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This page is an introduction to the “CMO Meetings in History”. The CMO was first published on 25 January 1986, and the first CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers was held in September 1987. The following are synopses of the CMO Meeting series ever since.

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1st CMO Meeting (1987, Okinawa)


The 1st CMO Meeting of the Japanese Planetary Observers was held on the evening of the 23 September 1987 at the Moon Beach of the Okinawa mainland on the occasion of the annular eclipse phenomenon on the day. This Meeting was organised by Isao MIYAZAKI (My), Hiroshi ISHADOH (Id), Yasunobu HIGA (Hg) and Tetsuo WAKUGAWA (Wk). Participants included our members such as T AKUTSU (Ak), T ASADA (As), T ISHIBASHI (Is), T KUMAMORI (Km), N MATSUMOTO (Mt), M MINAMI (Mn), T NAKAJIMA (Nj) in addition to the four Okinawa members. The Meeting began at 20:00 JST and lasted until 24:00. WAKUGAWA commented on his various experiments on TP2415 and Rodinal, and his photos of Jupiter made by the use of a 31 cm spec attracted many persons. WAKUGAWA’s hand-made poor-looking 15 cm reflector by which he produced excellent TP photos of Mars in 1986 was also taken notice of the attendants. We first heard MIYAZAKI’s project to have a 40cm big Newtonian to be used for the coming 1988 Mars.

The annular eclipse was successfully watched on the day: ASADA, MINAMI, MIYAZAKI and NAKAJIMA joined the group organised by MATSUMOTO (Nagasaki Astronomical Society) at Manza-mo: The photo at the right-hand side here was taken just after the phenomenon at Manza-mo, Okinawa: left to right, (behind) Mt, My, Mrs ASADA and As, (front) Mn (sitting) and Nj (squatting without hat). We heard ISHADOH and HIGA observed at the Zanpa Cape, Yomitan. 


The Report was published in CMO #039 (15 October 1987).


2nd CMO Meeting (1988, Tokyo)


The 2nd CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers was held on 15 March 1988 at Asakusa, Tokyo chez Motomaro SHIRAO (the Tokuhon-ji Temple) on the occasion Naoya MATSUMOTO (Mt) stopped over Tokyo before going to an island of the Philippines on 18 March (to watch a total solar eclipse). The Meeting was organised by Tomio AKUTSU (Ak), and joined by T ISHIBASHI (Is), H HASEGAWA (Hs), T NAKAGAMI (Ng), Yoichi KIMURA as well as M SHIRAO (Sr) and N MATSUMOTO (Mt).


 They were all the members of AKUTSU’s seminar on the photographic study of the planets, and they discussed their means to be used in the 1988 Mars apparition (Mars was at opposition on 28 September 1988 and was closest to the Earth on 22 September). For example they discussed about the use of the films and the filters: Re the Blue filters, the B390 (350~450nm) and the Comet-A (400~500nm) were compared, the latter being more transparent. They also argued about the use of the Green filter.


The report of the Meeting was written by T AKUTSU and published in CMO #048 (25 March 1988) at p 0412.


Photo here is by MATSUMOTO: left to right; (behind) Ng, Sr, Hs and Is; (front) KIMURA, Ak and Mt. 


3rd CMO Meeting (1989, Fukui)


Just seeing the great apparition of the 1988 Mars off, Takashi NAKAJIMA (Nj) organised at the beginning of January 1989 a small CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers at the Fukui City Museum of Natural History.


Tomio AKUTSU (Ak) took a night train to Fukui and arrived on the early morning of the 2nd , and was met by an old friend of his living in Fukui. They spent the morning in visiting the Eiheiji Temple, one of the most famous Zen-sect temples in Japan, and then Ak was brought to and arrived at the City Museum at 1 o’clock PM where Nj welcomed Ak. Before long, Tadashi ASADA (As) and Masatsugu MINAMI (Mn) arrived there. (As started from Kanazawa, his hometown, and fetched Mn at Mikuni on the way, and drove up to the Museum together.)


We all talked in a small conference room first about Ak’s plan to edit and publish an album of TP photos of the 1988 Mars taken by the domestic contributors to the CMO. Then we watched Video images of the Viking Orbiters from “The Planetary Image Videodisc Volume 1” (NASA/JPL). Before evening ASADA excused to leave because he had another engagement.


The day it was very fine, and the rooftop of the Museum commanded a nice view of the Fukui City and the white mountains (including Haku-san) on the skyline. We were able to catch the red planet in the west sky at about 16:30 JST under a favourable seeing condition by the 20 cm ED refractor of the Fukui City Observatory atop the Museum, and took several drawings. Ak watched also the planet Jupiter by the telescope and assured that the image the refractor gave was good. The sky was still clear but it was too cold to continue, and so we three, Ak, Nj and Mn, we drove down to Mikuni, and chatted until midnight (more exactly Nj went to bed at midnight, but Ak and Mn talked until upto 2:30 AM hearing Nj’s snore).


