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The Planet Observer's Handbook


  • 222 b/w illus. 1 map 28 tables
  • Page extent: 448 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 0.79 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 523.4
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QB601 .P67 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Planets--Observers' manuals
    • Planets--Amateurs' manuals
    • Astronomy--Amateurs' manuals

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521789813 | ISBN-10: 0521789818)

This is an informative, up-to-date and well-illustrated guide to planetary observations for amateurs. After a brief description of the solar system and a chapter on the celestial sphere, readers are shown how to choose, test and use a telescope with various accessories and how to make observations and record results. For each planet and the asteroids, details are given of observational techniques, together with suggestions for how to make contributions of scientific value. From a general description and detailed observational history of each planet, observers can anticipate what they should see and assess their own observations. The chapter on planetary photography includes the revolutionary use of videography, charge coupled devices and video-assisted drawing. There are also chapters on making maps and planispheres and on photoelectric photometry.

• Discusses the latest spacecraft research • Includes a new section on the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud • Contains the latest information on video imaging and film for planetary photography


Foreword; Preface; Introduction: why observe the planets?; 1. The solar system; 2. The celestial sphere; 3. Telescopes and accessories; 4. The atmosphere and seeing; 5. Mercury; 6. Venus; 7. Mars; 8. The minor planets (asteroids); 9. Jupiter; 10. Saturn; 11. Uranus; 12. Neptune; 13. Pluto; 14. Constructing maps and planispheres; 15. Planetary photography and videography; 16. Photoelectric photometry of the minor planets, planets and their satellites; Name index; Subject index.


'… [contains] a tremendous amount of useful information, and helpful advice … a definite success … valuable both to the beginner and to the serious planetary observer. I strongly recommend it.' Patrick Moore, New Scientist

'… [contains] many pearls of information … presented concisely with excellent illustrations … a synopsis of historical observations provides excellent foundations for planning observational programs...' Donald Parker, Sky and Telescope

'This first-class introductory book … is one of the best … A great deal of invaluable information, factual and historical, has been condensed into this handbook …'. Irish Astronomical Journal

'… contains a wealth of information … an excellent handbook on the planets. Recommended.' Reference Book Review

'The Planetary Observer's Handbook is a valuable source of information and advice for anyone interested in our planetary neighbours. It is an enthusiastic and well written work and I recommend it to both the beginner and the serious planetary observer.' Antony Brian, Astronomy Now

'Whether your interest is in simple visual observation, scientifically useful observing projects or anywhere in between The Planet Observer's Handbook is the book for you.' Astronomy and Space

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