Imaging with an attitude

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, April 24, 2008

Michael E. BakichToday, I’m blogging from Suffern, New York, site of the 2008 Northeast Astro Imaging Conference (NEAIC). More than 100 of the world’s best astrophotographers have gathered here to renew old friendships, share techniques, and see the latest hardware.

NEAIC is an outgrowth of the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), which will begin on Saturday. I’m happy to be here because I’ve already run into several long-time image contributors to Astronomy I’d never met in person. It’s nice to put faces to the names on some of the fantastic pictures I receive as the magazine’s photo editor.

This morning, I sat in on a talk about solar imaging techniques given by French astroimager Thierry Legault. Planetary and solar astroimagers have revered him as one of the best planetary photographers for more than a decade. I can attest that he is one of the top solar imagers, too.

Thierry began his talk asking all of us why we were inside on such a beautiful day. He then encouraged us to go out an image the Sun. Well, soon, if not today.

Thierry illustrated his talk with some of the highest-resolution solar photography I’d even seen, and included some video clips. He identified poor seeing as the number one reason for low-quality images, and compared images taken under both good and poor conditions. I marveled at the photos he took under good visibility, but I also thought of the many solar imagers I know who would proudly claim what he called “poor seeing” images as their best work.

As I roamed the vendor area, I saw lots of new products that Astronomy will feature in upcoming issues. All the manufacturer representatives were friendly and helpful. They were happy to chat with an Astronomy editor, and they answered all of my questions.

Day 1 has been a success. More as it happens …

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