AIC 2013 Speakers and Workshop Leaders

  • Rogelio Bernal Andreo
  • Frank Barnes
  • Adam Block
  • Jerry Bonnell
  • Evert Cooper
  • Carter Emmart
  • Alex Filippenko
  • Neil Fleming
  • Rob Gendler
  • Tony Hallas
  • Warren Keller
  • David Malin
  • Stan Moore
  • Robert Naeye
  • Robert Nemiroff
  • Giovanni Paglioli
  • Mike Rice
  • Ron Wodaski
    Rogelio Bernal Andreo

    PixInsight, up close and personal

    In this workshop Rogelio will show and demonstrate several advanced techniques,tips and methods to enhance your astronomical images using PixInsight.

    While some familiarity with the software will make it easier to follow along, and the techniques covered can be considered "advanced" (some may even surprise experienced users), you don't need to be a PixInsight power user to follow along.

    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
    Frank Barnes

    Imaging Efficiencies - Getting the most out of each night

    This workshop will discuss methods and processes that maximize imaging efficiencies. Squeeze the maximum data out of your dark time and get a good night's sleep to boot. From the initial planning stage to closing up the next morning requires coordinated execution of many components. Software tools, hardware, tuning, and much more will be covered.

    Frank has a BSEE from USC and designs and writes Communication/Utility Management software. He and a partner own Carolina Technology Associates, LLC in Rock Hill, SC which has customers throughout the Southeast and Northeast United States.

    Frank operates observatories in Rock Hill, SC - Twinoaks Observatory, and in California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Sierra-Remote Observatories - Blue Sky Observatory. If the weather is clear in both locations, he will be running 3 robotic systems on any given night, all controlled from dusk to dawn by automation software. Frank has been imaging with various equipment since 1999.
    Adam Block

    Public Observing Programs Coordinator- Mt Lemmon SkyCenter,

    Advanced Photoshop Processing Techniques

    Adam will demonstrate several tools and clever techniques that solve specific situations encountered by most astrophotograhers during processing. For example, he will describe how to blend two color layers into a luminance layer and achieve a visually stunning result.. Adam will also discuss his use of brightness threshold object masks and hydrogen alpha image blending..

    Adam operates the public astronomy programs at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter. Located north of Tucson, this new science facility hosts one of the world's largest astronomical instruments dedicated to public use, the 32-inch Schulman telescope.

    Considered by many to be one of the World's best astrophotographers, Adam's photographic accomplishments are considerable. For example, his images have appeared in hundreds of books and magazines. They have been referenced by professional astronomers working at universities and leading research institutions including the Space Telescope Science Institute, ESO, and Calar Alto Observatory. Over fifty of Adam's pictures have been showcased by the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) web site and his images have also been used to decorate underpasses and signs for city improvements in his native city of Tucson.

    Click here to see Adam's gallery of SkyCenter images.
    Dr Jerry Bonnell

    Editor- Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)
    2013 AIC Hubble Award Co-Recipient

    The Hubble Lecture: A Brief History of APOD

    Dr. Jerry Bonnell joined NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 1988 and enjoyed working on the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) and International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) projects. Since 1992 he has been a member of the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO) Science Support Center (SSC) staff in the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics (LHEA). His research efforts have involved multi-wavelength studies of gamma-ray selected blazars and studies of the time histories and spectral evolution of cosmic gamma-ray bursts.

    Dr. Bonnell is also one of the editors of the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website.
    Evert Cooper


    Seeing Atmospheric Turbulence

    Astrophotographers go to great lengths to minimize image degradation from atmospheric turbulence by operating remote observatories on high mountain tops. Wouldn’t it be nice if such measures were unnecessary with the use of an adaptive optics system.

    Atmospheric star jitter, which is the x,y movement of a star image upon an imaging focal plane, results from optical turbulence in the atmosphere. The effects of atmospheric turbulence are not only a function of the turbulence strength, but air velocity, optical wavelength and the telescope’s aperture as well. To design a cost constrained tip/tilt adaptive optics system or to compensate for observatory seeing, the effects of atmospheric turbulence must be well understood. This discussion presents measurements of atmospheric jitter and wavefront tilt.

