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Scintillion Volume 10, Number 3
The Advanced Imaging Conference is a non-profit organization managed by an all-volunteer, non-compensated board of astrophotography enthusiasts. Subscribe
Quick links: In this issue:
  • Special Registration Deal... more
  • AIC Hotel Discount... more
  • Door Prizes(!)... more
  • Daniel Verschatse... more
  • Future AIC Calendar... more
  • Hubble Award... more

  • AIC 2017 Agenda... more
  • AIC 2017 Tracks... more
  • Become a Stargazer... more
  • Addicted to the Night... more
  • 2017 Registration... more
  • Spouse Tour... more
The AIC Board of Directors
R. Jay GaBany
Ken Crawford
Frank Barnes III
Warren Keller
Keith Allred
Bob Fera
Chris Murray
Rob Chapman
Jim Goodenough
Discounted Hotel Rooms Are Almost Gone - Register Now!
PLUS Enter coupon code "interceptor497" and save $25 off AIC 2017 registration!
AIC 2017 Sponsors
Sky & Telescope
Astronomy Magazine
AstroPhysics
Celestron
DC3 Dreams
PlaneWave
SBIG
Sierra Remote Observatories
Software Bisque
Stellarvue
Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope

AIC 2017 Vendors
Adobe
Ag Optical
AstroHutech
Astrometric Instruments
Atik Cameras
Canon
CCDWare
Dark Sky Observatory
Finger Lakes Instrumentation
Hercules Telescopes
HOTECH
Innovations Foresight
OPT
Mathis Instruments
Meade Instruments
Optec, Inc.
Precise Parts
Sky-Watcher USA
Starlight Xpress
Takahashi America
ZWO Astronomy Cameras


Roll back the AIC 2017 Price Increase!

General registration is now $349.00. Our summer early registration price promotion ended on Aug 1.

Roll Back Coupon
But, you can roll back the price increase with our special discount coupon - just for AIC Scintillion subscribers!

Just enter the special coupon code "interceptor497" during checkout when you register online and instantly save $25.00!

But hurry, this offer ends September 5 (the day after Labor Day). So, submit your registration now and save some cash!

So, if you have not already planned to attend, now is the best time to submit your registration and save some cash!



Less than 60 AIC 2015 Discounted Hotel Rooms Remain
Stay at the Hilton San Jose Convention Center for only $139 per night. The AIC conference rate ends September 8 (or while rooms remain), so Book Now!

Although there are a large number of great hotels conveniently located near the convention center, AIC has made arrangements to offer a limited number of overnight accommodations during the conference at the Hilton San Jose Hotel for the special AIC conference rate of only $139 per night during the meeting. (Regular rates for this hotel during this period can run over $300.)

This special rate includes free in-room high-speed WiFi and a discounted self-parking rate of only $15 per night. (Non-discounted self-parking rate is $24 per night)

About the Hilton San Jose Hotel

The Hilton San Jose is attached to the Convention Center where AIC 2017 is being held. So, access to the conference is only a few steps from your room.

Hilton San Jose
In between AIC sessions, you can comfortably unwind in your stylishly decorated guest room. Work in comfort at the smart desk with an ergonomic chair, surf the web with high-speed internet access or watch a movie on the 32-inch TV.

Enjoy European-inspired cuisine with French influences at the Hilton's Affinity Restaurant. Dine on regional favorites and chef's specials made with the freshest ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy distinctive table service in the dining room or experience alfresco eating in the beautiful patio. The Affinity Lounge provides a laid-back setting to enjoy drinks or host an informal meeting. Watch a game on the 37-inch HDTV screens or unwind under the California sky at the outdoor patio lounge.

Work out in the hotel fitness center offering a range of cardiovascular equipment and free weights or swim laps in the heated outdoor pool.


Bookings must be completed by September 8, 2017 or before the AIC discount room block sells out, whichever comes first. This discount is limited to only Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, September 28, 29 and 30. Other nights before or after these dates will be subject to the hotel's regular room rates.

Check-in begins at 3PM, Thursday, September 28. Check-out should be completed by 12:00 noon on Sunday, October 1.

Book Now! Rooms at this special rate are limited!



You can Win a Fabulous Prize at AIC 2017 just by walking through the Door!

One of the most anticipated events at any Advanced Imaging Conference is the Door Prize drawing at the meeting's closing event and AIC 2017 will not be an exception! The AIC Door Prize drawing is made possible by the overwhelming generosity of the Sponsors and Vendors exhibiting at the meeting.

Most prizes are worth your AIC registration! Many are more valuable than your entire trip!

