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  AIC Volume 6, number 4
Quick links: 2013 Archive:
Early Summer 2013
Late Spring 2013
Winter 2013
In this issue:
  • Why you should attend AIC 2013 more...
  • Gain a new perspective of our place in the Cosmos more...
  • How depth is added to flat images more...
  • Grab your DSLR and turn it to the skies more...
  • 19 exhibitors will be at AIC 2103, more are expected more...
  • AIC exhibits cast a spell more...
  • Register for AIC 2013 and book your hotel room more...
  • Saturday tour explores Stanford more...
  • 2013 Agenda shimmers with astrophotographic celebrities more...
  • Special meal package offered again for local attendees more...
  • 2011 AIC Image Gallery now on-line more...
  • 2012 Presentation downloads still restricted more...
The AIC Board of Directors
Ken Crawford
R. Jay GaBany
Frank Barnes III
Keith Allred
Bob Fera
Register Now for AIC 2013 While Discounts Remain!

AIC 2013 Sponsors
Top 10 Reasons You Should Attend AIC

AIC 2012 General Session
Whether you've been to AIC in the past or are contemplating attending sometime soon, this year's Advanced Imaging Conference is the one astro-oriented meeting you should not miss! Not only have we assembled the finest group of speakers in our meeting's history, but we've also packed the conference with a few surprises to help celebrate our 10th Birthday!
  Click here to view the Top Ten reasons for attending AIC.

Yes, AIC is 10 years old this year! It started as an idea to gather some friends at a hotel over the weekend so they could share imaging challenges and solutions. Less than 100 people attended that first meeting. For the past three years, AIC has averaged over 300!

So, to commemorate our 10th birthday, we've invited all the past Hubble recipients including some who rarely venture out, like Drs.Rob Gendler and David Malin!

You're invited, too!

3D Tour Puts the Stars within Reach!

The star clusters nearest our own indicate the flatness of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, whose center is visible in the upper right.
The Universe in which we live is enormously immense- so vast it boggles our most unbridled imaginations. Separated by trillions of miles, even the nearest stars are impossibly distant making the journeys we humans travel seem vanishingly small and insignificant. With that in mind, you could be forgiven becoming convinced that any voyages to the stars will take place only in our dreams.

But ideas are fertilized by active imaginations. Creating an accurate and dynamic representation of our place in the universe would be worth engaging the best minds and applying the latest technologies. After all, the first maps of the New World, and the first reasonably accurate globes of Earth, created a powerful sense of wonder, widening our perspective of humanity’s place in the Cosmos.

So, imagine you could travel to the Big Dipper in less than a minute using a faster-than-light spaceship. Until recently, such a trip was the subject of conjecture or the basis for a science fiction adventure. But now, powerful new tools have been created that enable you to experience such an interstellar journey with astonishing accuracy using information supplied by modern astrophysics as its guide.

Join us this fall exclusively at AIC 2013 as Dr. Carter Emmart, Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History, takes you on an incredible journey sailing between galaxies.

Welcome to the 3D, supercomputer-generated Virtual Universe tour developed by the American Museum of Natural History, which will swing you behind the Orion Nebula and out to the farthest voids known to science. In addition to conducting the tour, Dr. Emmart was part of the team that created the program with a $2 million seed grant from NASA.

This is not to be confused with pre-programmed movies narrated by Hollywood stars, with voices modulated to convey just the right tones of gravitas and wonderment.

Instead, the Virtual Universe is open to improvisation by its presenter, Dr. Emmart. The project grew out of the Hayden Planetarium's multimillion-dollar Digital Galaxy Project and comprises humankind's most comprehensive interactive atlas of the universe -- stars, clusters, nebulae, galaxies and more.

The result will let you fly hither and yon through galaxies like schools of fish darting through bioluminescent plankton.

Of course, the AIC will not be responsible for any lost socks that get knocked off along the way!

A Better Use For Your DSLR Camera

The M8 region shot by Tony Hallas with a DSLR camera. Click the image for a larger version.
Do you think a DSLR camera is only useful for taking family pictures? Think again. Your DSLR can be put to great use taking huge swaths of the sky if you know how.

This year at AIC 2013, one of the world's great CCD astrophotographic masters and AIC Hubble Award Recipient for 2009, Tony Hallas, will share his thoughts and experiences using a DSLR camera to image the heavens. Tony will discuss the unique challenges of DSLR imaging and explain how they can be overcome.

His presentation will also describe how to process Camera RAW data without the need for shooting darks and flats Tony will also compare DSLR to CCD.

Finally, you'll learn how to automate a great portion of DSLR processing so that large numbers of frames can be taken and combined to create massive signal to noise.

The 3D Worlds of Joel Hagen

For the past several years, Joel Hagen, AIC Director of Astronomical Displays, has worked with NASA Ames processing images for their science teams on the Pathfinder, MER and Phoenix Mars missions. Joel also designs extra-terrestrial life forms and biomes seen in PBS, BBC, NHK (Japan), Discovery and National Geographic television science programs. The AIC is very fortunate to have this award-winning artist and animator, whose paintings have hung in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Gagarin Center in Moscow.