    Evert was born in Chicago, Ill and raised in the Southern California town of Riverside. He is an electrical engineer with a Ph.D in control systems from Santa Clara University. He was introduced to adaptive optics while working for Lockheed on the AirBorne Laser (ABL) system, which used an adaptively compensated high intensity laser beam to shoot down targets.

    Evert has held a life long interest in astronomy from a young age, but starting a career and raising a family relegated it to a back burner position. It wasn’t until his loving wife put a modest telescope under the Christmas tree that his interest in astronomy was kindled beyond lying on the driveway and looking up at the stars. Then in 1996, a job in Oklahoma City gave opportunity to meet Dobsonian telescope maker, Pete Kron, at an Oklahoma City Astronomy Club sponsored star party. Pete made him a 16-inch Dob in 1998 and opened the skies to its astronomical wonders. Many happy nights were spent under the Oklahoma skies. An observatory was constructed in 2003 in Morgan Hill, and a SBIG ST-8xme was bought in 2004. The first Advanced Imaging Conference was attended in 2007 and a better telescope, an RC-20, was installed in 2008. Unhappy with the poor seeing imposed upon the new telescope’s performance, characterization of atmospheric turbulence began in 2009.
    Carter Emmart

    Director of Astrovisualization: American Museum of Natural History

    The Digital Universe is a collection of astronomical catalogs with distance information which allows exploration of the layout of the universe, seamlessly integrated with a dynamical solar system and globe browsing capabilities. Carter Emmart was part of the original team that put together this atlas and directed its visualization abilities for interactive presentation. Join Carter on a tour through the atlas starting off from earth as seen today, on out to the Cosmic Background Radiation through latest survey data across all scales in between. The emphasis of the atlas is to make our three dimensional understanding of the cosmos commonplace to humanity, through planetarium as well as flat screen presentations. Networking of multiple sites for simultaneous presentation and interaction has also been developed, enabling global event sharing to help citizens of earth see themselves as fellow travelers in the context of the known universe.

    Carter will also show several examples from Hayden Planetarium space show productions to share the process of how certain objects have been visualized three dimensionally from careful study and guidance by astrophysics.

    As the Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Carter Emmart oversees their groundbreaking space shows and heads up development of an interactive 3D atlas called The Digital Universe. He coordinates scientists, programmers and artists to produce scientifically accurate yet visually stunning and immersive space experiences in the AMNH’s Hayden Planetarium. Over the last decade, he has directed four shows: Passport to the Universe, The Search for Life: Are we Alone?, Cosmic Collisions and Journey to the Stars.

    Emmart’s interest in space began early, and at ten he was taking astronomy courses in the old Hayden. As a child born into a family of artists, he naturally combined his love of science with his tendency for visualization. His first work was in architectural modeling, soon moving on to do scientific visualization for NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, before joining the AMNH.
    Dr. Alex Filippenko
    Professor of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley

    Get Ready for Comet ISON!

    If it lives up to expectations, Comet ISON (more formally, C/2012 S1) may become the most spectacular comet to be seen from northern hemisphere skies since Come Hale-Bopp in 1997. I will describe comets and their importance, as well as when and how to observe/image this particular comet and what we might expect to see. Comet ISON provides us with a great opportunity to stimulate public interest in astronomy, especially among young people.

    Alex Filippenko, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers. He is the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research, and he was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe. This discovery was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams' leaders. Winner of the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and voted the Best Professor on campus a record 9 times, he was named the National Professor of the Year in 2006. He has produced 5 astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in about 100 TV documentaries. He received the 2004 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.
    Neil Fleming


    Processing Narrow Band Images

    Neil will do a presentation on current image processing techniques, especially as they relate to narrow-band imaging. Software covered will include CCDStack, Photoshop, and Pix Insight. Best practices that will be covered include; initial image processing, deconvolution, color combine options, gradient control, contrast optimization, and other finishing options.

