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To Measure the Sky
An Introduction to Observational Astronomy


  • Date Published: May 2010
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521747684

£ 44.99

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About the Authors
  • With a lively yet rigorous and quantitative approach, Frederick R. Chromey introduces the fundamental topics in optical observational astronomy for undergraduates. Focussing on the basic principles of light detection, telescope optics, coordinate systems and data analysis, students are introduced to modern astronomical observation techniques and measurements. Cutting-edge technologies such as advanced CCD detectors and adaptive optics are presented through the physical principles on which they are based, helping students understand the power of modern space and ground-based telescopes, and the motivations and limitations of future development. Discussion of statistics and measurement uncertainty enables students to confront the important questions of data quality. With a purposeful structure and clear approach, this is an essential resource for all students of observational astronomy. It explains the theoretical foundations for observational practices and reviews essential physics to support students' mastery of the subject. Student understanding is strengthened through over 120 exercises and problems.

    • Theoretical foundations for observational practices are explained to introduce students to modern astronomical observation techniques and measurements
    • Essential physics is reviewed, and over 120 exercises and problems help strengthen student understanding
    • Cutting-edge technologies are presented so students can understand the power of modern space and ground-based telescopes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'I like this book a lot and think it is a valuable contribution to the education of undergraduates. It is a wide-ranging and thorough survey of the techniques common to astronomical observing in the optical and infrared wavelengths … The treatment throughout is both accurate and responsible. I know of no comparable book.' Jay M. Pasachoff, Williams College

    'This is a wonderful book - one that at last introduces the essential ideas and techniques of observational astronomy starting at the 'ground floor', yet provides enough detail and mathematical rigor to satisfy the needs of sophisticated undergraduate physics majors (and their instructors). The writing throughout is literate - even enjoyable, yet Chromey introduces topics from Poisson statistics to solid-state detectors to modern image-processing techniques with an appropriate level of mathematical and physical rigor. There is more material here than can easily fit into a one-semester course, but the arrangement is such that an instructor can easily select the most appropriate topics for his/her students' needs. This is the textbook I've been waiting for. Bravo!' P. Frank Winkler, Middlebury College

    '… I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to develop their understanding of astronomical measurement. It is very well written, superbly produced and of high practical value.' FAS Newsletter

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521747684
    • length: 462 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 189 x 24 mm
    • weight: 1.02kg
    • contains: 187 b/w illus. 40 tables 121 exercises
  • Table of Contents

    1. Light: particles, waves and rays, magnitudes, spectra
    2. Uncertainty: statistics
    3. Place, time and motion: coordinate systems, timekeeping, proper motion
    4. Names, catalogs, atlases and databases: web resources
    5. Astronomical optics: geometric optics, materials, cameras, fibers, aberrations
    6. Telescopes: ground, space, ELTs, adaptive optics
    7. Matter and light: atomic and molecular spectra, solid-state absorption
    8. Detectors: CCDs, IR arrays, bolometers
    9. Digital images from arrays: image processing, digital photometry
    10. Photometry: extinction, standard systems
    11. Spectrometry

  • Resources for

    To Measure the Sky

    Frederick R. Chromey

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  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Advanced Astronomy Lab
    • Advanced physics lab
    • Astronomical Data Analysis
    • Astronomy Junior Lab
    • Astrophysics I: Radiation Processes and Observations
    • Astrophysics Lab
    • Astrophysics Laboratory
    • Birth & Death of Stars
    • Computational Continuum Mechanics
    • Current Topics in Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Intermediate Astronomy
    • Intro to Continuum MEchanics
    • Intro. to undergraduate reserarch in astronomy
    • Introduction to Astronomical Observations and Techniques
    • Introductory Astronomy I
    • Methods & Instrumentation in Astronomy
    • Methods of Observational Astronomy
    • New Course in observational Astronomy for our new major in Earth & Space Sciences
    • Observational Astronomy
    • Observational Astronomy Laboratory
    • Observational Methods
    • Observational Techniques
    • Observational Techniques for Astrophysics
    • Observational Techniques in Astronomy
    • Observational and Research Techniques for Small Observatories
    • Observations, Analysis, Statistics
    • Research Techniques in Observational Astronomy
    • Solar system astronomy
    • Survey of the Universe with Lab
    • The Solar System
    • Topics in Astronomy and Astrophyics
  • Author

    Frederick R. Chromey, Vassar College, New York
    Frederick R. Chromey is Professor of Astronomy on the Matthew Vassar Junior Chair at Vassar College, and Director of the Vassar College Observatory. He has almost 40 years experience in observational astronomy research in the optical, radio, and near infrared on stars, gaseous nebulae and galaxies, and has taught astronomy to undergraduates for 35 years at Brooklyn College and Vassar.

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