On 3 January, we started at 11:00 AM. We first went and showed Ak the cliffs at Tohjinbo, and then turned back to the JR Fukui station to welcome Isao MIYAZAKI (My). MIYAZAKI arrived about noon, and then we all went up to the City Museum where ASADA (As) waited. We five first discussed again the coming form of AKUTSU’s edition of photofolios. Then we watched an NHK-TV programme (videonised) which was on air when Mn was abroad at Taipei in 1988. On the first stage of the programme, Ak was taken the motion-pictures with his family at his Observatory. Next we watched the Video images of Mars and Jupiter made by Yasunobu HIGA (Hg) at Okinawa by the use of My’s 40 cm telescope equipped with Canon’s Ci-20R CCD Video Camera. This work was great.


Meanwhile, Hideo NAKASHIMA, Kanazawa Hoshi-no-Kai, arrived. Finally Teruaki KUMAMORI (Km) reached the Museum by car from Sakai, and we readily opened the  3rd CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers. We first introduced ourselves, and then Nj talked about a bit of history of the Fukui City Observatory since 1952. Our main discussion was concerned with the observations during the last great apparition of Mars.  We were proud of the significance and high quality of the observations submitted to the CMO during the apparition. We also discussed about several delicate problems of the visual observations. More than 2000 observations were submitted to the CMO including Mn’s 700+ alfa numbers of drawings. A photo here shows the bulk of the reports we received on the desk. From left to right, behind: Km, My, As and NAKASHIMA, front: Ak, Nj and Mn.


We were also at the Observatory, while it was cloudy the evening, and so after appreciating Ak’s and My’s slides, we all drove down to Mn’s home at Mikuni, and there we continued to discuss. Km’s drawings of the 1988 Mars and the excellent My’s photo and drawing filed were there. We talked more than 5 or 6 hours there and went to bed late at night.


The last photo here was taken on 4 January at Mikuni. Left to right; My, Km, Ak, As and Mn. On the early afternoon of 4 January, Ak left Fukui. Said good-bye to him at the station, As, Km, Mn, and My went to visit the Eiheiji Temple. The Temple was opened by a Zen priest called Dohgen (1200~1252). It is situated at the mountain-side, and it began to snow when we reached. So we saw at the same time the temple with a snowscape. KUMAMORI then took a way home through the super-highway.


As, Mn and My, joined by Nj in Fukui went back to again to the City Museum to watch the DiscVideoThe planetary Images”. This time we choose the rear side where many of the Jovian surfaces appeared as the Voyagers approached and passed by the biggest planet. Meanwhile Hideki YOKOGAWA (Yk), Fukui, joined and showed us several colour slides of Mars taken in 1988 at the Fukui City Observatory.


At Mikuni, MIYAZAKI and MINAMI discussed more about several topics including methods of Mars watching based on their fruitful results of 1988 Martian observations. They sat up late all night talking.


Fifth day was the last day, and As came down from Kanazawa at noon. As, My and Mn went to Tohjinbo and saw the sights of the cliffs – Ak did on the 3rd – and then As and My drove up to Kyoto through a super-highway. Mn remained and the evening watched Mars with Nj at the Fukui City Observatory.


ASADA and MIYAZAKI dropped in the Kwasan Observatory, Kyoto University, Kyoto, and My took a flight from Osaka to Okinawa on 6 January. As stayed at the Observatory a few days more.


This is based on the report appeared in CMO #067 (10 January 1989) p0516.



INTERMISSION (1); The next meeting was held in 1994, and so we did not have the CMO Meeting for about four years. This was perhaps partly because the following apparitions became gradually aphelic, and partly because the substance of the CMO communications has grown richer: Meanwhile the edition became performed by means of personal computer. We instead set up several occasions of the CMO Mars Watching Days. Otherwise we held workshops when anybody came up to the Fukui City Observatory. For example, Tohru IWASAKI (Iw) who has been one of the members from the outset does not appear in the abov e Meetings, but he stayed at the Observatory in May 1988 and so on for a few days with Mn and Nj.


In 1993 on 19 May, Mrs Elisabeth SIEGEL (ESg) from Malling, Denmark visited us at the Fukui City Observatory on the occasion her husband Wayne SIEGEL (music composer) was invited by a Music Festival at Takefu. She has been known as a Mars observer since 1988 and this was a good opportunity to exchange goodwill and information. Their son Gabriel was 10 years of age at that time. Photo in front of the Museum: left to right: Gabriel, Wayne, Elisabeth, Mn, Nj, Yasuji NAGAI, Akinori NISHITA (Ns). The other photo shows Elisabeth inside the dome of the Fukui City Observatory. Reported in CMO #133, ~137.


Tadashi ASADA (As) resigned from Editor in 1990 because he was to go over to the Cornell University, Ithaca, for study (Jovian atmosphere), and was taken his place by Akinori NISHITA (Ns). Masami MURAKAMI (Mk) joined us in 1990, and has worked as an Editor of the CMO from May 1996, and soon opened the CMO-Web.

4th CMO Meeting (1994, Fukui)


In August 1994, the OAA Annual General Convention was held at Fukui, and subsequently we had the 4th CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers from 7 to 8 August.


