International Occultation Timing Association
European Section










>>>  Haumea, the most peculiar of Pluto companions, has a ring!  <<<

From a press release of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia (IAA-CSIC)

The trans-neptunian belt contains four dwarf planets, among which Haumea stands out for its extremely elongated shape and rapid rotation.

A stellar occultation revealed the main physical characteristics of this heretofore poorly known body – among which the most surprising presence of a ring. Researchers around Jose-Luis Ortiz and Pablo Santos-Sanz published a paper in Nature, that showed a ring around Haumea. This is the first trans-Neptunian object with a ring.
"One of the most interesting and unexpected findings was the discovery of a ring around Haumea. Until a few years ago we only knew of the existence of rings around the giant planets; then, recently, our team discovered that two small bodies situated between Jupiter and Neptune, belonging to a group called centaurs, have dense rings around them, which came as a big surprise. Now we have discovered that bodies even farther away than the centaurs, bigger and with very different general characteristics, can also have rings,” says Pablo Santos-Sanz, a member of the IAA-CSIC team. Also members of IOTA-ES, professionals and amateurs as well, contributed to this research. It has been published by
J. L. Ortiz et al. "The size, shape, density and ring of the dwarf planet Haumea from a stellar occultation". Nature, (2017) DOI: 10.1038/nature24051

Transcontinental Occultation of a 12m4 star UCAC4 410-143659
by Triton on the 5th/6th of Oct 2017 around 23h50 UTC.
Visible from USA and large parts of Europe

Many stations throughout Europe have recorded the event with telescope of different sizes ranging from 20cm to more than 1 meter diameter. An example of the central flash recorded near the central line in Elvas, Portugal is shown in the following picture. It as been taken with a 27cm telescope and a 12 bit digital CCD camera.
A very preliminary lightcurve shows the occultation with the central flash. Exposure time 0.3 seconds. No filter. Copyright W. Beisker, IOTA-ES, 2017

The updates of the predictions of this campaign can be
followed here.

Our President Hans-Joachim Bode Passed Away (1945-2017)

Our friend and president of IOTA-ES, motivator and engaged astronomer Hans-Joachim Bode passed away at the age of 71 in Hannover. His family was around him when he died very peacefully.

Since the sixties he was engaged in promoting occultation observations in Europe. He founded the Astronomical Working Group of Hannover (AAH) and later in 1984 the European Section of the International Occultation Timing Association as a registered society. He observed more than 30 solar eclipses, worked for lunar and asteroidal occultation observations and also in the field of TNO occultations. He started the annual ESOP conferences, which is held this year the 36th time. He gave countless astronomical talks in Germany and all over Europe. His intention was always to motivate people to join our astronomical engagement to get a better understanding of our planetary system and the universe as well.
Our deepest sympathy is with his wife, his children and the members of his family.

For the board

Wolfgang Beisker

Predictions for 55 TNOs and Centaurs for 2017 and 2018

In the frame of the European-funded Lucky Star project, a webpage with predictions of occultations in 2017 and 2018 for 55 TNOs and Centaurs had been developed by Josselin Desmars from Bruno Sicardy's team. Occultations can be selected by date, magnitude range and name of the occultation object. Have a look!!

ESOP XXXVI in Freiberg, Germany.

ESOP 36 will be held in Freiberg (Saxonia), Germany from the 15th to 17th of September 2017. Block the date in your calender! The date is later than usual, because of the solar eclipse in the USA. Have a look!!

Successful observation of a Chariklo occultaton
in Namibia with the 0.5m portable instrument m2.

On the 9th of April the m2 instrument was used by IOTA-ES member Mike Kretlow as part of an international campaign in cooperation with the EU research project LuckyStar to observe the occultation of UCAC4-294-211208 (14m) by Chariklo in Namibia. Despite poor weather situation, the occultation could be recorded using a Raptor camera with 0.08 sec exposure time. This was the first "Out of Europe" use of m2.

More positive observations came from a IOTA-ES member (Karl-Ludwig Bath) observing at the IAS observatory (Hakos). One more station operated by Jean-Luc Dauvergne was successful too. 3 out of 6 deployed stations got data, the other failed due to unfavorable weather conditions.
A very preliminary lightcurve shows the central body near its maximal diameter and the rings of Chariklo as well.

Inauguration of IOTA-ES 0.5m portable telescope.

