November 16, 2019 on 3:05 pm | In Planets | Comments Off

Well, yesterday I was notified that the Minor Planet 2000 EM20 discovered by the Catalina Survey on March 3rd 2000, has been designated as (71615) Ramakers by the International Astronomical Union. So now you can visit me not only in Oxford but also in space! Thanks to  Richard Hill for being the driving force behind this.

November 11, 2019 on 4:39 pm | In Planets, Sun | Comments Off

The Mercury Transit 2019.

Well, it did not start good, and did not end good, but in between I was able to capture some images which were compromised by lots of clouds.  The first image that resulted in making out that Mercury was there, was at 1338 UT.  However the blotched image shows what we had to deal with.  During the second half of the transit it was not much better and resulted in only one image towards the end of the transit.  The goal was to capture images in half an hour intervals. Here six images recapping the event for 2019, which is totally different than the 2016 event, during which I was able to capture composites of the ingress and egress.

2019-11-11-1338_1-TR-Animation.jpg 2019-11-11-1408_1-TR-Animation.jpg 2019-11-11-1438_1-TR-Animation.jpg

2019-11-11-1508_1-TR-Animation.jpg 2019-11-11-1538_2-TR-540nm-6.jpg 2019-11-11-1708_1-TR-Animation.jpg

July 23, 2019 on 6:03 pm | In Jupiter | Comments Off

Today no Sun images (clouds) but an animation I made of the GRS on Jupiter.  The GRS has been very active in the last few months and many observers have imaged the GRS and submitted the images to the ALPO Archive.  Using some of this data, allowed me to compose an animation of the activity between May 11 and July 20th.  I flattened each image using WinJupos’ measure and map features giving me images with uniform dimensions.  This process was followed by combining and aligning them in Photoshop and finally cropping and generating the animation.  I would like to thank Clyde Foster, Anthony Wesley, Damien Peach, Christopher Go, Mike Hood and  James Willinghan, whose images made this animation possible.
I am far from an expert on Jupiter, but looking closely will show among others, how the red material is pealed off and funneled out, how the large flakes progress, and the ”chimney” North of the GRS hollows opens.  (Click the thumbnail below to open the animated image)

This animation recalled memories of 10 years ago when I made a similar animation of the impact scar on Jupiter, showing its progression between July 19 and August 31 of 2009.


May 11, 2016 on 10:19 am | In Planets, Sun | Comments Off

Well, I did submit the images, data and calculations for the Planetary Transit Special Award.  The pictures show the over 2 foot picture of the composite images of the Sun and a close up showing the parallax between the two sites.  The idea is to calculate the distance between the Sun and Earth ( 1 AU) using this information.  I believe I did not bad, so we’ll wait and see what the coordinator of this program says.

2016-05-09Mercury0004.JPG 2016-05-09Mercury0002.JPG

March 29, 2015 on 1:30 am | In Jupiter | Comments Off

Saturday evening was the first time in a very long time where the seeing was relative good for planetary imaging, so I gave Jupiter a try. Made a total of 8 series and one of them was usable. The GRS is just rising at the preceding limb and the NEB shows a large disturbance.


February 19, 2015 on 4:41 pm | In Jupiter, Planets | Comments Off

Where are those rainy and cloudy days good for?   To reprocess and  process the images which have not been processed yet. The seeing that night was terrible, but I am glad with the way the reprocessed series came out.   Here an overview of half of the double mutual event on January 28th when Io got eclipsed by the shadow of Europa.  The full double event can be seen in the animation. Click image on right for the animation.

2015-01-28EclipseOverview.jpg 2015-01-28Eclipse0617-58-60.gif

January 24, 2015 on 12:26 pm | In Jupiter, Planets | Comments Off

Well, as expected the triple shadow transit was clouded over.  I followed the transits and events on-line.  Was hoping that the Griffith Observatory in LA would bring some nice images, but the feed was terrible.  Very unstable skies.  Every once in a while you could see some banding.  Bate-Papo from Brazil had the best feed for most of the event, but they stopped showing before the third shadow showed up and went into a discussion reviewing what had happened, so Heart of Texas was the final straw!!  :-)   Below screenshot of the three shadows just before Io’s shadow runs off the disk.