On 6 August, NISHITA (Ns) and MINAMI (Mn) first welcomed Y HIGA (Hg) from Okinawa at the Komatsu Airport nearly at noon, and drove up to the Fukui City Museum of Natural History. H ISHADOH (Id) from Okinawa arrived at the JR Fukui Station and was welcomed by NAKAJIMA (Nj) and brought to the Museum. They saw the special Exhibition of the Museum where a lot of Mars work in these 40 years were shown. Ns then brought Id and Hg to Mikuni to visit an old Buddhist Temple (Takidanji Temple) where the oldest Star Map made in Japan is kept in as well as to see the sights of the sea shore near Midori-ga-Oka. Nj and Mn greeted T IWASAKI (Iw) and M MURAKAMI (Mk) as well as Toshihiko OSAWA at the Fukui Station. Nj sent OSAWA to a hotel he reserved and then brought us to Mikuni to meet Id, Hg and Ns: We dined there, and Ns went back to Fukui to see Kunihiko OKANO (Ok) who were to give a talk at the OAA Annual Convention on the ccd method for astronomy. Ns sent Iw to a hotel he reserved in Fukui. Others, Id, Hg, Mk and Mk stayed at Mikuni and talked until late at night.


On 7 August, Ns brought four of us (Id, Hg, Mk and Mk) in the morning to Fukui. T HIKI (Nk) was already welcomed by Nj. N MATSUMOTO (Mt), Y MORITA (Mo) and H NARITA (Nr) also arrived at the station. T AKUTSU (Ak) and T ISHIBASHI (Is) and maybe also T KUMAMORI (Km) drove up to the Museum. In the afternoon, a Matinée of the OAA Annual Convention was held at the Lecture Hall of the Museum attended by a lot of audiences. AKUTSU and OKANO gave additional talks in the evening.



The first photo here: from left to right, (behind) Nj, Hg, Mt, Ak, Mn, Iw, Nr, OSAWA, (front) Ns, Mo, Id, Is, ANDOH, Mk, Hk.



The Main Convention of the OAA was held on 8 August at a Lecture Hall of the Fukui City Phoenix Plaza throughout the day with a large audience of more than 120 persons. We had also a Banquet there. We also enjoyed a conversation with Toshihiko OSAWA. After the banquet, the CMO members went to the Museum to have the 4th CMO Meeting: First we watched the planet Jupiter where the scars made by the collision of the Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 fragments were still visible. Meanwhile we moved to the Lecture Hall to listen to Sadao MURAYAMA who kindly agreed to give us a special talk on the planetary observations; this was planned as the First Session of the CMO Meeting. S MURAYAMA, born in 1924, was 70 years of age at that time, but he sounded quite young. The First Session ended at about 22:30. Nj and Ns sent MURAYAMA and others to hotels, and the remaining members continued the Second Session up until the next morning. We talked in all, but sometimes separately: The computer monitor was controlled by the ccd groups of Ak and others, and the visual observers also made a group of discussion. Id and Iw compared their recent drawings each other, and there was also other files of observations. When the planet Saturn was at meridian we gathered at the Observatory. ISHIBASHI (Is) took the Saturnian images by the use of a handy video camera, as to which Hg was very attentive.


Our final aim was however to catch the planet Mars in the morning sky. At 2:30 JST, the sky looked cloudy. However when Id, Hg and Mn took a rest at the roof top looking down the night view of the City, the sky became gradually cleared, and finally Mars was caught. The apparent diameter was still small of 5 arcsecs, but the seeing condition gave us a nice view of Mars: Id first set out to make a drawing by the 20cm refractor, and then Mn, Iw, Mk, Nr and Nj followed. Each captured thus the first light of Mars of the 1995 Apparition (Mars was at opposition on 12 February 1995 with the maximal diameter of 13.9”; very aphelic), and thus the CMO season of Mars began. As the dawn broke, the 4th CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers was closed.


The report was published in CMO #148 (25 August 1994).

INTERMISSION (2); The second overseas guest of planetary observer to the CMO or to the Fukui City Museum was Giovanni Alberto QUARRA SACCO (GQr). He visited us on 9 September 1996 and stayed until 11 September, together with Masami MURAKAMI (Mk). It was not so before when Gianni QUARRA started to communicate with us: it was really on 7 February 1996 that he first faxed to us, though his work on Mars in 1995 was already cited in CMO #167 p1766 (introduced by Paolo TANGA). We previously communicated with Marco FALORNI, while it was sad he passed away of lung cancer at the end of 1995, and then Gianni came to know the existence of the CMO found among Marco's relics documents. Almost every year he was to come to Japan on vacation (as well as on business) with his wife and son: His wife, Hiromi-san, is a Japanese from Kyoto, and Gianni almost was to stay in and near Kyoto, and so it must have been convenient for him to see Mn who worked there, but just on hot summer vacation, we had an honour of seeing Gianni at Fukui. We enjoyed observations of Jupiter, Hale-Bopp comet and conversations during his stay. Click here for more detail.