When Joel isn't busy on one of these projects, or working as a full time computer graphics instructor at Modesto Junior College, he also creates breathtaking images exclusively seen at the AIC 3D Pavilion.

The Scintillion recently caught up with Joel and asked him to explain how he creates the extra dimension seen in his pictures.

The exhibit uses electronic shutter glasses to separate the left and right images to create a full color high resolution three dimensional stereo view. According to Joel, there are three unique processes behind the creation of 3D images that will be featured in this year’s enlarged 3D Pavilion at AIC.

For example, images from the Mars Curiosity Rover are captured in Left/Right full color stereo. The two cameras, however, utilize different lens magnifications. Therefore, the pictures must be processed so that scaling does not cause the final image to pixelate.

The variances between left and right are the result of hand-constructed displacement maps based on scientific information.
The pictures from the MER Opportunity Rover are also captured in stereo, but only the left camera records approximately Red, Green and Blue wavelengths. Those wavelengths are not recorded through the right camera. Joel said, "I have developed a process to extract the left camera color and warp it to right camera luminance." The result is honest color and true stereo.

But, the deep space subjects captured by Hubble and ground based astrophotography have no parallax due to their great distances, thus it's impossible to capture an image with true depth. To present these deep space objects in 3D, Joel uses the original photograph as the left image and synthesizes a right image using hand built displacement maps. Joel admits this synthetic volume is an artistic construction, "But," he added, "the art is informed by science and our knowledge of these structures."

Joel also plans to display 3D versions of Hartigan’s time lapse motion sequences of Herbig-Haro Jets captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. These movies will be seen on a high resolution display that will showcase the dynamics of cosmic events over human time scales.

To see the result of Joel's efforts, be sure to spend some time and talk with him at this year's expanded 3D Pavilion. The 3D Pavilion is made possible through the ongoing generosity of Dr. Bob Caton, AIC Sr. Director of Exhibitions.

AIC 2013: Prepare to be Amazed

This year's conference is going to be the best one yet! We've invited all of the past Hubble Recipients to attend and most accepted! So, this is your best, and maybe last, opportunity to see and hear this many of astro-imaging's best and most brilliant stars in a single gathering!

Here's a preview of the speakers who will be appearing at this year's gathering. Click here for the full 2013 agenda and more information about each speaker on the AIC 2013 speaker and workshop leader page:

  • Robert Naeye, Editor in Chief, Sky and Telescope
  • Dr. David Malin, legendary British-Australian astronomer, astrophotographer and AIC Hubble recipient
  • Dr. Robert Gendler, one of the world's greatest astrophotographers, author and AIC Hubble recipient
  • Dr. Alex Filippenko, astrophysicist and professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Carter Emmart, Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Tony Hallas, one of the world's greatest astrophotographers, lecturer, columnist and AIC Hubble recipient
  • Adam Block, one of the world's greatest astrophotographers, program coordinator/principal speaker at the Mt. Lemmon Sky Center and AIC Hubble recipient
  • Ron Wodaski, a father of modern amateur digital astrophotography, lecturer, author and AIC Hubble recipient
  • Rogelio Bernal Andreo, acclaimed astrophotographer and AIC Pleiades Award recipient
  • Stan Moore, astrophotographer, author of CCD Stack image processing application
  • Mike Rice, owner/operator of New Mexico Skies
  • Neil Flemming, one of the world's leading narrow-band imagers
  • Warren Keller, astrophotographer, lecturer and author
  • Frank Barnes, astrophotographer and AIC Board member
  • Giovanni Paglioli, astrophotographer
  • Evert Cooper, astrophotographer, adaptive optics and seeing expert

AIC Special Exhibits are Inspired

After every AIC, the conference conducts an anonymous survey of the attendees to understand their perceptions about the meeting and gather input. For the past six years, several things have remained consistent: the three greatest reasons people attend AIC are:
  • To learn more about image processing;
  • network with friends and
  • become inspired

Dr. Bob Caton also shares this need for inspiration. That's why, for the past several gatherings, he has personally financed and produced astounding, professionally built exclusive AIC exhibits with the help of a team he's assembled. These displays not only rekindle our love for this hobby but also promote some of the best works created by many AIC attendees.

This year, Bob is expanding the number of exhibits to further increase your fascination with astrophotography.

For example, the 3D booth is being expanded with an entrance facing the main door, so conferees can enter more easily. The pavilion will be wider by 4 feet and have a larger screen. Joel Hagen is also developing a new set of 3D images that include new images from the surface of Mars, and several from the Hubble space telescope. The entrance will also be lit up with back-lit photos from the worlds greatest imagers.

The new AIC Interactive Astrophotography pavilion will include a massive 70 inch, two 60 inch and one 40 inch touch screen that will enable attendees to manipulate images that have been submitted to the AIC Image Gallery. The exhibit will also include a new "Hologram type display" that has a transparent computer screen. A table and chairs will enable users to comfortably sit while the interact with the display devices and inspect large image prints featuring pictures by leading astrophotographers.

Large panels will also make it possible for attendees to post a favorite image print. Look for more information about this exciting new opportunity in the next AIC Scintillion newsletter due in mid-September.

