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Observing the Universe
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  • 80 b/w illus. 80 colour illus.
  • Page extent: 180 pages
  • Size: 263 x 210 mm
  • Weight: 0.619 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 520/.071/1
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: QB61 .O27 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Astronomy--Study and teaching (Higher)
    • Planetology--Study and teaching (Higher)

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521603935 | ISBN-10: 0521603935)

Observing the Universe introduces a range of techniques and skills that will be useful for those wishing to undertake observational work in astronomy and planetary science. Observations have played, and continue to play, a crucial role in developing our understanding of the Universe, and the best way to get a feel for the role of observations is to do some. This comprehensive guide provides a sound basis for tackling astronomy and planetary science observations. It concentrates on generic aspects of observations, including the principles of telescopes and detectors, photometry and spectroscopy, microscopy techniques for analysing samples, teamwork skills, planning for a session at an observatory, keeping records of what you do, estimating uncertainties in measurements, analysing data numerically and graphically, and producing a written report. Including self-assessment questions with full solutions, this self-contained guide is suitable for undergraduate students of astronomy and planetary science, and serious amateur astronomers.

• Fully self-contained guide to carrying out practical observational work in astronomy and planetary science • Self-assessment questions with full solutions • Extensive cross-referenced glossary


1. Introduction; Part I. Techniques: 2. The night sky - positional astronomy; 3. Telescopes; 4. Spectrographs; 5. Astronomical detectors; 6. Reducing CCD data; 7. Photometry; 8. Spectroscopy; 9. Microscopes and microscopy techniques; 10. Interpreting images of planetary surfaces; Part II. Skills: 11. Team working; 12. Preparing for practical work in astronomy and planetary science; 13. Keeping records; 14. Experimental uncertainties; 15. Analysing experimental data; 16.Making use of graphs; 17. Using calculators and computers; 18. Communicating your results.


'… this book had hidden depths … All good stuff in itself and written in a very readable fashion. The second half of the book is the section that really impressed me though and certainly makes this book stand out from the rest … the second section covers the 'Skills' you need to be a successful observational astronomer … Finally a book has arrived that is for the already experienced amateur astronomer. If you've already gotten into the subject, you know your way around the sky and a telescope, this book is a must to get you on to the next level. By the end of it, you'll have progressed from the skills and knowledge of an experienced beginner to an astronomer who can start to provide real and valuable input to the scientific communities of the world.' Mark Lawrik-Thompson FRAS

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