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Spectroscopy for Amateur Astronomers
Recording, Processing, Analysis and Interpretation


  • Date Published: July 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107166189

£ 39.99

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About the Authors
  • This accessible guide presents the astrophysical concepts behind astronomical spectroscopy, covering both the theory and the practical elements of recording, processing, analysing and interpreting your spectra. It covers astronomical objects, such as stars, planets, nebulae, novae, supernovae, and events such as eclipses and comet passages. Suitable for anyone with only a little background knowledge and access to amateur-level equipment, the guide's many illustrations, sketches and figures will help you understand and practise this scientifically important and growing field of amateur astronomy, up to the level of Pro-Am collaborations. Accessible to non-academics, it benefits many groups from novices and learners in astronomy clubs, to advanced students and teachers of astrophysics. This volume is the perfect companion to the Spectral Atlas for Amateur Astronomers, which provides detailed commented spectral profiles of more than 100 astronomical objects.

    • Gathers together all the basic knowledge for a quick understanding and an easy reading of the principles of astronomical spectroscopy
    • Presents an overview of measurement and calibration methods, which has been missing up until now, describing a range of detailed analysis options, accessible to averagely equipped amateurs
    • While the physical basics provided should be widely understood by the majority of amateurs, some dedicated sections are directed to advanced students and amateurs with more advanced knowledge of mathematics and quantum mechanics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Attractively produced as a working pair, these books are the products of a lifetime of familiarity with observing the spectra of cosmic objects of all kinds, conditions and states. The Atlas is in effect a modern version of the 1943 MKK Atlas, at one time a centrepiece of almost all student astronomy studies and courses. … An important development on the 1943 MKK Atlas is the addition of displays as graphs as well as images, and detailed labelling of the wavelengths of critical features. … The supporting volume Spectroscopy for Amateur Astronomers, is … a collection of notes on various aspects of both practical and theoretical spectroscopy - almost a 'guide' to the cosmos - and on recording and analysing what one can observe. A substantial list of references, plus tables of star names, a magnitude scale, and similar packets of useful information for the sky-watcher, are also included.' Elizabeth Griffin, The Observatory

    '… most professional astronomers using optical telescopes devote the majority of their observing time to spectroscopy rather than imaging. The reason is simple: spectroscopic data provide far more information about an astronomical object than an image, such as its velocity, temperature, chemical composition, and magnetic field strength. In this volume, [the authors] present a hands-on guide to spectroscopy - one that equips amateur astronomers with both the theoretical and the technical knowledge necessary to progress from imaging to spectroscopy. The text first covers the basic physics behind spectral lines formation at a level appropriate for sophomore-level atomic physics courses, using mainly high school geometry and algebra … Next follows the heart of the book, which provides readers with a guide to the optical designs of various types of spectrometers, including … information on commercially available units. Finally, the text discusses the many research opportunities open to amateurs with a small telescope and spectrometer …' R. L. Mutel, Choice

    'Cambridge University Press boasts a strong line of books on astronomy, and with the recent release of two books on amateur spectroscopy, the collection has grown only stronger. … If you're looking for a new observing challenge, or know someone who is, look to CUP for help getting started in with spectroscopy. … If you're a motivated amateur, this book will help you choose a spectrograph, guide you through your first recording, offer advice on processing the recorded spectra, and show you how to analyze it - all with amateur equipment. Pair this book with Richard Walker's Spectral Atlas for Amateur Astronomers and you'll have a comprehensive package on spectroscopy.' S. N. Johnson-Roehr, Sky & Telescope: The Essential Guide to Astronomy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107166189
    • length: 162 pages
    • dimensions: 288 x 226 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.69kg
    • contains: 129 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Physical basics of spectroscopy
    2. Electron transitions and formation of the spectra
    3. Quantum mechanical aspects of spectroscopy
    4. Types and function of dispersive elements
    5. Types and function of spectrographs
    6. Recording of the spectra
    7. Processing of recorded spectra
    8. Calibration of the spectra
    9. Analysis of the spectra
    10. Temperature and luminosity
    11. Expansion and contraction
    12. Rotation and orbital elements
    13. Gravity, abundance and magnetic fields
    14. Analysis of emission nebulae
    15. Amateurs and astronomical science.

  • Authors

    Marc F. M. Trypsteen
    Marc F. M. Trypsteen is a Belgian pharmacist and astronomer, with a background in analytical chemistry and spectroscopy. He has lectured on astronomical spectroscopy at university, high schools, observatories and astronomy clubs. He is co-founder of the Astro Event Group Belgium and also of the Astropolis Space Science Center in Ostend, where, in addition to outreach activities, he is responsible for the section on spectroscopy education and research.

    Richard Walker
    Richard Walker spent his career in civil engineering, planning large projects such as power plants, dams and tunnels. Now retired, in the last ten years he has focused increasingly on stellar astronomy and on the indispensable key to this topic - spectroscopy. He undertook a large observing project to record and document the spectra of the most important astronomical objects, and chose to share this gathered information for the benefit of other amateurs worldwide.

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