Finally, attendees will be able to take a journey down the 26 foot long, 10 foot wide Black Hole Tunnel of over-sized, back-lit images which will really make each picture come alive.

So, if you run into Bob while you are strolling about AIC 2013 this year, be sure to give him your heartiest thanks as a way of expressing your appreciation for the effort (and expense) he so selflessly pours into these displays.

19 Exhibitors Confirmed, More Anticipated

Unlike other big name national and regional astronomy events, the Advanced Imaging Conference is built around the sharing of information, ideas and techniques about astrophotography.

However, the cost of organizing, promoting, up-front funding and managing the annual get-together is greater than the attendee registration fees can support. So the AIC also features a Product Showcase packed with the world's leading manufacturers, retailers and service providers. Their fees help offset costs and make each AIC possible.

This year will be no exception. 19 Sponsors and Vendors are planning to exhibit. More are expected.

In past years, many have offered exclusive discounts to AIC conferees during the meeting- hopefully, many will do the same this year, too. The AIC encourages you to patronize these fine establishments, especially in between sessions. This year, the Product Showcase will be open during the Friday afternoon workshops and late afternoon on Saturday for those who want to shop.

Here' a list of exhibitors who have already registered:
Sponsors Vendors

Register now and Make Your Hotel Reservations for the AIC Tenth Birthday Celebration!

Now you can register and make your hotel reservation for the once-in-a-lifetime celestial convergence when astrophotography's brightest stars from across the globe gather and celebrate the 10th birthday of the Advanced Imaging Conference- our community's premier annual event!

We've invited each of the past Hubble recipients, plus our highest rated topics and speakers, to reveal the wonder and dispel the mystery about bringing out the best in your images! All this and much more are guaranteed to inform, inspire and excite you as only AIC can!

Friday will be dedicated to workshops brimming with expert instructional advice covering image processing, data acquisition and the use of popular processing software applications. It's a treasury of information you'll find no where else on Earth!

The Saturday and Sunday sessions also promise an exciting constellation of Astro-imaging's brightest stars and, throughout the long weekend, AIC 2013 will showcase the latest technology from our community's leading vendors, manufacturers and service providers.

All meals will be included in the conference fee:
  • 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.

But, don't come alone! Bring your spouse, companion or your entire family and, for a small additional per person fee, they can tour the Bay area all day Saturday while you're at the meeting plus they can join you at every conference meal.

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! This special birthday event will only happen once!

AIC 2013 Continues Popular Local Bay Area Admission Package

Many AIC attendees live within the Bay Area and drive each day to the conference. Because our registration fees are all inclusive, this has resulted in some local attendees paying for meals they do not take. So, this year, the Advanced Imaging Conference will again offer local residents a special conference rate that excludes breakfasts and dinners.

This special Local Area Resident Package includes admittance all workshops and the weekend general sessions, admittance to the Technology Showcase, the souvenir program guide, plus Friday and Saturday lunch for a reduced rate of only $299.00 per person.

Admission to the Friday dinner and Saturday's banquet may be purchased together on-site during the conference for an additional fee of $100.00.

For more information, check out the official 2013 AIC pricing page.

Look for this special local rate when you register. All prices are subject to change without notice.

Spouses Enjoy Our Saturday Tour

While you're settling into the weekend general sessions, let your wife, family members or traveling companion take a trip to Stanford.

This year, the AIC Saturday Tour will open with a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Hanna House, located on the Stanford University Campus. Designed in 1936 for Stanford Professor Paul Hanna and his wife, Jean, it represented an elegant and affordable home for the American middle class. The long-term collaboration between the Hannas and Wright resulted in an unprecedented design: a house with no right angles and an open spatial plan. Hanna House was a turning point in Wright's career, leading to ideas later evidenced in New York's Guggenheim Museum.

Next, our tour will feature a private luncheon at California Cafe. Located in the charming and historic Stanford Barn, Palo Alto’s California Cafe exists to provide an escape from the outside world. Locally known for its chef-driven creations, engaging service and relaxing ambiance, the restaurant's multicultural offerings feature seasonal ingredients with broad appeal. California Cafe 's relaxing environment will be a memorable California-style experience.

Following lunch, you'll have the choice of browsing through Stanford Shopping Center- Northern California’s premier open-air shopping destination with Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Wilkes Bashford and more than 140 world-class specialty stores, ranging from luxury brands to local favorites.

Or, you may elect to explore Stanford University's Cantor Art Museum- whose diverse collections span continents, cultures, and 5,000 years of art history including one of the largest presentations of Rodin bronzes outside Paris.

Our private, chartered motorcoach departs the conference hotel at 10:15AM Saturday morning and includes tickets to the Hanna House, lunch at California Cafe 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 $85 per person.

The 2012 AIC Image Gallery Now Online

The 2012 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 dozens of 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:

2012 AIC Gallery

2012 Presentation Downloads Available to Conference Attendees

A complete set of 2012 conference presentations is available for 2012 AIC conferees to download and review at their convenience. However, access to these files will remain limited to 2012 attendees until the second half of 2013 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 | 2011 | 2012

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