The 6th  Workshop of the CMO Planetary Observers


3 January 1998


Japanese here


e had a small but intimate and pleasant meeting mainly concerning the CCD technique of planetary observations in Fukui.


* On 1 January HIGA from Okinawa flied and arrived at Fukui and NISHITA learned from him how to image-process the raw images by use of the Photoshop, and eventually they developed a method to use the Hidden Image.

* On 2 January, they went to the EIHEIJI Zen Buddhist Temple built in the 13 Century, and they as well as MINAMI welcomed MURAKAMI from Fujisawa who arrived at 16:15 at Fukui. We casually visited a local observatory of an amateur astronomer in Fukui and then went to the Fukui City Museum of Natural History to prepare the meeting on the next day. At the same time we entered the Observatory and watched the planet Saturn near meridian by use of the 20cm refractor: The seeing was moderate while HIGA assured the image was as good as in Okinawa. The sky became however gradually clouded. We went then to Mikuni and the four talked far into the night.

* On the morning of 3 January, AKUTSU reached Fukui by a night train from Tochigi, and AKUTSU and NAKAJIMA as well as HIGA, MURAKAMI, NISHITA and MINAMI welcomed Gianni QUARRA (see #179 --- 25 Sept 1996 issue) who took a train from Kyoto at 8:35 and arrived at Fukui at 10:10. We then drove up to the Fukui City Museum of Natural History and readily Takashi NAKAJIMA took the chair and started the conference from 10:50am:

Left to right: Mk, Ak, GQr: Photo by HIGA

* The talks were delivered in the following way:

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. Toshi-aki HIKI: Fresh Resolute in 1999

8. Tomio AKUTSU: Jupiter Imaging

9. Giovanni QUARRA: Practice by MiPS


* AKUTSU talked two hrs, sometimes disturbed and followed a lot of exchanges of questions and answers: His combination of a 32cm spec and the Lynxx brought a lot of nice images of Jupiter and Saturn, but the B light troubles occurred in the case of Mars. He uses a set of the Edmund filters, but the IR rejection filter (SBIG) did not work well.

* After AKUTSU's talk we all went down to see HIKI who arrived at 13:35 at Fukui Station, and we took our lunches in a Chinese restaurant.

* HIGA uses a rather unique way to make CCD images: He first takes the Video moving images by use of Sony's 3CCD Camera VX1000, and secondly picks out better still images 50 to 100 and sums them up on the Mac monitor. Then he image-processes them by use of the Photoshop. In the case of Mars, the unsharp masking method looks no good. He rather likes a "hard light" image. His three colour decomposition is made through the inner prisms of the camera, and the B light one rejects well the longer-wave leakage.

* MINAMI talked about a few topics of the 1996/97 observations, but here we omit them because we are to write them in NOTEs later; just we note that the total number of the domestic observations proved over 6200 (while 5500 in the preceding 1994/95 apparition).

* Then NISHITA showed a graph of the apparent diameter of the coming Mars in 1998/99. It will reach 16 arcsecs near 24 April 1999 opposition, but the apparent declination will be low deep down to -11°.

* QUARRA'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. This does not allow any serious leakage of the longer waves and gives true B images. Its manufacturer is unknown however even to GQr. A UV filter centred at 330nm is also equipped but is not always used because the exposure time is longer. As tothe exposure rates see eg p2025 in CMO #186. Some discussion was given about KAF-0400E which may improve the violet region.

Gianni talks: Photo by Hg


* The images, many in a minute, are filed in Fits and are made to sum up into a composite image and image processed by use of French-made MiPS software (also now available in Japan).

* 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 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. In the meantime it was getting dark outside.


* We moved then to the Observatory, while the sky was not clear and the planet Saturn was dim at the eyepiece: We took some pictures of ourselves around the pillar of the refractor.

Left to right, front:

* Back to the conference room, MURAKAMI talked about the Internet world in 1997 especially about the HST home page and the MarsWatch. MINAMI additionally commented.

* Then HIGA expressed how impressive and useful the present conference was to him, and HIKI regretted his observations at the latter half of the 1996/97 apparition and expressed his resolute for the coming apparition.


* We again got out of the Museum and went down to eat out. Returning the Museum again AKUTSU talked about his observations of Jupiter and then Gianni showed us his practice in image processing by the use of MiPS starting from an original Mars image of NISHITA taken at the Fukui City Observatory by a combination of the 20cm refractor and Mutoh CV-04 CCD Camera in 1997.

Left to right: NISHITA, Gianni & AKUTSU (Hg photo)

The original one (R image) looked not so good but gradually by a series of restorations by the use of an algorithm for about five times, the image became miraculously much improved. Gianni says that he usually does 20 times. Syrtis Mj and S Sabaeus became very definite, and Boreosyrtis and Deuteronilus clearly appeared on the monitor. NISHITA thus much learned on the occasion of the present meeting.


* It was quite late nearly at midnight, and we moved to Mikuni while our conversation did not cease before three o'clock. The next morning each guest left from Fukui. We much enjoyed the occasion and finally we would like to express our gratitude to all the participants.


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