    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 narrow-band imaging, utilizing 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 (San Jose, CA), 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.
    Dr. Rob Gendler

    2007 AIC Hubble Award Recipient

    The Best of all Worlds: Creating Unique Astronomical Images from Professional and Amateur Data Sources

    Rob's talk will begin with an introduction to the Hubble Legacy Archive. The focus will be on navigating the archive, choosing appropriate data sets, and finally techniques and strategies of assembling images from Hubble Data. Next the talk will move on to the construction of unique hybrid images assembled from a variety of professional and amateur data sources including the Hubble Space Telescope, large ground based systems like Japan’s 8.2 meter Subaru Telescope, and data from smaller amateur systems. The purpose of the talk is to introduce a fun and rewarding way of producing stunning and original images using Hubble data by itself or by combining it with other data sources in a hybrid image.

    Robert Gendler is a physician who began doing CCD astrophotography in the early 1990's. He spent his first decade imaging from his home using a portable setup. With advances in internet accessibility and worsening light pollution at home he began imaging remotely in 2005 from observatories in the southwest USA and later in Australia. Robert now spends much of his time mining professional astronomical archives and assembling unique composite images from a wide variety of data sources including the Hubble Space Telescope, Japan's 8.2 meter Subaru Telescope and various ground based professional and amateur systems.

    Robert has published Four books on astrophotography including "A Year in the Life of the Universe" (Voyageur Press 2006), "Capturing the Stars; Astrophotography by the Masters" (Voyageur Press 2009), "Treasures of the Southern Sky" (Springer 2011) and most recently "Lessons from the Masters: Current Concepts in Astronomical Image Processing" (Springer 2013).

    In 2008, he was featured in the PBS documentary "Seeing in the Dark" by Timothy Ferris. Robert's images have been featured in two national stamp series (United Kingdom 2007, Germany 2011). In 2007 he was the recipient of the "Hubble Award" at AIC. Robert's images have been featured by "Astronomy Picture of the Day" 92 times as of July 2013. Robert's work has earned him international recognition and in February 2013 the Hubble Heritage team released a multi-panel mosaic of M106 which Robert assembled for them as a special collaboration between professional and amateur astronomers
    Tony Hallas
    Renowned Astrophotographer
    2009 Hubble Award Recipient

    Going Deep with DSLR Cameras

    Tony's will discuss the unique challenges of using a DSLR camera for deep space imaging and the solutions that will help you overcome them. He will demonstrate how to process Camera RAW data without the need for shooting darks and flats and compare DSLR cameras to the CCD instruments we use...Tony will also demonstrate how to automate a great portion of DSLR processing so that large numbers of frames can be captured and combined to produce images with an excellent signal to noise ratio.

    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 auto-guider. 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
    Warren Keller

    Processing Instructor

    The ABCs of Image Processing & An Introduction to PixInsight

    ABCs of Image Processing: Warren presents an easy and fun quick-start to producing lovely images with little effort. User-friendly software is used to demonstrate what is possible for the newer imager. A few intermediate concepts will also be touched upon.

    An Introduction to PixInsight: Chuck Yeager said it, and another West Virginian applies it to the perceived differences between PixInsight and Photoshop. Warren sets the record straight, demonstrating that these are both merely tools which an artist can employ to achieve whatever result their mind's eye envisions. The basics of both pre and postprocessing are covered.

    Warren teaches astrophotographic processing via tutorials- a SKY & Telescope ‘Hot Product’. His images and articles have been published in Sky & Telescope and Astronomy Magazines, as well as many places on the Web including NASA’s APOD and Universe Today. Three of his large format prints were chosen for 2012's prestigious Starstruck: The Fine Art of Astrophotography exhibit at Maine's Bates College. He is currently writing a book for Springer Press, and producing Part-2 of a PixInsight tutorial series. He was the North American representative for Atik CCD Cameras in 2009, and is a consultant to MSB-Astroart, and Celestron where he co-designed AstroFX software for the Nightscape camera.
    Dr. David Malin

    2006 AIC Hubble Award Recipient

    Colors of the Night Sky

    It is nowadays difficult to find a natural night sky, unpolluted by light or other human-made emissions, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. While the natural night sky is never truly dark, astronomers have long known that its brightness and color varies with time, often quite quickly and for no apparent reason. Now, modern digital cameras can capture these subtle changes in full color, and they are seen to exhibit a surprising range of hues and structures.

