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AIC 2005

The Advanced Imaging Conference 2005 was held at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose on November 11-13. This year's conference attracted 180 participants, a 33% increase from last year. This conference is for the very serious amateur astrophotographer.

If you are interested in the science of astronomy, this might not be for you. If you like massaging images using Photoshop, it might be the best thing you have even seen. Not a single presentation discussed astronomy to any significant degree. Note that the name of the conference doesn't even sound astronomical. Instead there were talks on:
* detecting faint nebulas
* understanding how seeing works
* using the new larger format CCD cameras
* narrow band imaging techniques
* Photoshop tricks and tips

This conference does a lot of things right. First of all, lunch and supper on Saturday are provided. Second, a CD-ROM of the presentations is sent to all attendees a few weeks after the conference.

I felt like a white-belt in a conference filled with black-belts. So what do I do? Well, for starters, I don't pick any fights. Although, I wanted to hear someone talk about the new Richey-Chretien telescopes from Meade. As I reported from last years' AIC, the RC scope is close to standard equipment among this crowd. But Meade wasn't a sponsor and they were rarely mentioned.

I talked to one vendor about what I thought was a high price for his narrow-band filters. He patiently explained to me that for CCD imaging you need filters that block out the infrared and cheaper filters don't do that. OK, but still doesn't fit my budget.

Because of the highly technical and specific nature of the conference, most of the talks would not appeal to a general astronomy audience. But Lisa Frattore from the Hubble team gave a very accessible talk. She had several interesting facts to share - some of which you can read in Editor's Semi-Dark Matter on page 6.

There is no direct connection between this conference and the SJAA but the conference organizers noted the SJAA swap in their pre-conference e-mails and also made an announcement for it during the last day. We put a notice about the conference on our web page.


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