The first photo here: left to right; Nj, GQr, Mn and Mk. The second photo inside the dome: left to right; Mk, GQr, Mn, Nj and Ns. The report was recorded in CMO #179 (25 September 1996).


5th CMO Meeting (1996, Fukui)


The third overseas guest was Francis OGER (FOg), an SAF member as well as a CNRS logical mathematician at Université de Paris 7. We received a FAX from him on 18 July and heard that he would arrive on 23 August and stay from 16 to 20 September at the Tsukuba University. So we invited him to Fukui, consulted with Masami MURAKAMI (Mk) and Toshiaki HIKI (Hk) as well as with the CMO Fukui members and decided to hold an Night Extra of CMO Workshop at Fukui on 12~13 October. (Mk already met OGER by chance on 28 September. On 10 October Masami MURAKAMI (Mk) first arrived and OGER did at the JR Awara-Onsen station and welcomed by Mn and Mk. We were then all atop the Fukui City Museum, but OGER looked to be disappointed with the light-polluted sky at Fukui.

On the next evening of 11 October, we all were invited by Mr Noboru TSUJIOKA (amateur astronomer in Fukui) to his Observatory equipped with a 26 cm Newtonian which was located in a darker outskirt. We enjoyed the time with TSUJIOKA’s group. The sky was gradually cleared, and so we hurried to the City Observatory to observed the transit of the white oval on the Saturnian surface. Mk observed that its CMT was 13:13 GMT, and followed by Mn to check the first end of the faint dark line.


Next day NISHITA (Ns) guided OGER to the Eiheiji Temple. As they returned, Toshiaki HIKI (Hk) from Ina also arrived by car and then we gathered at Tohjinbo to take a lunch (crab-cooking). In the evening we went up to the Fukui City Museum to have the 5th CMO Meeting. Talks were given as follows:


1°  About the SAF and other groups in France by F OGER

2°  Recent rare phenomena on Saturn by M MURAKAMI

3°  About the coming Mars in 1997 by A NISHITA

4°  Dust clouds on the Martian northern hemisphere by M MINAMI.


We talked until 2:00 AM (on 13 September JST). The sky was cloudy, but around from 4:00 AM it became fine. And so Mk, Hk, Nj and Mn set out to observe and took the drawings of the planet Mars in the morning sky under good seeing by the use of the 20 cm refractor. Mk and Ns tried to find the Tabur Comet by a 16 cm Newtonian, and succeeded. Meanwhile NAKAJIMA (Nj) found Mercury was shinning by his naked eyes, and it was introduced inside the eye-field of the 16 cm telescope. The planet Venus was obvious. Thus Francis OGER watched all of the five planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn during his stay.


The photo here: left to right, (front) Ns, FOg and Hk, (behind) Mk, Mn and Nj


His stay at Fukui and Mikuni was reported in CMO #180 (25 October 1996) in Japanese.


6th CMO Meeting (1998, Fukui)


We had the 6th CMO Meeting on 3 January 1998 at the Fukui City Museum of Natural History, attended by (left to Right) T HIKI (Hk),  M MINAMI (Mn), Y HIGA (Hg), Gianni QUARRA (GQr), T AKUTSU (Ak), T NAKAJIMA (Nj), MURAKAMI (Mk) and A NISHITA (Ns).



On the afternoon of 1 January, HIGA (Hg) arrived and made a personal session with Ns on a ccd method. On 2 January, M MURAKAMI arrived. In the evening, we went to TSUJIOKA’s Observatory, and then up to the Fukui City Museum and watched Saturn with several satellites. On 3 January T AKUTSU arrived early by the use of a blue train. We, thus Ak, Hg, Mn, Mk, Nj and Ns welcomed also Gianni at the station at 10:10 JST. At 10:50 Nj took the chair at the Conference Room of the Fukui City Museum and started the 6th CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers: The talks were delivered as follows:


1. Tomio AKUTSU: CCD by Lynxx
2. Yasunobu HIGA: CCD Imaging by XV1000
3. Masatsugu MINAMI:1996/97 OAA Observations
4. Akinori NISHITA: Coming 1998/99 Mars
5. Giovanni QUARRA: CCD by ISIS
6. Masami MURAKAMI: Internet in 1997
7. Toshiaki HIKI: Fresh Resolute in 1999
8. Tomio AKUTSU: Jupiter Imaging
9. Giovanni QUARRA: Practice by MiPS

HIKI talking



After Ak’s interesting talk and discussion for about two hours, we went down to the station to see HIKI (Hk) who arrived at 13:35, and we took together our lunches in a Chinese restaurant. In the afternoon we continued the conference, and also into the night. GQr's talk and his images on the monitor most attracted the audience: His work has been well known among us because of beautiful images he and his colleagues took during the 1998/97 apparition by a combination of the telescope of 30cm f/24 Cassegrain and the camera ISIS CCD-800 14HS which contains Kodak-0400 sensor with 768 × 512 pixels as well as a chip of a 14-bit A/D converter which divides the digital signal into 214 = 16384 levels of brightness. Notable is that the camera is equipped with 8 bandpass filters out of which the blue one centred at 420nm was taken notice by all attendants. QUARRA showed us a lot of images of Planets as well as his colleagues at Pic and others. It seems to be easy to obtain the Mercator map of Jupiter by MiPS. The highlight of the show on the monitor was the image of the planet Saturn which rotated, and our eyes, as if seeing from the windows of a space-craft, could watch gradually the rear side of the planet while the scattered stars were moving and another planet came into sight. What wonderful workmanship! We all involuntarily clapped hands for the work: Gianni joined us in our ovation also by applauding in praise of Andrea LEO to whom he owed much.