    In this talk David will describe the origins and illustrate the effects of some of these phenomena and show how even a small amount of natural light can affect our night-time view of the universe.

    Until July 2001, David Malin was a photographic scientist-astronomer with the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO) and remains Adjunct Professor of Scientific Photography with the Department of Applied Physics at RMIT University, Melbourne.

    Currently, David manages his own business which offers an upgraded, enlarged and outsourced collection of images he produced at the AAO.

    He developed a ground-breaking method of extracting more information from photographs early in his tenure at the observatory that led to many discoveries and advanced the science of photography. His techniques are now widely used by both professional and amateur astronomers.

    Visit David's web site:
    Stan Moore
    Principal Developer- CCDStack

    An Informal Information Theory Approach to Astronomical Imaging

    Astronomical images convey information about distant objects. Superior information and appropriate treatment of that information results in truer and more interesting images. This presentation applies informal information theory to image acquisition and processing. We explore concepts and basic mathematical representations of signal, noise, resolution, sampling/resampling, selection/rejection, combining, and transformations. These concepts encompass nearly all of image processing (e.g. calibration is a type of combine and deconvolution is a type of transformation).

    Rather than supplying recipes and lists of instructions, this presentation provides an opportunity for a deeper understanding of processing dynamics. Examples are illustrated with CCDStack although the theory applies to all processing applications. Prior use or knowledge of CCDStack is not necessary.
    Stan Moore created and continues to support and develop CCDStack, software dedicated to the construction of deep space astronomical images. Stan has been a lifelong amateur astronomer. He was an early adopter of CCD imaging and is currently pioneering deep space imaging with high speed intensified cameras. His education and background in math and physics drives his investigations and understanding of astronomical imaging. His professional work involves computer programming for statistical analysis of large data bases. The union of these interests and expertise produced CCDStack.
    Robert Naeye

    Editor in Chief: Sky & Telescope magazine

    Sky & Telescope editor in chief Robert Naeye gives his perspective on the impressive current state of amateur astrophotography, it’s essential role in the overall hobby of amateur astronomy, and its wonderful application as a tool for cutting-edge scientific research. He will also reaffirm S&T’s long-standing commitment to cover astrophotography at a serious level, to represent the field accurately by showcasing the work of our many outstanding contributors, and to continue publishing articles that provide practical advice for astrophotographers at all levels.

    Robert Naeye is Editor in Chief of Sky & Telescope, the world’s most respected and influential popular astronomy magazine. Robert earned a master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University in 1992, and later worked on the editorial staffs of Discover and Astronomy magazine. He served as Editor in Chief of Mercury magazine (published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific) from 2000 to 2003. He worked as a Senior Editor at Sky & Telescope from 2003 to 2007, before moving to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to work as a Senior Science Writer for the Astrophysics Science Division. He returned to Sky & Telescope in June 2008 to serve as Editor in Chief.

    Robert is the author of two books: Through the Eyes of Hubble: The Birth, Life, and Violent Death of Stars (Kalmbach, 1997) and Signals from Space: The Chandra X-ray Observatory (Turnstone, 2000). He has contributed to two other books, and has won several awards for his writing and outreach activities. He owns 5 telescopes and more eyepieces than he can count.
    Dr. Robert Nemiroff

    Editor- Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)
    2013 AIC Hubble Award Co-Recipient

    The Hubble Lecture: A Brief History of APOD

    Dr. Robert Nemiroff obtained a Ph D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. He worked as a postdoc at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA before becoming a Professor of Physics at Michigan Technological University, USA.

