the Pucket Supernova Search program.

    Doug is a Life Member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Past President of both the RASC nationally and the RASC Ottawa Centre. and a member of the Professional Engineers. His honors and awards include The 2001 Engineering Medal for Engineering Excellence from the Professional Engineers Ontario and he has been awarded the RASC Ken Chilton Prize on three separate occasions.
     
     
     
    Don Goldman
    Astrophotographer
    President, Astrodon Filters


    Processing Workflow and Image Enhancement for Vibrant Images




    This workshop will provide an overview of basic processing from calibration, registration, data rejection, and combining. Different images generally require different fixes and enhancements. The session will cover many of these using Photoshop, such as gradient removal, star elongation, color saturation, noise removal, contrast enhancement, star size reduction and localized sharpening.



    Don is the founder and president of Astrodon Filters and the founder and past president of Optical-Solutions, a designer- manufacturer of sold fiber-optic chemical analyzers for on-line, real-time chemical monitoring of manufacturing processes. Education

    He holds both a B.S. in geology and an MBA from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in analytical spectroscopy from CalTech.

    Don has been awarded 14 U.S. patents (including several that are classified), has published over 25 peer-reviewed papers regarding mineralogy and glass research ,is a regular speaker at popular national astronomy conferences, has published two articles in Sky and Telescope, received the 2009 Clyde Tombaugh award from Riverside Telescope Makers Conference and is a member of AAVSO and SAS.
     
     
     
    Tony Hallas
    Renowned Astrophotographer
    2009 Hubble Award Recipient


    Advanced Image Processing Techniques








    Tony's astrophotographic career can be summarized as a series of firsts. For example, starting out over 25 years ago, he was one of the first to produce film-emulsion images using an autoguider. Tony was also one of the first to champion the use of stacked astronomical images as a method that improved the final picture's signal to noise.

    Particularly during the early years of digital astrophotography, Tony's pictures were the reference to which digital imagers compared their images. Finally, to many in the community, Tony's images remain the first among equals in their aesthetic quality, composition and color! Tony's pictures have been published in countless magazines, television productions and books. He is a highly regarded speaker and the recipient of numerous, prestigious awards including the 2009 AIC Hubble Trophy.

    Visit Tony's web site
     
     
     
    Al Kelly
    Astrophotographer


    Obtaining G2V Star Color




    Al's presentation will discuss the necessity of obtaining accurate white balance, the significance of G2V star color in the reproduction of accurate hues, correcting for extinction and the importance of equalized non-linear stretching.



    Al is one of the most highly experienced astrophotographers in the community, producing astronomical images since the early 1960's using film emulsion technology.

    He began working with CCD's in the late 1980's with a Photometrics Star 1 camera. During the opening years of the next decade, Al turned to the SBIG ST4 and ST6 cameras.

    He built a Cookbook 245 camera in 1993 then pressed it into service until 2001 when he acquired a StarlightXpress SX MX916, which he uses to this day.

    Visit Al's web site at Al Kelly's CCD Astrophotography Page.
     
     
     
    Todd Klaus
    Lead Engineer
    Kepler Science Operations Center, NASA Ames


    From the Backyard to Space -
    Parallels Between the Kepler Mission and the Backyard Astrophotographer





    Recently launched in March 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope is on a mission to search for Earth-size exoplanets in the habitable zone of distant stars using the photometric transit method. Kepler contains the largest camera to ever fly in space, consisting of 42 CCDs for a total of nearly 95 megapixels!

    Despite the complexity of Kepler, there are many similarities between how Kepler collects and processes data and the work flow of the backyard astrophotographer.

    Todd will discuss how data are collected on board the spacecraft and how these data are processed on the ground, including pixel-level calibration and photometry and how these processes compare to ground-based imaging. He will also touch on the great science and unprecedented precision coming from the Kepler Mission.



    Todd Klaus is the lead engineer for the Kepler Science Operations Center at NASA Ames Research Center. Todd has been with the Kepler mission since 2005, where he designed the pipeline infrastructure software used for the ground processing of the Kepler data. When his two small children allow it, he also likes to spend time in his backyard observatory where he dabbles in photometry using an 12.5" RCOS and an SBIG ST-10XME.
     
