Previewing the Advanced Imaging Conference 2011

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The eighth annual Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) promises to be the best one yet. The 2011 event is being held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Santa Clara, California, November 4–6. For the third straight year, Astronomy magazine is proud to be an editorial sponsor.

This year’s speakers include regular Astronomy contributors Adam Block (“ABCs of Image Processing”), Steve Cannistra (“Wide-field Image Processing”), R. Jay GaBany (“Awakening Your Astronomical Images”), Don Goldman (“Narrowband Filter Selection and Image Processing”), and Dean Salman (“Processing Tips Learned from the Sharpless Catalog Project”).

Ken Crawford, one of the conference’s organizers, told me that he expects about the same number of participants as last year, which would be approximately 300. And he was especially happy to report that 35 manufacturers would be setting up displays.

During the meeting, the AIC Board of Directors will present its most prestigious honor — the Hubble Award — to Ron Wodaski. The organization bestows the Hubble Award “to those individuals who have demonstrated significant and sustained contributions to the astrophotography community over a period of years.” As criteria, the board evaluates production of fine images, popularization through public outreach, technical innovation, scientific contributions, and selfless direct support of other imagers.

The conference committee released this blurb about the 2011 winner: “Ron Wodaski got his start in astrophotography in the 90s. When he couldn’t find the book he was looking for to explain how to do it, he wrote one out of desperation, assuming that if he needed help, so did everyone else. One day, out of the blue, he was offered the job of running the Tzec Maun Foundation by a reader of one of those books, and he said yes. Today, the Foundation offers free telescopes via the Internet to students all over the world.”

After the award presentation, Wodaski will give a talk titled “Cosmic Wonder.” In it, he’ll chat about his love of imaging and how he got started. He also will describe the Tzec Maun Foundation’s new 1-meter telescope to AIC members, and, in his words, “how we’re making it broadly available for research, for serious amateurs like you.”

This year, each attendee’s packet will contain Astronomy’s special issue Spectacular Universe, which contains 250 stunning pictures, every one by an amateur imager. I gave a short presentation about this project at last year’s AIC during which I asked members to send me their best work for inclusion. Many did, and I’m looking forward to personally thanking them during the conference.

To learn more about the 2011 AIC, visit the conference website. To see more than 100 images by many AIC members, visit Astronomy magazine’s AIC online photo gallery. And watch for my blogs and tweets throughout the weekend.

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