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  AIC Volume 4, Number 3
In this issue:
  • 2011 Registration process has been improved more...
  • Saturday Tour highlights trip to Alcatraz more...
  • AIC debuts new logo more...
  • Book your room for AIC 2011 now more...
  • AIC survey corroborates enthusiasm gap more...
  • Stellar lineup planned for 2011 weekend sessions more...

  • AIC Sponsor returns to high tech more...
  • Friday workshops previewed more...
  • Watch CEDIC 2011 Lectures & Workshops more...
  • AIC opens 2010 imaging gallery more...
  • Download last year's presentations more...

  • Register Now while introductory prices are available!

    AIC 2011 Sponsors

    AIC Debuts New Registration System for 2011

    Your first experience with an AIC meeting is when you register and over the years the AIC has tried to make this easy and simple. However, we realized there was room for improvement so, this year, the AIC introduces a much improved method for joining our annual gatherings!

    Powered by RegOnline, the new registration system features a higher level of security for your personal information, tighter integration with Paypal, improved email messaging and the ability to make changes to your workshop selections. With high profile customers like Canon, National Geographic, Caterpillar and BOSE, we believe your registration experience with our new system will be quicker and provide greater convenience.

    You'll be asked to create an account so you can access your registration record, print a receipt or change your Friday workshop selections at any time. Plus, your account information will be retained by RegOnline's secure server so registering for future conferences will be even faster! And, since we rely on Paypal to handle payments, you won't have to worry about the security of your form of payment information because we do not store it.

    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.

    Register Now and you'll receive our special $369 introductory rate! Prices will increase to $399 per person later this summer!

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

    Voyage to Alcatraz Island on the AIC 2011 Saturday Tour

    While you're settling into the weekend general sessions, let your wife, family members or traveling companion take a trip they will long remember by joining our special, all inclusive Saturday tour to San Francisco. This year, getting there will be half the fun, because our unique event includes a round-trip ferry ride to Alcatraz Island! As they progress across the water, our guests will be treated to a breathtaking, picture post card view of San Francisco from the middle of the Bay!

    Following this nautical adventure, our guests will experience luncheon at world famous Boudin Bakery, on the wharf over looking the water. Following that, there's an insider tour of the bakery's back room operation and time to explore all the San Francisco waterfront has to offer: Pier 39, the outdoor markets at Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradelli Square.

    Our private, chartered motorcoach departs the conference hotel at 9:15AM Saturday morning and includes tickets and ferry transportation to Alcatraz Island, lunch at Boudin Bakery and snacks. Our guests will return by 5:00PM Saturday afternoon in time to join you for the AIC Saturday evening Banquet dinner.

    Tour participation also includes all AIC conference meals- a $275 value for only $75 per person. (Joining this tour/meal package requires each guest to submit a separate conference registration.)

    Click here. to join the tour. Please note: This special, value packed opportunity is limited to the first 25 participants.

    AIC Unveils New Logo

    In a bid to visually capture the spirit of our unique global community and our conference's central role in promoting the wisdom, values and friendships we share, the AIC commissioned the design of a new logo earlier this year. Bold letters frame a brilliant, stylized star symbolizing our fervor for astro-photography.

    Look for the new logo on advertisements, the AIC web site and other official documents and items from the Advanced Imaging Conference, Inc. as it begins to be phased in. It will eventually replace the current deep space photo montage that has signified all things pertaining to the AIC for the past several years.

    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 Survey Confirms Astrophotography's Darkening Skies

    First reported in the last AIC Scintillion Newsletter (Volume4, Number 2), our exclusive article noted a downward trend in postings to popular astrophotography forums.

    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.

    To validate our interpretation of the data, the Scintillion asked readers to weigh in with their experience. Approximately 13 percent of the Scintillion's subscriber base submitted anonymously which help make the survey results statistically significant.

    Scintillion subscribers agreed with the article's conclusions. 43% of the respondents indicated a drop in overall enthusiasm for the hobby. The survey also asked participants to select one or more reasons for their personal decline with the hobby. Overwhelming, poor weather was the single greatest reason for spending less time taking astronomical images. This was followed by time requirements of job related responsibilities. While other hobbies or interests accounted for the third most frequently cited reason.