     
     
    Zolt Levay
    Imaging Group Lead
    Space Telescope Science Institute







    Workshop: Mining Images from the Hubble Legacy Archive

    A convergence of technologies now makes it more convenient to produce color photographs from Hubble Space Telescope data. The Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA) provides a navigation system into the extensive archive of Hubble data and the Adobe Photoshop plugin, FITS Liberator, provides the tools to transform files from the archive into color images. We will describe relevant features of Hubble's cameras and the resulting data that may be suitable for constructing color composite images, and take a tour of the Hubble Data Archive and the HLA interface to highlight the most useful capabilities for image processors. We will demonstrate FITS Liberator, using Photoshop to construct Hubble photos.

    General Conference Session: Visualizing Hubble Images in the Third Dimension

    The IMAX film Hubble 3D provides a front-row seat to the dramatic final Space Shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Exciting, in-your-face, as-it-happened footage from the mission is complemented by unprecedented views of astronomical landscapes in the spectacular format of the large IMAX screen in full stereo. The film helps us appreciate not only what it takes to keep Hubble at peak performance but also why we spend the effort to do so: unparalleled science observations and spectacular views of the universe. Of course, Hubble does not image in stereo, but through a few specialized techniques we can visualize a 3D landscape, much of it informed by detailed analysis of the Hubble data. Get an inside look at how these scenes were produced and rendered for the IMAX screen. We will discuss the different techniques we used to permit our audience to fly through the Orion Nebula, see Saturn suspended in the middle of the movie theater, be inside a globular cluster, and much more.



    Zolt is Imaging Group Lead in the Office of Public Outreach at Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. Since 1993 he has primarily been responsible for producing publicly accessible images from Hubble Space Telescope data to illustrate Hubble’s science discoveries. He is a member of the Hubble Heritage Team, which strives to establish a repository of the visually finest Hubble imagery.

    Mr. Levay obtained a B.S. in astrophysics in 1975 from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana and M.S. in astronomy in 1978 from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He was employed by Computer Sciences Corp. as an analyst and programmer with various space science missions at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. He joined STScI in 1983 developing science analysis software, and joined the Office of Public Outreach in 1993 as an image-processing specialist.

    Mr. Levay was awarded an Excellence in Outreach award from Goddard Space Flight Center in 1999, a Space Telescope Science Institute Individual Achievement Award in November 1997, and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) 1997 Service Award.
     
     
     
    Brad Moore
    Managing Director
    Global Rent-A-Scope.


    Optimizing Your Imaging Train




    This workshop will present key practical ideas on pushing your hardware to obtain the best results. We'll look at how to optimize your mount,telescope optics and CCD; learn practical solutions that overcome common challenges and review real life case studies.

    We'll also discuss:
  • Optimizing PEC
  • Improving tracking & polar alignment
  • Troubleshooting common problems
  • Tpoint & Advanced Modelling
  • Understanding light reflections and how to deal with them
  • Understanding your optics and collimation
  • How to fault-find and measure results
  • How optimize your observatory to minimize local seeing
  • Matching the CCD to your telescope
  • Improving your auto-guiding
  • How to use software tools that measure and help you improve your system
  • Understanding the basics of noise and how to minimize it




  • Brad Moore is Managing Director of Global Rent-a-Scope, a world leading company in online telescope rentals. Since being appointed to the position in 2006, Brad has brought a wealth of business experience and technical expertise to the company. He has been instrumental in pioneering remote CCD imaging over the Internet, and has delivered 28,500 imaging hours to over 3000 people, in 78 countries.

    As the owner of Southern-Astro Hosting, Brad is also responsible for establishing Australia largest telescope hosting facility. Southern-Astro now has over 22 active systems under his direct management.

    Brad is practical and results driven in his management style and is directly involved in the everyday operations and system development of both Global Rent-a-Scope and Southern Astro. He is also an avid Astro-photographer and has produced award-winning images of the southern hemisphere. His work has featured on NASA's APOD, books, magazine covers and on the Hubble web site.

