Aries Productions

Aries Productions was founded in April 2017 by Mabula Haverkamp (drs. M.Sc. E.M.W.P. Haverkamp).

It’s main goal is to build a company for Astro Pixel Processor (APP) as it’s main product. And to provide the astrophotography community worldwide, with a new and innovative application for processing Deep Sky images.

Astro Pixel Processor logo designed by Stefanie Haverkamp
Astro Pixel Processor logo designed by Stefanie Haverkamp, Mabula’s sister.

Since the launch of Astro Pixel Processor, on the 2nd of June 2017, the company has been growing consistently. Now in 2020, a couple of years later, APP is being used by 1000s of astronomers worldwide on a daily basis, from absolute beginners to professional astronomers. Astrophysics students at different universities across the globe are being taught astronomical data processing using APP.

To be able to support all of it’s users and to be able to keep improving APP, we are expanding the company to

  • speed-up the development of Astro Pixel Processor and
  • to provide better and faster customer support

As a first step in expanding Aries Productions,  Vincent Groenewold joined the company in October 2018 as a moderator on the forum, and he is now also working, besides Mabula Haverkamp, on the development of the application as well.

And… we are now happy to announce that in November 2020, Wouter van Reeven, officially joined the Astro Pixel Processor team as well, he has started as a moderator on our forum. Wouter has a Master’s degree in Astrophysics (2001) from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands.

Going forward, our goal is to expand the company with  addtional moderators on the forum and programmers to speed-up development of APP as an application.

Astro Pixel Processor (APP)

Astro Pixel Processor (APP) is being developed by Mabula Haverkamp (drs. M.Sc. E.M.W.P. Haverkamp) who has a doctorandus and Master of Science degree in Astrophysics from the University of Utrecht, 2004.

BBC Sky at Night First Light Review by Sara Wager
BBC Sky at Night Magazine First Light Software Review by Sara Wager. Click on the badge to visit Sky at Night Magazine. Click on this text to download Sara’s review in PDF format.

Mabula uses current scientific insights to develop APP besides developing and creating new innovative feautures and algorithms like it’s unique debayer algorithm Adaptive Airy Disc, Local Normalization Correction and fully automatic N-View mosaics.

APP couldn’t have been possible without extensive help and feedback from the astrophotography community worldwide and it’s future development path will be largely dependent on input and support from the community.

One of the main goals in the development of APP, is to make a complete Deep Sky Image Processing application that maintains ease of use while automatically using the most advanced algorithms to provide excellent results without the need to tweak dozens of parameters.  APP will give very good results with default parameters on a wide range of datasets.

Astro Pixel Processor 1.068 showing a luminance light frame of the Helix Nebula.
Astro Pixel Processor 1.068 showing a luminance light frame of 300 seconds of the Helix Nebula. The data was shot with the T32 telescope of iTelescope.Net at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

The diversity of datasets from all users in the Deep Sky imaging sphere is huge and this is the main reason that explains, why it is very difficult to make an application that simply works on all datasets. And, at the same time, gives excellent results straight out of the box. 

By focussing in development on this particular goal, APP is now being used from absolute beginners in Deep Sky astrophotography to professional astronomical institutes around the world. APP is easy to work with and it’s results are very competitive as a lot of APP users will testify.

Mabula Haverkamp

Mabula Haverkamp (drs. M.Sc. E.M.W.P. Haverkamp), is the main developer of Astro Pixel Processor and founder of Aries Productions.

He has a doctorandus and Master of Science degree in Astrophysics from the University of Utrecht (2004).

His master research was done under the supervision of prof. dr. R.J. Rutten, dr. P. Sütterlin, dr. K. Tziotziou & dr. A.G. de Wijn at the Solar Physics department of the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The research was a data analysis of cospatial and cotemporal Dutch Open Telescope observations and was entitled:

Solar magnetic fluxtubes diagnosed from isolated internetwork bright points – An analysis of Dutch Open Telescope observations – E.M.W.P. Haverkamp 2004-08-30

and it was part of a bigger research project that led to a well-cited scientific publication: DOT tomography of the solar atmosphere. IV. Magnetic patches in internetwork areas

Left: Dutch Open Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma (Canary Islands). Right: cospatial and cotemporal Dutch Open Telescope observations analysed in Mabula’s Masters research project. Field of view is 73×58 square arcseconds and shows a quiet area of the solar surface without active regions. The sequence consists of 154 speckle-restored images taken synchronously at 16 s cadence and therefore has a time-span of 41 minutes. From top to bottom, left to right: Ca II H, G band, blue continuum and red continuum.

Mabula was born as a son of 2 dutch parents who worked in Ndala, Tanzania for several years in a local hospital to help with development of health care in the country. His name was given to him by the local people in the village where he lived and it means “born during the rain”.

Mabula in front of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Vincent Groenewold

Vincent has joined Aries Productions in October 2018 as a moderator on the forum and he is now also working, besides Mabula Haverkamp, on the development of the application as well. This is his own introduction:

“Hello dear Astro Pixel Processor users,

Vincent Groenewold
Vincent Groenewold officially joined the Astro Pixel Processor team in October 2018.

My name is Vincent Groenewold. I’m a 43 year old ex-scientist in proteomics, with a great love for science in general and astrophysics in particular. This resulted in a far overdue start in the astrophotography hobby back in 2015.

Since then I advanced quickly from starting with the wrong gear and desktop computer in the cold garden, to a fully remote controlled system with my favorite telescope controlled from inside my house at the end of that same year. I also started to learn all about the software needed to both take the pictures and post-process them. With the release of Astro Pixel Processor (APP) I was suddenly doing mosaics like it was nothing and learned more about the scientific backgrounds to calibration, normalization etc. I am loving every bit of it, a perfect combination of all the things I like.

Since I started to like APP a lot and knowing Mabula a bit already, it became a natural fit to get to work for him. As a moderator with the potential to get into development as well, I’m hoping to contribute to the success of APP and helping all of you as much as possible.

Clear nights!


Wouter van Reeven

Wouter has joined Aries Productions in November 2020 as a moderator on the forum. This is his own introduction:

“Hi Astro Pixel Processor users,

Wouter van Reeven
Wouter van Reeven officially joined the Astro Pixel Processor Team in November 2020.

When I was in high school I started observing the night sky. After getting my master’s degree in AstroPhysics I became a software developer and remained a very active visual amateur astronomer. In 2017 I finally picked up the courage to take pictures as well.

I started out with a 200 mm lens on a DSLR camera and a StarAdventurer. I actually took that gear with me on my first visit to Chile that year and I imaged the Small Magellanic Cloud and several other objects. Since then I slowly expanded my gear, both the hardware and software.

I learned about Astro Pixel Processor in 2018 when I was on an observing and imaging holiday in the South of France. It very quickly became my preferred way of processing my images due to its ease of use and its fantastic results. Since then I have been trying to be helpful on the APP forum as well and two years later I approached first Vincent and then Mabula to offer them my services in a more official way. And here I am!

I hope that APP will continue growing and getting even better than it already is today. And of course I hope to be able to support you in any way I can!

Clear, transparent and moon-less skies!