The Meeting was thus intimate and pleasant as well as instructive. We continued our discussion nearly until midnight. We then moved to Mikuni, and talked until 3:00 AM over glasses of beer.


Click here for more details of the Meeting. This was recorded in CMO #199 (25 January 1998).         


7th CMO Meeting (1999, Fukui)


The 7th CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers was held on 2, 3 and 4 May 1999 at the Fukui City Museum. This was a workshop held when the planet Mars was still close to the Earth (closest on 1 May 17h GMT with the maximal diameter =16.2 arc secs), but unfortunately the sky condition was not favourable during the period. The Workshop was participated by Hiroshi ISHADOH (Id) and Yasunobu HIGA (Hg) who took a flight from Okinawa, by Tomio AKUTSU (Ak) and Masami MURAKAMI (Mk) who drove up by car from the Kantoh district and by Tohru IWASAKI (Iw) by train from Kita-Kyushu. From Fukui, M MINAMI (Mn), T NAKAJIMA (Nj) and A NISHITA (Ns) attended. We prepared four telescopes for eight persons including one 30 cm Meade SCT and two 25 cm Meade SCTs to observe at the same time. By the use of these telescopes, we produced several drawings on 2 May as follows (the sky was not fully preferable). Note Id, Iw and Mk used the 20cm refractor for a bigger Mars for the first time:


Mk-126D  12:20 GMT   ω=251°W   400×20cm Refractor

Mn-478D  12:30 GMT   ω=254°W   370×25cm Meade SC

Iw-059D   12:35 GMT   ω=255°W   400×20cm Refractor

Id-060D   12:40 GMT   ω=256°W   400×20cm Refractor

Nj-257D   13:20 GMT   ω=266°W   400×20cm Refractor

Mk-127D  13:30 GMT   ω=268°W   400×20cm Refractor

Id-061D   13:30 GMT   ω=268°W   370×25cm Meade SC

Mn-479D  13:40 GMT   ω=271°W   370×25cm Meade SC

Iw-060D   13:50 GMT   ω=273°W   400×20cm Refractor

Id-062D   14:50 GMT   ω=288°W   400×20cm Refractor

Nj-258D   15:00 GMT   ω=290°W   370×25cm Meade SC


On the afternoon of 3 May, the main Meeting was held at the Lecture Hall of the Museum. Ak showed several excellent colour images of update Mars. He also gave a talk on his CCD Camera Teleris 2, his recent work and his method of image processing. Hg also talked. Finally Mn gave a long special talk on his cherished opinion on the Mars observation and phenomena, and also reviewed and criticised the recent Martian observations made by the CMO members. We discussed every night about the Martian images, domestic and abroad, ever taken on the monitors manipulated by Ak and Hg. 


See for more details the 1998/99 Mars CMO Note (6).

This is recorded in CMO #229 (25 March 2000) p2704.

8th CMO Meeting (2000, Yokohama)


The 8th CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers took place on 15, 16 and 17 September 2000 at a Conference Room of the Kanagawa Seishonen Centre (KYC) in Yokohama. This series of meetings has been designed and opened as occasion calls to form friendship and exchange data and information among the CMO members, and this time in view of the forthcoming 2001 Mars apparition, planned and organised was a kind of CMO Symposium by Masami MURAKAMI (Mk) and Hitomi TSUNEMACHI (Ts), Yokohama.


Participants are as follows: T AKUTSU (Ak), Y HIGA (Hg), H HASEGAWA (Hs), T ISHIBASHI (Is), T IWASAKI (Iw), M MINAMI (Mn), Y MORITA (Mo), M NAKAJIMA (Nk), A NISHITA (Ns), F OGER (FOg), K OKANO (Ok) and H OYAMADA (Oy) in addition to Mk and Ts from the CMO, and S KAMIDO, H KURUMADA and S KOYAMA from the YAA.


On the afternoon of 15 September, some members gathered at a café inside the KYC, and we had a pre-meeting there: an MGS image released on 13 September was talked about (showing a dust storm near the periphery of the north polar cap on 20 August 2000 (042°Ls)). In the evening we dined at the Yokohama China Town.


