About Me

Welcome to my Astronomy website.  My name is Theo Ramakers.  I live in Oxford, Georgia and I will use this site to show images made by me, and to discuss, when appropriate, topics of interest regarding Astronomy and Space travel.

This site will always be a project in development, so please come back and see what has been added.

Thanks you for visiting and let me know what you think about it.

In 2012 we moved from Social Circle to Oxford Georgia, a beautiful small college town a little bit closer to Atlanta.  This is where Emory University was born. :-)    I feel bad that I was not able to take my observatory with me, but the markings on the driveway do a great job and allow me to setup my rig in no time.

In the meantime I have much more focused on Solar astronomy and now use regularly two imaging platforms.  I still use the Skywatcher EQ6 with the C11, which I traded for the C9.25. However, the pier I used in Social Circle has now been replaced with a sturdy tripod.  I have augmented this setup with a home made Solar filter made from Baader 3.5um film.  This film does not block the sunlight sufficiently for visual observing, but it blocks the light enough to allow additional filters in the light train and still allow a very high shutter speed for imaging.  Adding to this a 2x Meade 140 barlow allows me to make great close ups of sunspots and the regions around it.

The Second platform I use is my good old SolarMax 40 Ha telescope which I mount on a Celestron CE5. I add a 3x barlow if I want to close in a bit more on the active regions and sunspot groups.  My CaK PST is showing old age.  The coating in the blocking filter has started to corrode and affects the quality of the images, so I use this very sparsely, until one day I can get this fixed. 

As far as cameras, I’ve been using a DMK21AU04.AS as well as a DMK41AU02.AS and sporadic a Canon Rebel XT as imaging cameras and they have served me real well.  My newest addition is a ZWO ASI120MM camera which has a 3.75u pixel size which reduces the chip size to 1/3″ for 1200 pixels.  This should allow high res pictures if the turbulence and the jet stream work a little with me.  Following some pictures of my current setup:

2013-08-11MyEquipm952.JPG   2013-08-11MyEquipm955.JPG  

2013-08-11MyEquipm953.JPG   2013-08-11MyEquipm954.JPG  

2013-08-11MyEquipm956.JPG   2013-08-11MyEquipm957.JPG

Before 2012:

 I am a retired professional with a real interest in Astronomy.   I live in Social Circle, a small town 50 miles East of Atlanta, with my wife Romaine.  My house is located approx. 2 miles from Hard Labor Creek Observatory, which is owned and operated by Georgia State University and I enjoy the dark skies in this part of Georgia.

I am a member of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, and the Charlie Elliott Chapter of the Atlanta Astonomy Club and am the current Chapter Director.  My interest is focussed on observing and imaging the planets and deep sky objects.  I started imaging in the summer of 2007, so I still have a lot to learn.

Following a few images of my equipment:


Me and my CPC925
This image was taken at Charlie Elliott Observing Field


Imaging Plarform with the CPC925


Another close up of the configuration with the GSO focuser, the Celestron 2x Barlow, Filterwheel with LRGB filters and the DMK camera. 

Well, very soon I learned that imaging in an AltAz platform produces quite a lot of field rotation. I did some tests which proved that everyone who told me was right and I decided that I needed a wedge in order to make the images I wanted. I made a wooden test wedge, which was very “shakey”, so started a 3/4″ aluminum wedge with the help of Larry Owens. Thanks to Larry, I now have a home build sturdy wedge, which produces great results.

   Wedge04A.jpg Wedge08A.jpg

Next on the list comes guiding for long exposures and am currently fighting problems associated with the (lack of) support for a number of programs under Vista which runs on my Laptop.

Clear Skies!!
Theo Ramakers

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