Day 2 of the Advanced Imaging Conference

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) continues today in San Jose, California. Yesterday was filled with lots of conversations with imagers (both longtime contributors to the magazine and those who never have sent anything in) and manufacturers. If you’ve followed my recent blogs and writings, you know I’m totally aimed toward the 2017 total solar eclipse. So, I made sure to ask attendees what they’re doing on that day. I had a different question for manufacturers: What eclipse-related products will you be bringing out?

Jimmy Walker is not only a professional golfer. He's also an accomplished astroimager and ambassador for the hobby and the winner of the 2015 AIC Pleiades Award. // All images courtesy of AIC
Now today, the AIC presented its two awards. The Pleiades Award is for the new. The first sentence of its description states, “Like the brilliant star cluster that inspired its name, the Pleiades accolade will be bestowed on the very brightest, most exceptional imagers who are either youthful in years of relatively young to the endeavor of astrophotography.”

The winner of the AIC’s 2015 Pleiades Award is professional golfer Jimmy Walker. Although he started imaging only in 2010, his talents with telescope and camera are impressive. Because of his golfing accomplishments, however, his unusual pastime was noticed and commented on by a number of interviewers.

Through public appearances, Walker has done more to introduce deep space and astroimaging to the general public than any other individual before or since. Walker has a natural ability to process beautiful pictures quickly. He also gives astroimaging tips for new imagers on Celestron’s website.

You can view his image gallery at

AIC’s major recognition prize for 2015 is its Hubble Award. The group gives it to those individuals who have demonstrated significant and sustained contributions to the astrophotography community over a period of years. Production of fine images is only one criteria. Others include popularization through public outreach, technical innovation, scientific contributions, and selfless direct support to  other imagers.

Ken Crawford is one of the founding members of AIC. And in 2015, he's also the recipient of the organization's highest accolade, its Hubble Award.
I’m happy to announce that the 2015 Hubble Award has been presented to my friend, Ken Crawford, one of the founding fathers of AIC and its former president. He’s also one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Crawford started imaging in 8th grade. In 2002, he opened Rancho Del Sol Observatory and equipped it with a research-grade 20-inch Ritchey-Chrétien telescope. His images have appeared online and in numerous publications (yes, including Astronomy).

In addition to imaging for fun, Crawford has made serious contributions to science. He works with an international team of professional astronomers who are investigating the evolution of galaxies through the discovery and analysis of ancient galactic merger remnants known as star streams.

He is a tremendous resource for fellow astroimagers. His willingness to divulge advanced techniques through emails, phone calls, one-on-one training sessions, conference presentations, and free DVD tutorials is legendary. Crawford remains one of the most energetic and effective evangelists for astroimaging.

More as it happens.

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