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Measuring the Universe

Measuring the Universe
A Multiwavelength Perspective


  • Date Published: August 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521762298


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About the Authors
  • Astronomy is an observational science, renewed and even revolutionized by new developments in instrumentation. With the resulting growth of multiwavelength investigation as an engine of discovery, it is increasingly important for astronomers to understand the underlying physical principles and operational characteristics for a broad range of instruments. This comprehensive text is ideal for graduate students, active researchers and instrument developers. It is a thorough review of how astronomers obtain their data, covering current approaches to astronomical measurements from radio to gamma rays. The focus is on current technology rather than the history of the field, allowing each topic to be discussed in depth. Areas covered include telescopes, detectors, photometry, spectroscopy, adaptive optics and high- contrast imaging, millimeter-wave and radio receivers, radio and optical/infrared interferometry, and X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, all at a level that bridges the gap between the basic principles of optics and the subject's abundant specialist literature. Color versions of figures and solutions to selected problems are available online at

    • A unified, comprehensive guide to astronomical instrumentation, focusing on modern instrumentation in widespread use and outlining the most up-to-date methods of astronomical data collection
    • Includes problem sets and worked examples - electronic versions of the figures are also available online at
    • Suitable as a main text on astronomical instrumentation or a supplementary text in most astrophysics graduate courses and for professionals active in the field
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    • Winner of the 2013 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award

    Reviews & endorsements

    “This text fills a long-standing need for a broad treatment of modern observational astronomy techniques suitable for graduate and upper-division undergraduate students of astronomy, physics, and engineering. It provides useful descriptions of practical issues that are encountered when applying the techniques and technologies.” - Jason Glenn, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder

    “Rieke is an ambassador of astronomical hardware, making the world of telescopes, instruments and detectors intelligible and palatable to observers, and those who analyze and model data. This textbook, written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, provides an excellent starting point and overview for those who venture into building hardware. For those who just use astronomical facilities and data, the book provides precisely all they ‘need to know’.” - Hans-Walter Rix, Director, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

    “This textbook fills a real void. It is an excellent overview of the broad range of tools, technologies, and principles that modern observational astronomers use to address the major frontier areas of research. In our era of multi-waveband “panchromatic” observations, this book will be a valuable resource for educating graduate students and an excellent reference for senior observational astronomers who are venturing into new territory.” - Timothy Heckman, The Dr. A. Hermann Pfund Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University

    “This excellent textbook has the range and depth to provide a great introduction to the techniques of modern astronomy for senior undergraduates or physics graduates starting an observational Ph.D. with data from one of the major ground or space observatories. From traditional telescopes to gravitational wave detection it brings together in one reference the barrage of approaches we now use to unravel the secrets of the Universe.” - Professor Gillian Wright, STFC UK Astronomy Technology Centre

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521762298
    • length: 356 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 178 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.85kg
    • contains: 175 b/w illus. 50 exercises
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Gathering light – the telescope
    3. Sensing the light: detectors for the optical and infrared
    4. Imaging and astrometry
    5. Photometry and polarimetry
    6. Spectroscopy
    7. Adaptive optics (AO) and high contrast imaging
    8. Submillimeter and radio astronomy
    9. Interferometry and aperture synthesis
    10. X-ray and gamma-ray

  • general resources

    instructor resources

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    Group Section Name Type Size Sort Order filter vars
    General ResourcesFiguresAll figures from the bookzip77003KB0figures general resources figures general resourcesfigures
    General ResourcesFiguresColour figureszip67352KB1figures general resources figures general resourcesfigures
    Instructor ResourcesSolutionsAnswers to selected problemspdf518KB0solutions instructor resources solutions instructor resourcessolutions

    This title has a locked file and access is given only to instructors adopting the textbook for their class. We need to enforce this strictly so that solutions are not made available to students. To gain access to locked resources you need first to log in with your Cambridge account details and then return to this page to submit details of your course so that you can be authenticated as an instructor. Click here to log in. If you do not have a Cambridge account you will need first to click here to create an account and then return to this page to be authenticated.

    These resources are provided free of charge by Cambridge University Press with permission of the author of the corresponding work, but are subject to copyright. You are permitted to view, print and download these resources for your own personal use only, provided any copyright lines on the resources are not removed or altered in any way. Any other use, including but not limited to distribution of the resources in modified form, or via electronic or other media, is strictly prohibited unless you have permission from the author of the corresponding work and provided you give appropriate acknowledgement of the source.

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  • Author

    George H. Rieke, University of Arizona
    George H. Rieke is Regents Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, Deputy Director of Steward Observatory, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Professor Rieke is Science Lead for the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and was Principal Investigator of the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS). He has also led construction of a broad range of groundbased instruments and has taught core graduate courses on instrumentation throughout his career.

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