It has been named "m2"

On the 8th of October an inauguration party has been held at the Archenhold observatory in Berlin. Members of IOTA-ES including the board of directors celebrated the inauguration with champagne and sausages.
The first real observation with the instrument had been the successful observation of the occultation by Pluto on the 19th of July 2016. It will still take some more time, to finish some minor work and to write the operation instructions. But in the near future it can be booked by IOTA members for observation projects. Read more!!

Advance notice: 5th of Oct 2017 around 23h50 UTC:

Transcontinental Occultation of 12m4 star
UCAC4 410-143659 by Triton

Visible from USA and large parts of Europe

Advance notice: Calculated with OCCULT and a GAIA position from the GAIA14 cataloge, a subset of the GAIA DR1 catalog assembled by Dave Herald, Australia. Its a rare opportunity, to monitor Triton's atmosphere. The track passes one of the most "telescope"-populated areas. The separation between Neptune and Triton is about 11.4 arcsec.

Ongoing Monitoring of Pluto's Atmosphere
Occultation of UCAC4 345-180315 (14m1) on the 19th of July, visible for Europe
and the "Pathfinder Occultation" on July the 14th ...
Big success for occultation observers around Europe!
Astronomers from about 20 stations got data from the Pluto occultation on the 19th of July. Observatories from Greece to Pic du Midi, from Spain to Berlin successfully recorded the occultation! The atmosphere is still there!

Older messages:
New prediction by B. Sicardy shows a large
south shift for the 19th!
The Pluto mission "New Horizons" is just a little more than 1/2 year away from Pluto, an occultation of a 14m2 star visible from Europe will occur in the late evening of the 19th of July according to predictions by the RIO team and B. Sicardy. And on the 14th of July, a 16mag star will be occulted by Pluto. This occultation may help us to find the path of the Central Flash for the occultation on the 19th...Read more
For IOTA members:

GRAZPREP-software: Find and prepare Grazing Occultations in detail
Grazing Occultations of stars by the moon are local events and thus require an individual selection according to personal observation preferences. The GRAZPREP-software assists in all aspects of finding individually interesting events as well as selecting the best observing stations promising the most contacts between the star and the lunar limb in high resolution. GRAZPREP can be downloaded and installed, including a step by step operation tutorial. Go to the Members login part of the website!
(10199) Chariklo Occults 12th mag Star UCAC4 256-124411 for southern Africa
IOTA-ES took part in the successful campaign The multi-national campaign set up stations from Windhoek to the southern part of South Africa. Chariklo's ring has been detected again. The background of the campaign can be found in the following pages: On the 29th of April an occultation of a bright star (12th mag) UCAC4 256-124411 will take place for southern Africa.The event will be at 23h09min UTC for central occultation. The shadow will hit southern Africa around 23h13min UTC. Read more!

Minor Planet Occultations of Bright Stars
Occultations by stars brighter than about 9th mag will be presented in this blog.
Grazing Occultations of Stars by the Moon
A field of professional astronomy between science and beauty Among all occultation phenomena in the sky grazing occultations of stars by the moon have a very unique character. The observation of these spectacular events ... read the overview in full length!
For Occultwatcher Users
European Feed for Lunar Occultations of Double Stars
There is a "Lunar Occultations Add-in" for "OccultWatcher" ready for download to get in OW interesting lunar occultations of double and suspected double stars. Read more..

TU24 movement

Asteroid TU24
recorded from Munich around 1h 10min UT on 30th Jan 2008. Fast motion (5x). Near miss of 11m9 star TYC 4140-520

creates a database for professional and amateur observatories!. Have a look to their questionaire! Read more...

Information about running TNO campaigns
Information about running campaigns for TNO occultations you can find here at Felipe Braga-Ribas website. Follow up the prediction process and get ready to observe if it is in your area!

The XXXVI European Symposion on Occultation Projects will be held in Freiberg, Germany on the 15th to 17th of September 2017.
Have a look!!
The Journal for Occultation Astronomy
is now free for all, except the last 2 issues. Get it for free!
Call for Observations!
Occultations of Bright Stars by Minor Planets can be found HERE
Reporting lunar occultations
The most significant change for 27 years in reporting lunar occultations is now underway. You have to know, how to report lunar occultations from now on! Your reports have to be sent to a new mailing address.

Dave Herald reports from Canberra, Australia
Iota Occultation Camera (IOC)
IOC_symbolRead more
How many photons
do you get from a star?
GPS ... Where am I ?
Positionsbestimmung mit GPS und Karte... in German
The Artificial Night Sky Brightness
for Occultation Observing Stations in Europe