This year, AIC Exhibitors are donating everything except the door! Below is a partial list of the valuable prizes you may win just by being an AIC attendee. The drawing will occur, Sunday, October 1 at 10:30AM- 11:00AM.

AIC 2017 DOOR PRIZES (partial listing)
ExhibitorDoor PrizeValue
AstrophysicsCCD Telecompressor$165
Atik CamerasAtik GP Color$445
Adobe1 year subs. to Adobe Creative Cloud$600
CCDWareSeperate licenses for each product$925
DC-3 DreamsACP Personal Expert License$1,495
Diffraction Limited/SBIGMaxim DSLR$399
Meade Instruments Corp.Meade Coronado P.S.T$699
Observatory Operators, LLCPlaneWave CDK 17" - two imaging sessions$1,000
OPT6" TPO RC Telescope$399
Optec Inc.Pyxis LE$695
Precise PartsDiscount Vouncher$100
Sky-Watcher USAComplete Star Adventures Kit$440
Software BisqueSkyX Professsional$329
Starlight Express Ltd.Lodestar X2$650
StellarvueF50G guidescope with Vixen or Losmandy rings$258
Woodland Hills Camera and Telescope$150 gift certificate$150




Daniel Verschatse- Master Astrophotographer

The global astrophotography community lost one of its most luminous stars when Daniel Verschatse, one of the great masters of southern sky imaging, succumbed to illness last month.

Daniel Verschatse
Born and raised in Flanders, Belgium, Daniel was fascinated with the night sky from the age of 10. After building several homemade simple telescopes, he purchased an equatorial 4-inch Unitron refractor that enabled him to begin taking his first exposures. His efforts were eventually rewarded with the publication of his 1968 Mercury solar transit photograph in Sky & Telescope.

Daniel's career as a radio frequency engineer took him to many countries and consumed his time until the early nineties when his love for astronomy revived. In 1999, Daniel's work led him to Chile where its dark clear skies inspired him to build his own permanent observatory in 2001.

Some of the most magnificent pictures of seldom seen southern sky objects soon resulted. Over the course of time, 11 of Daniel's images appeared on the APOD web site including a jaw-dropping view of the Horsehead Nebula and the delicate spirals of NGC 6744.

Daniel attended several AICs and spoke at AIC 2007 about his observatory, image acquisition and post-acquisition processing methods. His presentation is accessible from the AIC Digital Library.

Daniel's amazing gallery of images is still available on his web site. We strongly encourage you visit this remarkable treasury of well over 100 pictures! A few moments spent here will reward you with some familiar subjects and many more that will be new to your eyes. Included are dozens of reference quality pictures that have stood and will continue to stand the test of time. These iconic images give testimony to the love he had for the heavens and inspire you to produce higher quality images, yourself!

The likes and accomplishments of Daniel will seldom be equaled! This is what astrophotography is about!



AIC Board Announces Future Conference Calendar

The Advanced Imaging Conference Board of Directors have announced their decision to permanently change the frequency of Advanced Imaging Conferences from annual to biennial meetings. As a result, after the 2017 gathering, the next AIC will take place during the fall of 2019.

Established in 2004, the Advanced Imaging Conference, Inc is a non-profit California organization operated by a team of astrophotography enthusiasts. The all-volunteer, non-compensated Board of Directors is also assisted by a talented staff that helps make each conference possible. AIC's intent is to nurture, gather and disseminate information about the production of high-quality astrophotographic images; to enlarge the size of the global astrophotography community; improve the ability for astrophotographers to make scientific contributions and increase the general public's awareness and appreciation of non-professionally produced astrophotographic pictures.

The first 10 years of the conference's history, from 2004- 2013, was marked by annual meetings held at various hotel venues in San Jose, California. The 11th AIC was postponed until 2015 so the board could expand its membership, the scope of the meetings could be enlarged and an upgraded venue could be selected.

This year's 12th AIC was delayed by an extra year, until 2017, due to challenges securing a fall 2016 date at the highly rated 2015 conference venue.

AIC had a modest beginning. The first conference was underwritten by three iconic exhibitors (RC Optical Systems- subsequently acquired by Deep Sky Instruments, SBIG and SoftwareBisque) and attended by only 75 people. Each year the size of the meeting grew. By 2015, over 430 people came to the meeting!

Over the years, as the number conferees swelled, the amount of effort required to organize, promote and manage each conference also grew larger and more complex. This burden was shouldered by the organization's board, most of whom also maintain a full-time career outside astronomy.