    The permanency of this trend is yet to be understood. Hopefully, astrophotography's best nights are still bright in our collective future.

    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 sage 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!

    LightBuckets Founder Returns to High Tech Industry

    Last month, LightBucket's President and Founder, Steve Cullen announced his decision to accept a senior management position with Semantec and has placed his company up for sale. LightBuckets is a long time Sponsor of the Advanced Imaging Conference.

    LightBuckets officially opened in June 2008 following nine months of development work. Since then, over 4,300 hours of imaging by almost 700 customers has been completed by this high end telescope rental service. According to Cullen, about 20% of LightBuckets users are casual imagers, 50% are dedicated astrophotographers while the remaining population is comprised of students and professional researchers.

    LightBuckets offers a variety of instruments including a 24 and 14-inch Ritchey-Chrétien plus an 8-inch astrograph. Use of LightBucket's facilities is accomplished remotely over the Internet using its unique, user-friendly browser-based interface. The fully automated system enables the user to position the camera's field of view, select filters and stipulate both exposure duration and the number of images required. Once this is submitted, the system automatically schedules each exposure, collects the data then informs the user when everything is ready for them to download.

    LightBuckets intends to remain open throughout the company's sale.

    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 CEDIC 2011 From the Comfort of Your Nearest Chair

    During mid-March of this year, almost 200 astrophotography enthusiasts from over 20 countries gathered in Linz, Austria for the second Central European Deep Sky Imaging Conference (CEDIC).

    CEDIC 2011 was hosted by The Ars Electronica Center (AEC), one of Europe's most innovative museums. CEDIC's opening took place in the AEC's Deep Space Hall where high resolution images submitted by meeting attendees were seamlessly projected across the floor and up onto a two story screen. This enabled participants to literally walk into and across the crystal clear pictures surrounded by the Universe! The three day event featured over 14 lectures and workshops by some of the world's leading astrophotographic practitioners from Europe, the Middle East and both North and South America.

    Each session was professionally recorded so the speaker and their presentation slides could be reviewed at a later date. Click here to view a trailer with lecture and workshop samples.

    Featuring over 14 hours of talks, this archive of expertise includes:

    • Mosaic Assemblage in DeepSky Imaging by Fabian Neyer (27:19 minutes)
    • Reflections on Reflection Nebulae and other Diffused- Gimmi Ratto (37:46 minutes)
    • Remote Imaging versus Telescope Hugging- Daniel Verschatse (44:34 minutes)
    • High Quality Deepsky Imaging with DSLR Cameras- Ivan Eder (38:32 minutes)
    • Professional Astrophotography- Vicent Peris (32:14 minutes)
    • Advanced Astronomical Image Processing for Narrow Band Imaging- Jukka Metsävaino (28:50 minutes)
    • Rivers of Stars- R. Jay GaBany (27:46 minutes)
    • Reducing Noise at Physical Layer on Cheap DSLR- Peter Eppich (39:34 minutes)
    • Lucky Imaging on Deep Sky Objects- Filippo Ciferri (35:45 minutes)
    • Tone Mapping Workflow in Practice- Jukka Metsävaino (64:18 minutes)
    • Producing Deep Results- R. Jay GaBany (70:54 minutes)
    • The Art of Coloring the Deep Sky- Giovanni Paglioli (83:42 minutes)
    • TWAN Landscape Astrophotography- Babak A. Tafreshi (157:50 minutes)
    • Introduction to PixInsight- Vicent Peris (78:51 minutes)

    Access to the CEDIC 2011 video archive is normally 99 euros. But, thanks our new association with CEDIC, AIC 2010 attendees will only pay 69.95 euros (a 30% discount!)

    To make your purchase, simply log on to the AIC 2010 presentation archive web page and click on the CEDIC 2011 link! This offer is exclusively limited to AIC 2011 attendees.

    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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