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  AIC Volume 4, Number 2
In this issue:
  • Registration Opens Soon more...
  • Book Your Room for AIC 2011 Now more...
  • Friday Workshops Previewed more...
  • Stellar Lineup for 2011 Weekend Sessions more...

  • AIC and CEDIC Join Forces more...
  • Twilight for Astrophotography? more...
  • AIC opens 2010 imaging gallery more...
  • Download last year's presentations more...



  • AIC 2011 Pre- Registration Opens Early June

    In just a few weeks, you'll receive a special invitation to register for the 2011 Advanced Imaging Conference before we open registration to the general public. This special, limited time event is restricted to subscribers of the AIC Scintillion newsletter and will feature an early- bird discount off the normal conference fees!

    And, this year, it's official, the Advanced Imaging Conference is expanding to a three day event. Unlike previous gatherings, we won't be offering the option of only attending the Friday workshops or the Weekend sessions. So, now your registration fee will cover all conference events.

    So, mark your calendars, set aside the long weekend of Friday, November 4 through Sunday, November 6, 2011 and plan to attend the 8th Annual Advanced Imaging Conference taking place at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, California!

    This year, Friday will be dedicated to workshops brimming with expert instruction covering image processing for both novice and advanced astrophotographers, tips on keeping your equipment in top condition plus advice on the use of popular processing software applications. It's a treasury of information you'll find no where else on Earth!

    Saturday and Sunday sessions also promise an exciting constellation of Astro-imaging's brightest stars and, throughout the long weekend, AIC 2011 will showcase the latest technology from our community's leading vendors, manufacturers and service providers.

    All meals are included in the conference price:
    • continental breakfast on Friday;
    • full breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning and
    • both lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday.
    Transportation between the San Jose International Airport and conference hotel will be provided free of charge and you'll be able to download each of the meeting presentations following the meeting.

    Remember, there are other great gatherings where you can shop for better equipment but only the Advanced Imaging Conference equips you to create better images!

    Plan to be there!




    Book Your Hotel Room for AIC 2011 Now!

    Book your room now for this year's conference at the Four Diamond Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, located near Great America Amusement Park and just a few minutes from San Jose International Airport!

    Mark your calendars for November 4 - 6, 2011.

    We've arranged for a special AIC room discount of just $99 per night- our consecutive fifth year at this price! This special rate is only available when you book your room through this private AIC Hotel link- bookings made through on-line booking sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity or others, will not feature this special rate.



    Santa Clara Hyatt Regency features:
    • Special conference negotiated $99 per night room rate (our room rates have not changed in 5 years!);
    • Free parking for local attendees;
    • Upgraded meals throughout the conference including sit-down hot breakfasts;
    • Reasonable prices and special conference discounts at the three on-property restaurants featuring Sushi, classic American or Mediterranean cuisine;
    • Complimentary shuttle service from the San Jose International Airport to the hotel;
    • Newly appointed rooms- the hotel recently completed a $12 million renovation bringing it to Hyatt standards;
    • Quiet, restful nights- the hotel is situated far from major sources of noise pollution such as freeways;
    • Conference functions will take place at the adjoining Santa Clara Convention Center
    • ...and more





    AIC Friday Workshops Will Transform Your Images

    Like monks in a cosmic monastery, astrophotographers often work alone with their instruments and computers searching for the truth in their data. Our pastime is a unique experience that enables us to explore the farthest reaches of outer space, the depths of our talents and, yes, the extent of our patience as we process our images. The long, often circuitous path from novice to advanced imager is littered with dust covered telescopes and unused cameras abandoned out of frustration with the extreme learning curve this hobby imposes. AIC Workshop sessions are designed to help you overcome many of the challenges everyone faces whether they are just starting out or possess many years of experience.

    This year, we've invited some of the hobby's foremost specialists to offer you a hand during the Friday Workshops at AIC 2011.

    For example, Adam Block, one of the planet's highest rated astrophographic authorities, will conduct a special two hour workshop for beginner enthusiasts that will accelerate their processing skills. Award winning R. Jay GaBany will offer processing advice for those who want to awaken their images and leading astrophotographer, Dr. Steve Leshin, will demonstrate the remarkable capabilities of PixInsight. Also included will be sessions led by filter guru, Dr. Don Goldman, regarding the use of narrow band filters to produce evocative images and Mike Rice, proprietor of world- famous New Mexico Skies, will share his experiences, diagnosis and remedies gleaned from maintaining over 20 world class telescope setups, to help you prevent or repair unexpected situations with yours.

    All workshops will repeat during the morning and afternoon on Friday.


    Experience an Information Explosion during AIC Weekend Sessions

    Advanced Imaging Conferences can be an exhausting experience and this year's gathering will be no exception! Our weekend sessions will feature a waterfall of new ideas and useful, stimulating information that will leave you amazed, reinvigorated and highly motivated to take your next picture!

    This year's agenda features the Hubble Lecture by the 2011 Hubble Award recipient, Ron Wodaski, first thing Saturday morning. Ron's presentation will be followed by a constellation of stellar speakers including the sagent advice of Dr. Steve Canistra who discusses effective techniques that enhance wide field astro-photography and Alnitak Astrosystems Co-founder Peter Kalajian, who will take the mystery out of flat fielding.