The experience of operating AIC 2015 caused the conference's management to recognize that one year was an insufficient amount of time to plan the next conference while maintaining its quality and value. Thus, the motion was adopted to operate future Advanced Imaging Conferences using an every other year calendar beginning with AIC 2019.

Asked to speculate how this news would be received by the astrophotography community, AIC president, R. Jay GaBany, commented "I believe most people who have attended one or more meetings already sense and appreciate the amount of effort required to operate each conference and will understand the board's decision to hold meetings every two years from now on."

So, if you have been thinking about skipping AIC 2017 in anticipation of attending the meeting in 2018- think again. The next AIC will not happen until the fall of 2019, so register for AIC 2017 and avoid a long wait!



Mike Rice is the 2017 Hubble Award Recipient

The Board of Directors of the Advanced Imaging Conference is pleased to announce that Mike Rice has been selected, by unanimous vote, to receive the 2017 AIC Hubble Award for his continued support and on-going advancement of the astrophotographic community.
Mike Rice


Mike is the well-known and highly regarded operator of one of the world's first and most preeminent remote observatory hosting services, New Mexico Skies.

Mike's interest in astrophotography bloomed at age 9 when he constructed his first 6-inch reflector telescope based on plans published by Scientific American magazine. When Comet West made its historic 1976 appearance, Mike chose it as his first astrophotographic subject. Mike built his first digital camera in 1994 and, within a year, placed it in a remote Alaskan observatory that was 50 miles from the nearest connection to the power grid and the closest access road. Controlled by UHF ham radio over a 120-mile link, this remote observatory gave early evidence of Mike's resolve and technical prowess in the face of overwhelmingly difficult odds.

Mike and his wife, Lynn, established New Mexico Skies Observatories in 1997 and, in so doing, gave birth to remote observatory hosting services. In 2001, they initiated their first remote project as a joint venture with Software Bisque. Known as the Student Telescope Network, it attracted over 1,000 student imager registrations. Today, Mew Mexico Skies hosts 60 remote, Internet controlled observatories- 12 located in South Australia with the balance high in the south-central Sacramento mountains, near Mayhill, New Mexico.
The AIC Hubble Award is presented to those individuals who have demonstrated significant and sustained contributions to the astro-photography community over a period of years. Production of fine images is only one criteria but certainly not the most important factor that is considered. Popularization through public outreach, technical innovation, scientific contributions and selfless direct support to other imagers also represent key criteria that justify designation as a Hubble Award recipient.

Mike has appeared at AIC several times over the years. He has selflessly shared his expertise in the mechanics, repair and maintenance of the complicated equipment and electronics we depend upon in multiple workshops and general session presentations.

AIC President, R. Jay GaBany said, "Mike's willingness to help others is also well known across the community to those who have been faced with perplexing equipment problems or vexing observatory situations. So, it is with great pride that the AIC board has decided to celebrate Mike's contributions to astrophotography with the 2017 Hubble Award."



AIC 2017 offers a packed agenda: deep space, planetary and TWAN imaging!

How do you cram more conversation about astrophotography than you have during a typical month into one long weekend? By attending AIC this fall, of course. This can also be said for any of the previous annual sessions, but this year it is doubly true because the agenda features more workshops about more topics presented by more of the world's best astrophotographic experts!
Click above for the full agenda


For example, 4 simultaneous sets of two hour workshops will be in session throughout Friday, the conference's first day. Topics will span beginner to advanced techniques and advice. There will be workshops for folks just starting into the hobby, classes that teach the latest advanced image processing techniques, high resolution planetary imaging, mastering PixInsight and learning methods for creating breathtaking still or motion pictures of the world at night (TWAN).

Friday night's opening session will include presentations from some of our hobby's leading practitioners.

The Saturday agenda has been altered to fit more class room time. After the morning general session and lunch, attendees will be invited to select from a list of 6 ninety minute workshops featuring topics about improving seeing at your observing location, DSLR imaging, TWAN-style still imaging, planetary imaging and beginner or advanced image processing.

Saturday evening will be capped off with a special reception in the registration lobby -- hors d'Oeuvres and soft drinks will be served. Wine and beer will also be available for an extra fee. The exhibition area will also be open throughout this event.

Finally, Sunday will include three more exciting workshops covering narrow band imaging, wide field and TWAN-style imaging and image processing for new astrophotographers.

Workshop and lecture titles reflect the general subject to be presented. Actual titles may be updated prior to the conference. This agenda is provisional and subject to change without notice.



Hop onboard AIC Tracks to coordinate your conference curriculum

Not sure which workshops to select? Let AIC help you get the most from this year's conference.

