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About the International Occultation Timing Association / European Section (IOTA/ES)

The European section of the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) is the community in Europe which provides techniques, personnel and research for all kinds of occultation astronomy since more than 40 years. This covers stellar occultations by the Moon, main-belt asteroids, comets, planets and their satellites as well as by bodies of the outer Solar System.

These occultation phenomena will expand our knowledge about the sizes and shapes of asteroids and scan their surroundings for possible satellites and rings. The size of the nuclei of comets can be measured. Stellar occultations are a good tool to detect variations in the atmosphere of planets and their satellites. High precision astrometry for bodies in the Solar System is another benefit from these observations. The observer gets a fascinating insight into our Solar System with an unprecedented angular resolution.

Since 2023 the IOTA/ES is responsible in Europe for the data collection of observations of stellar occultations by asteroids. The Stellar Occultation Data Input System (SODIS) is maintained and financed by IOTA/ES. Some of our members review the observation reports and keep the quality control of the incoming data on a high level.

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IOTA/ES organises the European Symposium on Occultation Projects (ESOP), our annual science meeting. In general, it takes place in different European countries each year at the end of August. ESOP conferences (held in English) are a forum where advanced amateur, semi-professional and professional astronomers can present and discuss new occultation observation results, exchange experiences of observing techniques and promote new observing campaigns.

The English language publication Journal for Occultation Astronomy (JOA) is edited by a team of IOTA/ES and produced in Germany for world-wide distribution four times per year.

With our worldwide contacts with amateur and professional astronomers, who are working in the same scientific division, we can assist our members to work in the field of occultations and help to maintain international contacts. The online meeting places and information sources for prospective observers is our website and PLANOCCULT, the minor planets internet mailing list, maintained by Belgian amateur astronomers.

The scientific non-profit organisation IOTA/ES e.V. (registered in Hannover, Germany) is open to all people interested in occultation astronomy, either as a technology expert, observer, researcher or just a person who loves this special kind of nature phenomena in the Solar System.

For an annual fee of 20 Euros members of IOTA/ES get individual assistance, can attend workshops (in-person and online) and are able to loan observing equipment for free. Our members support with their fee the publication of the Journal for Occultation Astronomy and the web hosting for SODIS.

IOTA/ES has about 100 members (individual or corporate) in more than 20 countries in Europe and northern Africa (June 2023). If you join IOTA/ES you become part of the worldwide IOTA, which has members on all continents, all devoted to the same goal.