    Suzanne Jacoby, Manager for Education and Public Outreach at the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), will explain opportunities for amateurs to conduct real science and the Saturday meeting will also feature three Spotlight presentations by Mars mission image processor, Joel Hagen; Dean Salman, the inexhaustible Sharpless catalog documentarian and the world's foremost star stream expert, Dr. David Martinez-Delgado.

    If that's not enough, Paul Jones, the highly regarded telescopic optician, will explain optical measurements used to grade the quality of our instruments and Dennis di Cicco, Sky and Telescope's award winning astronomical editor, author, astrophotographer and telescope maker will describe his latest, amazing ultra-wide field project.

    Plus, Dr. Alex Filippenko, Distinguished Professor of Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley, sought after lecturer, author, celebrated astronomy popularizer, award winning teacher and researcher will join our proceedings, expand your understanding of the Universe and fill your mind with wonder. His session is not to be missed!




    International Astrophotographer Association Announced


    The Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) and the Central European Deep Sky Imaging Conference (CEDIC) recently announced the creation of the International Astrophotographer Association (IAA) through a strategic alliance between the two organizations.

    The IAA's mission is predicated on advancing the role of astrophotography to a global audience through joint initiatives, public outreach, and cross pollination of ideas between enthusiasts on the seven continents. The new association also plans to produce a set of conference operating standards and guidelines that reinforce and protect the intellectual property rights of amateur astrophotographers.

    The agreement also includes several benefits, limited to attendees of either conference, that will be described in the next issue of the AIC Scintillion newsletter.


     
    Take the
    AIC Quick Poll

    How much time have you been devoting to astophotography this year compared to the past few years?

    If you spent less time, please indicate why. Choose all that apply.

    Where do you live?

    Has Astrophotography Seen Its Best Nights?

    What is the current level of interest in astrophotography among enthusiasts? The AIC recently attempted to begin answering this question. For most people, astrophotography is a hobby and therefore it's also subject to the discretion of the hobbyist's available time, bank account, curiosity, motivation, and health. Any change in one or more of these factors may increase or decrease the hobbyist's level of interest.

    In an attempt to begin measuring the pastime's current level of engagement, the AIC analyzed the number of posts submitted to two of the web's most prolific forums dedicated to astrophotography: SBIG and CCD-New Astro. The study avoided a subjective review of individual messages or threads submitted to either of these moderated lists. Instead, the analysis focused on the volume of posts submitted during the past six years and attempted to detect a trend based on the assumption that increased interest in astrophotography would spawn a larger number of posts and vice versa.

    Of course, there are lots of astrophographers who do not subscribe to these specific lists or any other list and many astrophotographers may subscribe to forums that are not included in this sample. Additionally, a majority of forum subscribers do not post or only post infrequently and a small minority of subscribers tend to make the majority of posts. But, it was believed that the activity of the most enthusiastic subscribers could serve as an analog of overall enthusiasm for the hobby. So, these caveats should be considered when reviewing the results of this study.

    It should also be noted the SBIG group requires its users to limit their discussions to topics involving their products or images produced with their brand of equipment. Conversely, the CCD-New Astro group is open to any hobbyist irregardless of their camera brand. Combined, both groups have over 11,000 registered users representing the largest concentration of interest in astrophotography on the Internet.

    The study found overall interest, as represented by forum posts, declined over 66% between 2005 and 2009. 2010 saw an up tick in activity but 2011, based on the first four months of submissions, is projected to fall short of both the 2010 and 2009 totals indicating an ongoing erosion in participant enthusiasm.

    The AIC analysis did not offer an explanation for the change in posting behavior. So, in an effort to validate the study's results and better understand the reasons for its findings, the AIC is releasing a short anonymous survey with this newsletter. Please take a moment to submit your responses. The results will be published in the next issue.




    Revisit Scenes from AIC 2010

    For the past two years, the AIC has procured candid photos throughout the long weekend proceedings that capture some of the folks and events occurring during the meeting. Viewing them will re-kindle the excitement and wonder you experienced or provide a glimpse of what you missed.

    Attending AIC is more than just learning new techniques, inspecting the latest technology and regaling night time victories and travails. AIC is about sharing ideas, renewing friendships and meeting friends you've come to know through the Internet. This sense of community is at the heart of each conference- it seeps into each presentation and acts as the guiding light for its agenda.

    So, take a moment to reminisce. Each picture in our Meeting Memory Gallery is worth more than a thousand words!







    The 2010 AIC Image Gallery Showcases the Best from the Brightest

    The 2010 meeting offered attendees an opportunity to submit images for display during conference breaks, lunch and the Saturday night dinner. Again this year, the response was overwhelming to this invitation- we received over 100 beautiful pictures representing the current state of the art.

    To preserve this great gathering of talent, the AIC has posted the third annual on-line gallery of astrophotographic images. Each picture is displayed in a random sequence. A control is provided to navigate through the list. Click on any image to open a viewer that will display the full image with high quality. Here's the link:

    2010 AIC Gallery




    2010 Presentation Downloads Available to Conference Attendees

    A complete set of 2010 conference presentations is available for 2010 AIC conferees to download and review at their convenience. However, access to these files will remain limited to 2010 attendees until the second half of 2011 and require the submission of a username and password.

    All previous year's presentations remain unrestricted for download and study. Following is a list of links to each of the AIC's presentation archives.

    2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010




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