On 16 September, the main symposium was held as follows:


     09:00  Reception

     09:30  Opening Address ---------- Masami MURAKAMI

     09:40  Talk 1: Planetary CCD - Practice & Problems ---------- Tomio AKUTSU

     10:30  Talk 2: 2001 Apparition of Mars. I ---------- Noriaki NISHITA

     11:00  Talk 3: 2001 Apparition of Mars. II  ---------- Masatsugu MINAMI

     12:00  Lunch

     13:00  Talk 4: Recall of the 1986 Apparition of Mars ----------Morimasa NAKAJIMA

     14:00  Tea Break - HIGA's 1999 Mars Video

     14:30  Talk 5: CCD Image Processing (on LRGB) ---------- Kunihiko OKANO

     15:30  Talk 6: Digital Video and Digital Cameras ----------Yasunobu HIGA

     16:20  Closing Address ---------- Masatsugu MINAMI

     17:00  Banquet

     19:00  Informal Meeting at a Hotel Lounge (MORITA joined)


Tomio AKUTSU (Ak) has been engaged in CCD observations of the major planets since 1994 by the use of Lynxx and Teleris 2 cooled CCD cameras attached to a Newtonian having a 32cm f/6.5 speculum whose second mirror is only of 18% in size. Recently he began to use the software called "StellaImage ver 3" which allows a ready and automatic composing of a lot of raw images. First Ak briefly compared the CCD system with the old system by the emulsions. He counts it merited to use a smaller f number with a shorter exposure time, but usually available CCD chips are not always sensitive to the shorter wave lengths. In this sense, he felt that the blue light images by the TP2415 emulsion looked still superior to any B images composed by the CCD chips even if the recommended KAF0400E was used. In the case of Mars, any chip must be at least better than 400E since the B image plays a specific role in the Mars observation. Ak however admitted that CCD hitherto opened variously wider ways to the planetary observations: For example, in the case of Jupiter, as he has been successful, a specific filter allows to choose lights from the methane band whose images discriminate well the upper currents from the lower ones on the Jovian surface. Ak also touched on some troubles common to the cooled CCD cameras.


Morimasa NAKAJIMA (Nk) has been well known as a Mars observer since 1956 when he witnessed independently the occurrence of the great dust cloud at Noachis. He here talked how he observed Mars in 1986 since the 2001 apparition was similar to the 1986 one. Nk began his talk based on his article written in 1987 about his observations of the 1986 Mars. His method was impressive; before the arrival of each season he compiled the data of several phenomena observed in the preceding apparitions in order of Ls lest he should not miss the timing to observe them again. He really showed us the document used in 1986.


Kunihiko OKANO (Ok) is one of originators of the so-called LRGB composition, and on this occasion he described to us how he got the idea (maybe in 1997), how one can make an LRGB image, and what kind of problems remain to be solved. Instead of using the decomposition into three primary RGB ingredients or into CYM colours, he picked out another decomposition, that is, into a Lab colour. Dr OKANO said that human eyes could not so sharply discern the boundaries of colours, and hence a poor RGB image might be enough to get a more sharpened image embodied with high S/N and high resolution if another sharper high-resolved monochrome image could be got and composed appropriately. Let us suppose we obtained one high-resolved monochrome image (high-L image) at the same time with a usual poor RGB colour image. Then first convert the RGB into the Lab colour. Out of the ingredients of L, a and b, the L part should then be replaced by the high-L image. One knows then the composed image of the high-L and the original a and b components turns out to be a high resolved colour image. Ok showed the planetary ab images were quite dim, and the main information should be confined in the L image. This conversely implies that one should concentrate only on getting an excellent monochrome image: This is much (tree times) easier than getting three good R, G and B images at the same time. Since in the case of the CCD imaging, one can further shoot images with further such modes as 3×3 binned one, one can much shorten the exposure time in obtaining deep sky or planetary colour images. Thus, though it was not easy to get nice colour emulsion images of Saturn before, but the LRGB method began recently to provide lots of excellent colour CCD images of Saturn. In the case of Mars, however, it is not easy to get an appropriate high-L monochrome image: If one uses a clear R or IR image as L, then it will never reproduce the white clouds and/or mists and the images could never be realistic. So Dr OKANO feels a need to combine the information from the violet range someway into the L image, where one may use the colour conversion filters to warm up the colour-temperature or use much more-sensitive-in-blue CCD chips such as back-illuminated UV2AR (made by the SITe; much superior to Kodak 400E chip). At any rate, the LRGB method for Mars should not be said yet fully established. Dr OKANO also alluded to a possible usefulness of the wedge prisms to cancel the light dispersions since the planet Mars in 2001 will be quite lower in the southern sky.


The final day on 17 September, we also had an informal meeting at the KYC in the morning: Nk and Mn summarised their talks (for the sake of Mo, who could not attend the day time session on 16 Sept). Tohru IWASAKI (Iw) talked then about how the colour of the Syrtis Mj underneath a morning mist should be called as well as how the northern mouth of Hesperia looked like in 1984 and 1999. T AKUTSU (Ak) used his favourite PC to show us how he image processed the recent Jovian images by the use of the StellaImage ver 3. His HD had a lot of planetary images including Don PARKER's Martian ones. Photo here, left to right: (standing) Ts, Mn, Mo, Iw and Mk; (front) Nk, Ak, Nr, and Hg.  