    Prior to joining Global Rent-a-Scope, Brad worked in the IT&T industry and was the State Manager for one of Australia leading business Telco and Internet services providers. He has a strong background in software, Internet communications, programming and computing.

    Brad lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and their two young children. When Brad isn't working, he enjoys flying light aircraft and spending time with his young family.
     
     
     
    Stan Moore
    Principal Developer
    CCDStack


    Unleashing CCDStack2




    CCDStack is a software tool that allows the user to visualize and control sophisticated processing of Deep Space images. This workshops will explore astronomical digital image processing topics from a theoretical perspective with practical demonstrations using CCDStack2. Topics include:
    • Slope and Intercept: the dynamics of flat fielding, normalization, and color correction.
    • Signal To Noise: basic theory of pixel and object S/N.
    • Stack size: acquisition practices; operational considerations; appropriate registration, data rejection and combine methods.
    • Deconvolution and image sharpening.
    Additionally there will be an open question and answer period.



    Stan Moore is a professional programmer and long time astro-imager. His interest and investigations into the mathematics of astronomical signal processing combined with insight from statistical analysis programming inspired the creation of CCDStack. The growing community of users and the increasing sophistication of that community continue to drive the evolution of the software.
     
     
     
    Kevin Nelson
    Founder
    Quantum Scientific Imaging, Inc.


    The Frequency Domain and Future of CCD Technology for Astrophotography




    Fourier Transforms form the basis of digital signal processing, and provide a unique and powerful method of analyzing 2D images. Fourier Transforms (FFTs) convert an image from the spatial domain, rows and columns in a digital picture, into its "Frequency Domain," which represents the original image using a grid of sine waves of varying frequency and amplitude. Understanding Fourier Transforms will enhance your processing skills by giving you a richer understanding of what's going on "under the hood" and potentially open up new tools and techniques you can use in processing your astronomical images.

    Kevin will also discuss what can be expected in the future with digital image sensors for scientific cameras.



    Kevin Nelson is co-founder of Quantum Scientific Imaging, a manufacturer of cooled CCD cameras designed by and for astrophotographers. Kevin is an avid sailor and history buff whose interest in stargazing began with studying the Age of Exploration and celestial navigation, and was reignited by the power of modern CCD cameras. Today, Kevin shares the joys and challenges of imaging the night sky from his backyard with his two sons.
     
     
     
    Martin Pugh
    Astrophotographer


    High Resolution Imaging




    Martin will discuss key procedural aspects in data acquisition such as the mount, scope and camera. This will be followed by a discussion on the checks and balances necessary at every stage of image preparation.

    The talk will also present a brief overview of tools, guiding and dithering, image alignment and image combining.

    Martin will also offer some solutions to common irritations experienced by all astrophotographers at one time or another such as image artifacts, preparation of the master luminance channel, blending narrowband data with LRGB exposures, fixing light pollution nasties, correcting for red star halos, using the Photoshop minimum filter and correcting the artifacts it creates and giving images impact without introducing or exaggerating noise.



    At 16 years of age, Martin Pugh left his home town of Dudley in the West Midlands (UK) to join the Royal Navy as a Junior Radio Operator. While he spent many nights staring into pitch-black mid-ocean skies using a pair of binoculars, his Naval career simply did not allow for any further pursuit in astronomy. For 20 years, he moved between ships and establishments and in the late 90’s, together with the overwhelming appearance of Comet Hale Bopp in 1997, he became increasingly interested in the idea of observing and imaging. Then in 1999, he spent his first evening looking through a dusty old 3-inch refractor recovered from his brother-in-law’s loft, and instantly became fixated with the idea of owning his own telescope, with the possible addition of a CCD camera.

    In Dec 1999, he was appointed to a NATO position in central Belgium where the consistently poor air quality frustrated him as he attempted to take images with a modest 8-inch telescope and small digital camera. In 2002, he moved to light polluted Lisbon, upgraded his equipment and concentrated on planetary-lunar imaging for the next two years. A navel career leads to a semi-nomadic lifestyle, so by 2005 Martin found himself in Australia under dark skies that enabled him to begin producing deep astrophotographic images from his backyard observatory.