2014-01-24BrazilTripleShadowBate-PapoEstelar.jpg 2015-01-24TripleShadowHeartOfTexas.jpg

January 19, 2015 on 7:57 pm | In Jupiter | Comments Off

The Tale of the Triple Shadow Transit
……… and a whole lot more……

Some of us are hoping for clear skies to see the  Triple Shadow Transit on Jupiter in the early hours of 1/24/2015.
However, that is only part of the story, and here is the rest.

The fun starts around midnight when the shadows of Io and Calisto are visible on Jupiter and the moon Io is already in front of the Jovian disk near the Eastern limb.  As time goes on you will notice that the distance between the shadows declines as they transit across.  This is because the shadow from Calisto, which is much farther away from Jupiter than Io, moves relative slower on the planetary disk than the shadow from Io. Around 0:40 AM, Io’s shadow will have caught up to the shadow of Calisto and they will merge to one shadow.  However at the same time, Calisto’s shadow ”beam” will also partially eclipse the moon Io, so Io will become partially dark, which shows up from our vantage point as a small shadow against Jupiter behind it.  This shadow will pop up out of nowhere, and is only visible for a few minutes.  In the meantime around 1:15 am, Io has moved ahead and has caught up with Calisto’s shadow, and now it will start to cover, and block our visibility of the shadow of Calisto on Jupiter.  Io will not totally cover the shadow, but the change of the ”dark” shadow should be very well noticeable.  Finally, at 1:30 I would expect Europa’s shadow as well as the moon Calisto have moved onto the planetary disk as seen from Earth and you have arrived at your “Triple Shadow Transit”.

So you thought you’d see three shadows only?  Now you know what to look for in the 90 minutes leading up to the Triple Shadow Transit.  And once you have seen this, think again what you just witnessed.  This is why I am so excited this year about the chance to see what those many “Mutual Events” of the Jovian Moons create for us to observe from Earth.
Complicated?  I’ve added some screen shots of what will happen to make it better understandable.
Clear Skies,
Theo Ramakers
Images generated with WinJUPOS.

January 19, 2015 on 1:54 pm | In Jupiter, Planets | Comments Off

In 2009 I was pretty active in Planetary imaging, including imaging the Mutual Events between the Jovian Moons.  This year Earth and Jupiter are lined up again for these events, but so far the weather has been terrible here.  Tonight however, we had clear skies and as so many times in 2009 the conditions were awful.  Although no clouds, the Jetstream and wind gusts caused seeing conditions of 1 to 2 out of 6, which translates to a very wavy planetary disk.  However, I wanted this so bad so took a chance.  Captured 48 total images in R, G, B and IR and ended up using 3 IR images. The animation shows Jupiter and its moons in IR at 02:22.0 UT, 02:35.6 UT, and 02:473.7 UT.  The shadow is from Ganymede.  Ganymede is moving from the right to the left towards the Jovian disk, while Europa which just appeared coming from behind the disk, moves to the right.  At 02:35 Ganymede which was in front occulted Europa.  (The middle image).  Apologies for the bad quality.  This was not caused by a lack of processing, and yes, the moons have been pushed a bit in levels to make them brighter in the images. Click the thumbnail to see the animation.


January 18, 2015 on 9:34 am | In Jupiter, Planets | Comments Off

In the evening of January 18th, the Jovian moon Ganymede occulted Europa.  While Ganymede was moving in front of Jupiter towards the Jovian disk, which showed its shadow, Europa came from behind the disk while moving to the right in the sequence.  At 2:34 UT Ganymede occulted Europa.  The seeing conditions were bad up to 1-2 out of 6, but if you want to capture such an event you don’t ask for anything but that you can see it.  I took 12 sets of LRGB captures for a total of 48 images (Just in case).  A total of over 18GB of data, and ended up using only three IR  images.  The moons have been pushed quite a bit to make them come out better.  This was my first capture of Jupiter, and a Mutual Event as well, during the current apparition.  Click the thumbnail to see the animation.


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