    He is perhaps best known scientifically for papers predicting, usually among others, several recovered microlensing phenomena, and papers showing, usually among others, that gamma-ray bursts were consistent with occurring at cosmological distances. He led a group that developed and deployed the first online fisheye night sky monitor, deploying later models to most major astronomical observatories. He co-created the Astrophysics Source Code Library ( open repository.

    In terms of science writing, he is perhaps best known as a co-creator and editor of the Astronomy Picture of the Day ( website. His current research interests include trying to limit attributes of our universe with distant gamma-ray bursts, and trying to develop a sky monitoring smartphone application.
    Giovanni Paglioli


    Mike Rice
    Founder, Proprietor- New Mexico Skies

    Improving your optical acuity

    Thjs work shop will focus on getting the best out of your optics. Topics will include collimation, star testing, dealing with optical problems like astigmatism and curvature of field. Mike will also discuss the need to match your camera with your telescope optics, chip size considerations and all things optical about imaging telescopes. Along the way, he'll put to rest a few old wive's tales and bust a few myths.

    Mikes first telescope, circa 1953, was a homebuilt 6" Newt on a plumbing GEM. He claims it was the last mirror he would ever grind.

    His first serious astro image was Comet West, in 1976, produced on film emulsion through a homebuilt telescope

    Mike's first serious CCD imaging in the early 1990s, using a home made cameras, includined three variations of Richard Berry's Cookbook Camera.

    His first remote observatory, in 1993, was located at Susitna Lake Alaska, about 60 miles from power and telephone lines...It was controled by Ham Radio over the highest mountains in North America. During this time, he conducted extensive testing on Bisque GT1100 Paramount serial No. 1 This venture gave him a real appreciation for the challenges of remote imaging in the remote tundra of Alaska.

    Mike and his wife, Lynn, established New Mexico Skies Guest Observatory in 1998 in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico. It started as a "guest" observatory where visitors could use state of the art astro equipment with instructional help. Their business model has changed over the years. Now the primary focus is on hosting remote observatories in the wonderfully dark and clear skies of Southern New Mexico. New Mexico Skies has become a fabulous laboratory for developing "best practices" in the design, construction, maintenance and use of remote observatories. In 2007 opened Fair Dinkum Skies observatory in Australia to host lower hemisphere remote observatories.

    New Mexiso Skies (and Fair Dinkum SKies) hosted observatories have collected more then 80 APODs, discovered thousands of minor planets, discovered comets (including this years Comet Elenin), Super Novas and most recently exo-planets. Their users include Cal Tech, NASA, Rob Gendler, SSRO and other world class imagers. New Mexico Skies has more than 40 observatories under host management and a staff of 5 full-time techs.

    If there is a maintenance problem or operating challenge for small telescopes (under 1 meter) that Mike and his team haven't seen and cured, it would be a major surprise.
    Ron Wodaski
    Director- Tzec Maun Foundation Observatories
    2011 AIC Hubble Award Recipient

    The New Wave in Amateur Astrophotography

    Professional astronomy always gets the cool tools first, but they do eventually trickle down to the amateur community. What was once custom, is now available off the shelf. We'll look at the latest semi-affordable technology available, including advanced cameras, mount technology, processing tools, research opportunities, and more. As always, I will give you plenty of specifics, including how and why this stuff is better, where to get it, and how to use it effectively. Included: ultra-low-noise cameras, EMCCD cameras, advanced tip/tilt, seeing control (yes, you can!), true adaptive optics (early days, but...every interesting stuff), guiding and tracking technology, and more.

    Ron Wodaski is the author of The New CCD Astronomy and other books about CCD Imaging. Many consider Ron to be the father of modern CCD astrophotography! His original book and its subsequent sequel convinced hundreds, if not thousands, of amateurs to begin producing astronomical images. He currently is director of the Tzec Maun Foundation’s Observatories. The Foundation provides free access to telescopes via the Internet to students and researchers. See for more information