Theo Ramakers has been interested in astronomy most of his life, however, he became more involved in amateur astronomy and astronomy outreach in his retirement. He first became interested in astronomy as a boy scout in his native country of the Netherlands. His interest was rekindled after receiving a telescope as a gift from his children, several years back. Theo then joined the Charlie Elliot chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club and was their director from 2008 until 2011. As director, he worked with observing director, the late Jon Wood, NASA’s Night Sky Network, and other chapter members to make a significant effort to increase the amount of outreach his chapter did. Using knowledge he gained from being a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, Theo worked to encourage students to seek job opportunities in the fields of astronomy and space exploration. In 2010, the Charlie Elliot chapter did over 50 outreach events for schools, Boy and Girl Scout troops and other civic groups.
Theo is pictured with his Coronado SolarMax40 telescope which he uses to observe the Sun. He uses the attached CCD camera to image the Sun and the planets. One of Theo’s favorite aspects of amateur astronomy is the ability to contribute to actual science. As a member of the Association for Lunar and Planetary Observers he has submitted observational data on Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter for scientists to include in their research. Currently he is working on capturing and submitting data of the Sun as it approaches solar max in 2013.
Theo's images can be found on his website at: http://ceastronomy.org/tramakers/