Sad news in the world of amateur astronomy arrived this week. The organizers of the 20-year-old Advanced Imaging Conference, a gathering held periodically in San Jose, California, announced that this major gathering is coming to an end. The event was famous as a meeting where astro enthusiasts could share the latest tips, techniques, and ideas relating to capturing their own images of the night sky and to make the most of processing them with increasingly sophisticated imaging processing software.
A hundred or more dedicated astroimagers typically attended the AIC, as it became known, and it was celebrated as a leading place where the cutting edge images could be shown and described. Organizers included such astroimaging luminaries as Ken Crawford (the board’s president), Bob Fera, Warren Keller, and Adam Block. I was privileged to attend and speak at the AIC, and what a wonderful and warm group of folks it is who ran this meeting.
With the high costs of operating an in-person event in the Bay area, the methods and equipment for imaging the cosmos becoming simpler over recent years, and with fewer younger people traveling to in-person events, perhaps this was inevitable. Still, many cherished memories exist for hundreds of amateur astronomers who attended the AIC and learned a vast amount about their hobby and their craft within its confines.
Still, the AIC has much to offer. The web site, advancedimagingconference.com, contains a vast library of information of incredibly high value. It consists of more than 100 presentations from 2012 through 2022, and more than 2,000 astronomy enthusiasts are subscribed to this valuable bank of information. You can find out more about the history and the heritage of the AIC at the web site. All I can say is that the efforts of the AIC Board and those who contributed to its meetings gave a great deal to their fellow amateur astronomers. They are providing a huge legacy of information that will be highly valuable for many years to come.
David J. Eicher is Editor of Astronomy, author of 26 books on science and history, and a board member of the Starmus Festival and of Lowell Observatory.