Day 1 of the Advanced Imaging Conference

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Friday, October 16, 2015

Celestron brought a number of scopes amateur astronomers have been imaging through for years. The newest one is its Rowe-Ackerman Schmidt Astrograph (the one on the right). // All images: Astronomy: Michael E. Bakich
The 2015 version of the Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) has gotten off to a strong start. I'm currently attending the 11th incarnation of this meeting in San Jose, California. This gathering always has been specifically geared toward astroimagers. And this year, the AIC board decided to expand their reach a bit. In the past, most of the imagers have concentrated on CCD cameras and deep-sky targets. But in 2015, there are talks about planetary imaging, wide-field imaging, and lots of attention to digital single-lens reflex cameras. Nice.

Starlight Xpress cameras generate lots of images published in Astronomy and on Astronomy.com. They make a wide range of CCD cameras.
I haven't attended a talk yet because I've been swamped by imagers who wanted to thank me for featuring their work, or any work, in the magazine. From my perspective, it's they who deserve the thanks. They're the ones who endure cold nights at the telescope collecting data. They're the ones who have invested large sums of money to create fantastic shots of everything from Mars to clusters of galaxies. And they're also the ones who spend uncounted hours processing their images to make sure they represent reality. Indeed, among this community of artists, scientific accuracy is paramount.

Astrodon is the biggest name in filters for celestial imaging. And owner Don Goldman (who also produces great images) has been introducing innovative products for a long time.
Also, I've taken some of the morning to walk around the vendor area. Wow! The high quality of the equipment here staggers me. There's not a clunker to be found. And the 35 vendors sets a record for the number at any AIC conference.

PlaneWave Instruments makes large reflectors geared toward the needs of astroimagers. The staff also is a fun group to talk to.
Another record is the attendees. Previous conferences had to limit the total number to around 300 because the venue couldn't handle more than that. This year, some 350 committed people all are talking telescopes, cameras, filters, and everything else photo, for three solid days. And the number can grow in the future.

I'll be reporting from here all weekend, so stay tuned for new developments.

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