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Amateur Astrophotography Poster Exhibit

Are you an amateur astrophotographer? If so, then at the 224th AAS meeting in Boston, on Tuesday, 3 June 2014, you’ll have a rare opportunity to share your work with professional astronomers. A dedicated poster session in the AAS Exhibit Hall at the Westin Copley Place will provide a venue for you to display some of your best images and to talk about them with hundreds of interested scientists, students, and fellow amateurs.

This will not be a regular AAS science session. You won’t need to discuss or defend the physics of the objects and processes captured in your images. Instead, you should expect to be asked about your hardware and software, imaging and processing methods, and artistic considerations.

The exhibit is not meant to include images from professional astronomers, whether or not such images were obtained at professional observatories or with spaceborne telescopes. It is intended to showcase the work of skilled astronomy hobbyists, i.e., experienced amateur astronomers such as those who belong to amateur-astronomy or photography clubs. Professional photographers are welcome to participate, as long as you are not employed in astronomy. Photos obtained at your private observatory, or using a remote observatory rented using your own funds, are welcome. While we recognize that some wonderful astrophotos are being created using data obtained by professional astronomers and processed by amateurs, for the purposes of this exhibit we expect you, yourself, to have captured and processed the images displayed on your poster.

We aim to feature celestial scenes that are compelling and interesting, beautiful to look at, and/or offer unusual perspectives on astronomical objects or phenomena. In other words, we want images like those that appear regularly on the “Astronomy Picture of the Day” and “The World at Night” websites.

Rules for Participation

To participate you must register for the meeting at the special one-day rate for amateur astronomers, put up your poster by 9:00 am EST on Tuesday, 3 June, and stand by your poster during the evening poster session from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Note that amateur registration not only grants you admission to the Exhibit Hall but also to the four prize and invited talks given by distinguished astrophysicists throughout the day as well as to the two presentations designed especially for amateur astronomers at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm (see the online science program for details).

Each participating astrophotographer will be given access to a standard poster-session board area, which measures 44 inches square, and must follow the same guidelines as all other AAS poster presenters. Most presenters gather all their text and graphics into a single document (typically a PowerPoint slide) and print it out as a large poster at a Staples store or other local print shop. We encourage you to do that, but you don’t have to; if you prefer, you may print and post multiple individual photos, captions, etc., as long as everything fits comfortably within the allotted 44-by-44-inch space. Whatever approach you use to creating your display, we encourage you to keep text to a minimum (say, less than 1 square foot in total), since our primary goal is to showcase beautiful pictures.

Your poster should be able to stand on its own so that viewers can appreciate it even if you’re not there to provide additional information when they walk by. Be sure to include your name, a brief bio, a basic description of your equipment and methods, and a short caption for each photo. Please also include a mug shot or other photo of yourself to help attendees at the meeting recognize you.

You may bring a tablet or laptop computer to show additional images while standing next to your poster, but note that there is no power available and that you may not use a portable projector to display images on a wall or screen. Do not leave your computer unattended in the Exhibit Hall, as the  AAS cannot be held responsible for it.

As a participant, you must cover all your costs, including transportation, lodging, and printing your photos for display. The AAS will not reimburse any expenses associated with the exhibit. Your participation signifies your agreement that your work may be photographed by the AAS in context as a poster presentation and with respect for your copyright.

Apply to Participate (Deadline: 2 May 2014)

To apply to display your work in our amateur astrophotography exhibit, please fill out our application form; the deadline is 2 May 2014. Qualified applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until the available space (enough for at most 20 presenters) is filled. "Qualified" means only that the submitter is an amateur astronomer rather than a professional, that he or she has a sufficiently diverse portfolio of high-quality (sharply focused, properly exposed, sensibly composed) celestial images to prepare a compelling poster, and that his or her photos are not too similar to others already accepted (to ensure a variety of targets, fields of view, and techniques). Photos will not be judged during the poster session; this is an exhibition, not a competition.

The exhibit will be curated by Jason Kendall (William Paterson University), who has master's degrees in astronomy and fine arts. We do not want astrophotographers sending Mr. Kendall images for review. Instead, on the application form you'll be asked to provide a link to a website where your images are posted and to indicate which images in the collection you wish to display. Only photos that are identified in advance will be allowed to be put on the poster board. If you wish to add/substitute one or more images taken after submission, you should contact Mr. Kendall for permission. The AAS reserves the right to deny the display of posters and/or photographs that do not meet the ethical standards of the Society.

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