Get on board AIC Tracks, our recommended set of workshops that will ensure you receive the most information about topics matching your interest.

This year, AIC is offering four separate tracks:


Foundations of Astrophotography- for people who are new or want to get a firmer grasp of the hobby. The following sequence of workshops are offered:
  1. Friday
    • Inside PixInsight Workshop #1 with Warren Keller and Ron Brecher (special double session)
    • Secrets of DSLR Deep Sky Imaging with Jerry Lodriguss
  2. Saturday
    • Image processing with Photoshop and Lightroom with Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn
    • Secrets of DSLR Deep Sky Imaging with Jerry Lodriguss
  3. Sunday
    • Image processing with Photoshop and Lightroom with Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn

General Guidance- for astrophotographers of all experience levels. The following workshops are offered:
  1. Friday
    • Limiting Thresholds in Astronomical Imaging with Chris Hendren
    • Narrowband Filters and CCD Image Processing Using Photoshop with Dr. Don Goldman
    • Inside PixInsight Workshop #2 with Warren Keller and Ron Brecher
  2. Sunday
    • Narrowband Filters and CCD Image Processing Using Photoshop with Dr. Don Goldman

Advanced Astrophotography- for seasoned astrophotographers who need the latest advice and techniques. The following sequence of workshops are offered:
  1. Friday
    • Imaging under seeing limitation conditions, theory and practical considerations with Dr. Gaston Baudat
    • Advanced Astrophotography with Adam Block
    • Turning your image into something special with Tony Hallas
    • Wide Field and TWAN imaging with Rogelio Bernal Andreo
  2. Saturday
    • Imaging under seeing limitation conditions, theory and practical considerations with Dr. Gaston Baudat
    • Advanced Astrophotography with Adam Block
  3. Sunday
    • Wide Field and TWAN imaging with Rogelio Bernal Andreo

Planetary, TWAN- for attendees interested in planetary imaging. The following workshops are offered:
  1. Friday
    • Planetary Imaging from A to Z using AutoStakkert! with Emil Kraaikamp
    • TWAN video- Capturing the Moving Sky with Alan Dyer
    • TWAN-style still photography with David Lane
  2. Saturday
    • TWAN-style still photography with David Lane
    • Planetary Imaging from A to Z using AutoStakkert! with Emil Kraaikamp

Workshops are scheduled when you submit your conference registration. Of course, you may select any workshops that are available. But, many of the workshops are color coded for each of the three AIC Tracks. To get on board, simply choose workshops with the same color code.




Become a star gazer at AIC 2017


Few things are more mesmerizing than the view of a star cluster through a telescope. Grouped together, the brilliance of each star combines with the rest to produce an unforgettable experience. The same can be said of the astrophotographic stars that are gathering for this year's AIC. In fact, this is the greatest set of astrophotography expertise that's ever been assembled for a single meeting!

This roster of AIC 2017 speakers and workshop presenters reads like a Who's Who of astrophotographic talent:


  • Keith Allred: Astrophotographer, attorney and AIC Board Secretary
  • Rogelio Bernal Andreo: World renowned producer of wide field deep space and TWAN images
  • Dr. Gaston Baudat: Co-founder and President, Innovations Foresight, LLC
  • Yuri Beletsky: Astronomer, world renowned astrophotographer
  • Adam Block: Public Observing Programs Coordinator- Mt Lemmon SkyCenter, world famous astrophotographer, Columnist
  • Ron Brecher: Astrophotographer, author, PixInsight expert
  • Alan Dyer: World renowned astrophotographer, author, lecturer
  • Dr. Don Goldman: World renowned astrophotographer, Founder- Astrodon Astronomy Filters
  • Tony Hallas: World renowned Astrophotographer, Columnist, 2009 AIC Hubble Award Recipient
  • Dr. John Hayes: Astronomer, astrophotographer
  • Chris Hendren: Director of Educational, Government and Institutional Sales- OPT, astrophotographer
  • Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn: Astrophotographer, Senior meteorologist - Weather Network of Canada
  • Warren Keller: Author, teacher, world leading astrophotographer, AIC Board of Directors Vice President- Exhibitor Sales
  • Emil Kraaikamp: Solar, lunar and planetary astrophotographic expert, author of AutoStakkert!
  • David Lane: World renowned astrophotographer, author, columnist
  • Jerry Lodriguss: World famous astrophotographer, astro-imaging evangelist and author
  • Robert Reeves: World renowned astrophotographer, author, astronomy evangelist
  • Mike Rice: Founder, Proprietor- New Mexico Skies, 2017 AIC Hubble Award Recipient
  • Richard Wright: World renowned astrophotographer, author, astronomy evangelist, Sr. Software engineer- Software Bisque



AIC offers remedies to control your astro-addiction

Many leading behavior scientists are starting to recognize a growing condition afflicting thousands of unsuspecting would-be scientists and artists around the world. We're talking about astro-addiction- a term that is generally only whispered in polite company. AIC believes it's time to pull this condition out of the shadows and confront it head on with therapeutic advice to help you control its symptoms.