For more details and summaries of other talks, refer to the 2002 CMO Meeting Report.


The Report in the paper version of the CMO was published in CMO #235 (25 September 2000).

9th CMO Meeting (2001, Naha, Okinawa)


The 9th CMO Workshop (First Summer School) was organised by ISHADOH (Is), HIGA (Hg) and WAKUGAWA (Wk), and they kindly invited us to Okinawa on 20, 21 and 22 July 2001 when the dust cloud on the planet Mars looked attractive. MINAMI (Mn) was already staying there from 8 July, and on 20 July NISHITA (Ns), HIKI (Hk) and TSUNEMACHI (Ts) were welcomed at the Naha airport in the morning and MORITA (Mo) and MURAKAMI (Mk) arrived in the afternoon. We had a welcoming party at a restaurant called Ijyu-no-hana of Okinawa-cooking (without alcohol), and as the dusk gathered, we went to the Wakugawa Observatory at a suburb called Kotinda of Naha. The Wakugawa Observatory is equipped with a 40 cm Newtonian and on the terrace they prepared several telescopes such as 35 cm Meade STC and 25 cm SCT. The sky around there was good, and everybody from the main land felt that the planet shined quite higher. The area was dark enough to see the Milky Way easily. Every visual observer, Hk, Mn, Mk or Ts, took 6 ~ 8 drawings each on the night. The apparent diameter of Mars was 18.6”. Mo and Ns used a 35 cm SCT, but felt some difficulty in using their ccd cameras because of the badly flexible mounting. The images however showed dust streaks near S Aurorae. Visual observers also easily checked the activity of the periphery of the nph.


On 21 July, they kindly set an excursion to bring us to Mabuni in a more southern area of the island which is now the quiet and beautiful land for the repose of the souls lost in WWII. The sea and the sky were really blue, and coral reefs shined white. In the afternoon, we moved to Shuri (near the Shuri Royal Castle) where Id now stays, and the 9th CMO Meeting was held in a cosy room of a Public Hall (prepared by Id and his wife). Of course we were mainly concerned with the progressing dust storm, and MINAMI (Mn) talked much about it; MORITA (Mo) showed us his hot work at the beginning of July. We also discussed some recent images by AKUTSU (Ak) and KUMAMORI (Km). In the evening, Hk, Mk, Ts, as well as Id and Hg started to observe Mars at the Ishadoh Observatory equipped with a 31 cm Newtonian, and a 20 cm reflector. Mo, Ns and Mn were brought by Wk to the Wakugawa Observatory. The night the sky was slightly unstable, and sometimes showers came. After finishing the observations, Mo, Ns, Mn chez Wk moved to Id’s house, where we met MIYAZAKI (My) and TABATA. Isao MIYAZAKI (My), famous planetary observer, stayed alone at the Ishigaki island at that time: Ishigaki is far isolated from the main island, and so it was difficult for him to find the time of planetary observations. On the rooftop chez ISHADOH we had a banquet together (with a lot of cans of beer).





On 22 July, some talked in the B&B where Mn stayed, some did shopping, and almost all flew out from Naha in the afternoon. In the evening, Mn and Ts were invited to the Miyazaki Observatory at Gushikawa with Id and Hg, and observed Mars by MIYAZAKI’s famous 40 cm Newtonian.


The report was made in CMO #248 (25 July 2001) in Japanese.  Refer also to the Internet Report, written in Japanese and also find here a photo album.

10th CMO Meeting (2002, Ina, Nagano)


The 10th CMO Meeting (Second Summer School) was organised by Toshiaki HIKI (Hk) and held from the night of 2 August 2002 to the morning of 5 August at Ina City, Nagano Prefecture. This Meeting occasioned our survey about the route where Percival LOWELL took along the Tenryu River when he was on the way back from his trip to the Noto peninsula in 1889.


HIKI and MINAMI welcomed ISHADOH (Id) on the afternoon of 2 August at the Shiojiri Station, went to Miyada Village/Koma-ga-ne (near Iijima) by a super-highway, and turned back to the Hotel we reserved at Ina via the road which P LOWELL took, though in a reverse way from Ina to Iijima. Late at night AKUTSU (Ak), MURAKAMI (Mk) and NARITA (Nr) arrived safely at Ina by Ak’s car from the (eastern) central super-highway, and subsequently IWASAKI (Iw), MORITA (Mo), NISHITA (Ns) and OSHIRO (Os) reached us via Nagoya by Ns’s car. At midnight we had a first Night Meeting in the Hotel.


On 3 August, we opened a Morning Meeting at the Hotel where Mn mainly talked. During the Meeting OGER (FOg) arrived (who stayed in Japan from mid-July to mid August). In the afternoon, we moved to the school where Hk was teaching, and we held the 10th CMO Meeting. Mk and Ns talked about the properties, data and observation points of the 2003 apparition, and Ak gave his plan for the next apparition. Id talked about the sky condition in Okinawa (from left to right: Os, Nr, FOg, Mo, Ns, Iw, Hk, Id, Mk and Ak; Mn missing, taking the picture). In the evening we had a banquet, and then we all were invited to Hk’s house.


