CEDIC ’15

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The fourth edition of CEDIC was held March 6th-8th, 2015. CEDIC is short for “Central European Deepsky Imaging Conference”: as its name suggests, it is a very specialized conference devoted to deepsky imaging and related topics: imaging and processing techniques, equipment, special use cases, etc. This conference saw the participation of a number of amateur astronomers from, some of whom are really top-notch, and some equipment dealers who also sponsored the event.

he conference took place in Linz, Austria, in the “Ars Electronica Center” (http://www.aec.at/), a futuristic-looking building located along the banks of the Danube river, at about 1 km from the city center and 2 km from the main railway station. The AEC hosts a permanent multimedia exhibition and is equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia equipment. The “Deep Space” multimedia room, in particular, is big enough to host the plenary sessions, and can boast an array of 4K digital video projectors for 3D multimedia presentations.

This was my second time at CEDIC after 2013. I got the impression that the overall turnout was a bit lower than at the 2013 edition, but nevertheless still pretty good given it’s such a specialized event.

All presentations were given in English. Quite a few of them do offer a lot of technical tips & tricks, but they are short, thus making it very difficult to be able to take notes and follow the presentation at the same time. This is why this time I focused more on the workshops, hoping that their duration (about 2 hours) would allow me to take my time to delve a bit more into the topic at hand.

Together with some friends (among whom Lorenzo Comolli, Luigi Fontana and Edoardo Radice) and I decided to travel by car all the way from Italy, leaving early in the morning of Friday 6th. The journey is quite long (more than 8 hours), but time flies by if you are in good company :-)

On Friday evening the AEC was open, but only for registration. The conference itself lasted from early Saturday morning (8.30) until Sunday afternoon. The complete agenda of the conference is available here. Below is the list of presentations I attended.

Saturday March 7th

  • Christoph Kaltseis, “APF – Absolute Point of Focus”
  • Baader Planetarium, “The BACHES Echelle Spectrograph” (sponsored talk)
  • Lorenzo Comolli: “Under the Northern Lights”
  • Nicola Montecchiari, “ASCOM Scripting” (workshop)
  • Fabian Neyer: “Chasing Faint Objects – Image Processing Tips and Tricks”
  • Nikon Austria: “The new Nikon D810A” (sponsored talk)
  • Don Goldman: “Planetary Nebulae”
  • Multimedia show: “Uniview – Scaling the Universe (Take a look at our Universe in 3D)”

From an image processing technical standpoint I really liked Kaltseis’s presentation, who described a Photoshop-based technique (apparently, not very complicated :mrgreen:) for enhancing the details of subtle nebular structures, akin to the multiscale processing algorithm available in PixInsight. Fabian Neyer illustrated some advanced techniques to image and bring out the faintest portions of diffuse objects (e.g. the dim halo surrounding M27). Also very interesting was Lorenzo Comolli’s presentation on chasing northern lights.

Don Goldman (the maker of Astrodon filters, who was also this edition’s key speaker) gave a very interesting presentation on planetary nebulae. I also enjoyed the entertaining 3D show in the “Deep Space” room.

Nicola Montecchiari’s workshop deserves special mention. By far the most programming-oriented presentation in the whole conference, it turned out to be very interesting because it allowed me to deepen my knowledge of software development and interaction with the ASCOM platform under Windows. The secret is to use the AutoIt scripting engine, that makes it possible to develop small applications in a short time without having to be a .NET guru. The pros of this solution are its ease and speed of use, while the main turnoff is the lack of an IDE (i.e. lack of such tools as a visual GUI editor or an integrated debugger). Nevertheless, the whole thing is well worth a try: thank you Nicola!

Finally, as for the sponsors’ presentations I attended:

  • The “echelle” spectrograph from Baader (called “BACHES”) looks very interesting thanks to the clever idea of splitting the spectrum into multiple parallel lines (just as in a notebook), which makes it possible to acquire the whole spectrum of a target at high-resolution in just one single CCD frame. Too bad it’s quite expensive for the average amateur (around 7000 EUR).
  • I was also intrigued by the brand new Nikon D810A, Nikon’s first venture into the world of astrophotography. On paper its features are quite interesting, but it remains to be seen whether it will be a market hit or not, both because Nikon came quite late in this field and because of its likely high price tag (albeit the details have not been disclosed yet).

I devoted the whole of Sunday, March 8th, to two workshops:

  • Vicent Peris: “PixInsight – advanced color calibration and narrowband techniques”
  • Don Goldman: “Narrowband Image Processing”

The more interesting workshop was the one of Vicent Peris, who described some advanced processing techniques in PixInsight, with some really nifty “juicy bits”, although it was sometimes a bit too difficult for my level of knowledge. I’ll have to spend some time reviewing the contents if I manage. I also liked Don Goldman’s workshop on the acquisition and processing of narrowband images, and in particular on the behavior of extremely narrow-band filters (3 nm) depending on the f/ratio of the instrument.

After attending the last bits of the conference wrap-up, we headed back home around 15:30 for a trip of more than ten hours.

Some pictures from the conference can be found below. As I already pointed out, although it felt like this edition was kind of “low-key” compared with the 2013 one, it was very interesting nonetheless with many high-quality speakers and presentations. As usual, when I get back home the problem will be to find enough time to put the tips and tricks to good use… But that, of course, is another story. See you back in 2017! :mrgreen:

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Gino Bucciol of Officina Stellare and Ivan Mariotti of 10micron at the Officina Stellare booth

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

The FLI booth

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Baader Planetarium’s presentation on the BACHES spectrograph

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Lorenzo Comolli on chasing northern lights

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

The Atik booth

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

The Teleskop Service booth

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Two shots from Nicola Montecchiari’s talk on ASCOM scripting

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Two shots from Nicola Montecchiari’s talk on ASCOM scripting

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Going for lunch with Nicola Montecchiari and Vicent Peris (PixInsight)

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

The Ars Electronica Center and the Danube river

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Fabian Neyer’s presentation

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Two shots from the conference dinner

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Two shots from the conference dinner

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Vicent Peris’ workshop

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Don Goldman’s presentation

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

Don Goldman’s presentation

One shot from Christoph Kaltseis’s presentation

I wish one of these babies was mine! :-) (Picture taken at the Officina Stellare booth)

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