First, we're sorry to inform you, but if you are reading this article, you are probably already suffering from this condition.

It starts out innocently enough when a person with a casual interest in astronomy gets bitten by the astronomy bug. No one is safe and its onset often happens during youth. The gift receipt or purchase of a small binocular or telescopes is the widely-accepted gateway to more advanced symptoms which manifest in later years. Astro-addiction is characterized by countless uncommon behaviors that can include uncontrollable agitation during extended periods of cloud covered nights, the exuberant purchase of (what most people would consider) expensive or exotic telescopic equipment or spending countless hours hovering over a computer screen to produce an astronomical photo.

To those who are unaffected, this is a sad state of affairs to observe. For example, many non-addicts, such as spouses, can only watch in silence while offering patient support.

Unfortunately, astro-addiction is incurable for most. Sometimes the sufferer will go into remission for many years only to experience a flare-up later in life.

AIC offers the following effective remedies for those who share this condition:
  1. Admit your addiction by purchasing one of our new AIC 2017 T-Shirts! They come in two new eye catching styles. Both proudly proclaim your acceptance of the disease! This is not the first step to a cure, but it sure does make living with your addiction more fun!

    In sympathy for fellow sufferers, AIC has arranged for you to SAVE $5.00 off the conference price when you make an advanced purchase during your on-line registration.

    Our durable, heavy weight 100% Ultra cotton shirts are pre-shrunk and double needle stitched. They come in a full range of sizes, including youth sizes for small family members that are beginning to show initial symptoms. You will receive your T-shirt when you check in at the registration desk at the beginning of the conference.

    But, don't hesitate; relief is just a mouse click away when you register!

  2. Register for AIC 2017! There is nothing better than talking with others who share your condition! AIC 2017 is the largest astro-addiction support group on the planet. You will not find more fellow addicts than at AIC 2017!



AIC 2017 registration now open
Only $349 per person!

This year's conference will take place from September 29 to October 1 at the San Jose Convention Center in downtown, San Jose California!

San Jose Convention Center

Your registration fee includes:
  • Admittance to all workshops and presentations throughout the three-day conference
  • Unlimited admittance to the Technology showcase in the exhibition hall
  • Attendance at the Saturday night conference reception
  • Free AIC Digital Library Card featuring unrestricted download of all presentations and video recordings shortly after the meeting concludes (a $200 value)

Your registration fee does not include:
  • Meals
  • Hotel accommodations. There are several top-rated hotels within two blocks of the convention center
We recommend the Hilton San Jose Hotel that's attached to the convention center. It is offering a special AIC discount rate of only $139 per night during the conference

Unlike some past AIC meetings, your registration fee does not include meals. In the past, AIC gatherings took place at locations that offered few dining options; therefore, meals were catered at a significant additional cost to the registration fee. AIC 2017's location, like AIC 2015, is surrounded by dozens of appetizing dining establishments. There are a wide selection of options that are within easy walking distance from the convention center. Click here for a map of restaurants we recommend. Click here for a map of all possible eating establishments located in downtown San Jose.



Bring your spouse to AIC and give them a day to remember

This year, AIC offers your spouse a memorable Saturday experience at beautiful Filoli in nearby Woodside, California. Filoli is one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century, boasting a 16-acre formal garden and historic home.
Saturday Tour

While visiting, the group will have the opportunity to join a private AIC tour to learn how families who lived at Filoli went about life. The tour includes access to non-public areas in the gardens and the historic home, which will provide something new for even those who have visited many times.

Following the private tour, a satisfying lunch will be provided in the Quails Nest Cafe. The group will then have time to wander the breathtaking gardens, pop back into the home and browse the quaint gift shop.

Deluxe motor coach transportation, snack, lunch and Filoli admission with private tour are included. AIC admission to workshops and general session also included.

Spouse registrations also include admittance to any workshop when they accompany you. Each spouse registration also comes with a special welcome gift that includes a local guide and a few surprises to sweeten the weekend. The price is only $125.

We accept most major charge cards, Paypal (and personal check if paying at the door). All prices are subject to change without notice.





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