This occasion Ak, Mo and Ns personally had frequent conversations one another on ccd methods (especially about the problems of filters).


On 4 August, we went up from Tatsuno to Simo-no-Suwa, and visited the inn called Kikyo-ya whose old signboard was once photographed by LOWELL. We also passed the Shiojiri Pass to the place where LOWELL was installed in 1889.

On 4 and 5 we were at the top of the Kayano-Kogen wherefrom we could look down the Ina Valley to identify the Lowell route. The road made at the terraced bump where LOWELL ran by a basha was seen from the right hand to left hand side.





Click the following:

A Tentative Report of the Meeting

and the Tenryu River Survey

11th CMO Meeting (2003, Fukui)


The 11th Meeting of the CMO Planetary Observers was held on 3, 4 and 5 May 2003 at the Lecture Hall of the Fukui City Museum of Natural History.

Especially on the afternoon of 4 May, three Lectures were delivered by Takashi NAKAJIMA, Masami MURAKAMI and Kunihiko OKANO to a large public audience: NAKAJIMA talked about a fuss or wave of mass-hysteria in 1938 caused by Orson WELLES's radio programme of H G WELLS's The War of the Worlds and suggested modern implications. MURAKAMI detailed to the public audience about the present apparition of Mars as characterised as the biggest event ever since the Cro-Magnon astronomers’ time. OKANO, professional nuclear fusion scientist, talked about a recent development of plasma fusion technology including the ITER mission and also about the fusion propulsion that may propel mankind to the planet Mars in the near future.


On the evening of 4 May, a discussion time of the CMO members was led by OKANO concerning the ccd stratagem. OKANO primarily asserted that it should be necessary to choose filters freely in the ccd work. To sort out good images quickly, precisely and automatically, he recommended to use SBIG's PlanetMaster. He mentioned a new arrival of KAF-0402ME having a high quantum efficiency for shorter waves, and alluded to ST-7XME. The work by the Philips ToUcam Pro was discussed but it was never convincing to OKANO since the characteristics of Sony's ICX098BQ are not appropriate for the red planet with white clouds since their R, G, B channels are too mixed to be used for study.

We also had observation times of the coming planet Mars in the early morning on 3 and 4 May.


On 5 May, we had a Preliminary Conference on the Percival Lowell Problem. Toshio SATO, Director of the OAA Historical Section, talked about LOWELL in Japan, and Reiko TAKANARI, Professor of the Toyama International University, communicated an insight into Lafcadio HEARN in relation with Percival LOWELL. Tamaki SAKASHITA from Anamidzu also gave an address. This Conference was supported by K OSA, H NAKASHIMA, Y MAKINO, M WATANABE and others from the Ishikawa and Toyama Prefectures as well as by Yasuo YABU, Secretary General of the OAA.


We are thankful also to the members of the City Museum for sponsorship as well as to T IWASAKI, Y MORITA and H TSUNEMACHI for their participations. We should further add that NISHITA had a nice chance of a Night Talking Meeting on the ccd techniques with OKANO, MORITA, and OSA chez NISHITA.

12th CMO Meeting (2004, Anamidzu, Noto peninsula)


On the occasion of the Percival Lowell Conference at Anamidzu, we had a small meeting of the 12th CMO Meeting of Planetary Observers on the afternoon of the 4th day of May and on the morning of 5th May 2004. T ASADA and Y MORITA already left Anamidzu, while M ADACHI and Y IGA joined. SHEEHAN remained to attend. (First photo shows here ASADA, AKUTSU, SHEEHAN, MURAKAMI, MORITA, NAKAJIMA, NISHIDA from left to right on 1 May at the Anamidzu Conference Hall).


Main talks at the CMO Meeting were given as follows: On 4 May, Masatsugu MINAMI first gave an overview on the 2003 Mars great apparition and talked about how the CMO every 40 minute observational method had been effective, although he felt it regrettable to say that the method was not well applied in the Japanese islands because of the cold summer in 2003. Yuichi IGA gave a talk about the recent trend of phenomena occurring on the planet Jupiter, and in particular showed a moving composed image of the GRS which SHEEHAN applauded. Makoto ADACHI then touched on the December 2003 Dust Cloud by showing a chart in PPt made of everyday patterns.

On the morning of 5 May, MINAMI gave finally a third talk about Lowell’s Mars in 1894 how he traced the Martian season. This was made as a guide to the observation of the coming 2005 Mars. AKUTSU then displayed a lot of his ccd Mars images made in 2001 and 2003 his observations, and talked about the use of filters and the role of the blue images. He tried a Webcam but was not necessarily satisfied. Participants here show H NAKASHIMA, K OSA, Y IGA, M ADACHI, H NARITA, A NISHITA and M MURAKAMI (standing from left to right), T AKUTSU, Bill SHEEHAN, M MINAMI and T NAKAJIMA (front, sitting, from left to right) taken on 5 May.


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