    His most recent move brought him to Omaha where he anticipates to live until 2012 then hopefully return to Australia.

    Martin has racked up a prodigeous number of noteworthy achievements including ten APOD's, the 2008 David Malin Award, a three stamp collectors set from the Australian Post Office and the Royal Greenwich Observatory's Astronomy Photographer of the Year for 2009.

    Visit Martin's web site: Astrophotography by Martin Pugh
     
     
     
    John Smith
    Founder
    CCDWare, Ltd.


    Image Planning and Automation using CCDNavigator and CCDAutopilot




    The sky is crystal clear and the Sun is setting. But when darkness falls, imagers everywhere are in a race against time! Because clear skies are precious, we don't want to waste a second. And even on a mediocre night, we still want rapid and precise acquisition. In this talk, John Smith and Steve Walters, authors of CCDAutopilot and CCDNavigator, will discuss and demonstrate your best weapons in the race against time, complete planning and automated execution.



    Born in Philadelphia, John Smith spent most of his career in the northeastern US. With degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering, John worked in many aspects of science and technology, eventually ending as a senior executive in a high technology company. Moving to a comfortable Arizona retirement, his time soon became filled with hobbies like astronomy, computers and photography. So, becoming involved in astrophotography became somewhat inevitable.

    John has published many papers on his web site, Hiddenloft.com, regarding image acquisition and noise considerations. Many of his images have been reproduced in both US and international publications. He consults on observatory design and has installed more than twenty systems throughout the United States for both private and academic customers.

    John is the co-founder of CCDWare and author of CCDAuto Pilot.
     
     
     
    Steve Walters
    Author
    CCDNavigator


    Image Planning and Automation using CCDNavigator and CCDAutopilot




    The sky is crystal clear and the Sun is setting. But when darkness falls, imagers everywhere are in a race against time! Because clear skies are precious, we don't want to waste a second. And even on a mediocre night, we still want rapid and precise acquisition. In this talk, John Smith and Steve Walters, authors of CCDAutopilot and CCDNavigator, will discuss and demonstrate your best weapons in the race against time, complete planning and automated execution.



    Steve Walters, author of CCDNavigator, has been imaging the night sky since 1980. He concluded a successful career in telecommunications research during 2002 and has devoted his time and technical abilities to astronomical imaging ever since. Steve’s images have appeared in Astronomy magazine, Keystone Outdoors magazine, Anacortes Image of the Day and various web portals. He is a member of the Cherry Springs State Park (CSSP) Dark Sky Advisory Committee and can normally be found at CSSP during new Moon. He currently operates three systems: a 14-inch Meade SCT housed in a dome used for visual observing, an Epsilon 180 wide-field astrograph with an STL11000 camera and Astro Physics 1200 mount, and a 16-inch RCOS Ritchey-Chretien with an STL6303E plus Adaptive Optics (AO-L) on a Paramount ME. The 16-inch system is housed in an Astrohaven 12’ clamshell and can be operated remotely through the Internet. Steve taught Astronomy at Brookdale Community College in NJ.

    Steve is the author of , a session planning tool for imagers, which is marketed by CCDWare. He represents CCDWare software products at the Advanced Imaging Conference in San Jose CA, the North East Astronomical Imaging Conference (NEAIC) and the North East Astronomy Forum (NEAF). He has given many presentations on session planning for imagers and CCDNavigator at astronomy clubs and other events across the United States including the 2009 ALCON Convention.

    Steve holds PhD, MSEE and BEE degrees in Electrical Engineering and worked for Bell Labs and Telcordia for 25 years as a researcher and manager. He was named a Telcordia Fellow in 1993 and was also elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He has published numerous technical papers, holds eleven patents and has received many awards for technical innovation and leadership. His book, The New Telephony, chronicles the impact of the Internet on telecommunications. Since retirement in 2002, Steve works occasionally as an expert witness in telecom patent litigations. Before attending college, he served for six years in the United States Air Force, received the Air Force Commendation Medal and is a Vietnam Veteran.