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Astronomical Algorithms 1st English ed Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0943396354
ISBN-10: 0943396352
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Editorial Reviews

Stated in book," Virtually every previous handbook on celestial calcuations was forced to rely on formaulae for Sun Moon and planets that were developed in the last century or before 1920. With his special knack for computations of all sorts, the author has made the essential of these modern techniques available to us all.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 429 pages
  • Publisher: Willmann-Bell; 1st English ed edition (December 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0943396352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0943396354
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Once again author Jean Meeus demonstrates his expertise in astronomical positioning and applied mathematics with Astronomical Algorithms. He brings us into the 21st century with the new J2000.0 epoch and FK5 system. His chapters on the primary corrections of precession, nutation, parallax, and aberration are thorough and presented in both the equatorial and ecliptic coordinate systems. Planetary positioning, including the Sun, is provided by the principal elements of Bretagnon and Francou's VSP087 theory. Chapront's ELP-2000/82 theory provides Lunar positioning. The Galilean satellites of Jupiter are located with Lieske's E2x3 theory. The author systematically steps us through each method with real examples.
There are practical chapters on Julian Dates, Sidereal Time, Dynamical Time, Rising and Setting, Coordinate Transformations, Equinoxes and Solstices, and Refraction. Mathematically useful chapters include Interpolation, Curve Fitting, Iteration and Sorting. For comet and minor planet watchers, there are chapters on Elliptic, Parabolic and Near Parabolic Motion. Times of conjunctions, elongations, and oppositions can be calculated accurately using the chapter on Planetary Phenomena. There are chapters for the physical ephemerides of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon, including how to find position angle, illuminated fraction, and visual magnitude. In addition, there are Phase, Apogee and Perigee, Node and Libration chapters for the Moon. Solar observers can use the chapter on heliographic coordinates, based on Carrington's rotation number, to plot and track sunspots. For eclipses, Meeus gives us a chapter that, with relatively modest calculations, predicts the time, magnitude and duration for lunar and solar eclipses with remarkable accuracy.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Henk Reints on December 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a very good and very complete reference, although it lacks the fundamentals behind the algorithms (which indeed is not the intention of this book). Many algorithms are however just curve-fitting: very accurate in the proximity of the year 2000 but they will produce nonsense if you calculate "very far away" from 2000, so it is not of eternal value... One has to take care of the various units and reference frames being used (but that's an essential part of astronomy). I'm glad I bought it.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Okay, so you're a programmer and an astronomer? Then this book is for you! No other book has a complete programs and algorithm for computing problems in astronomy. You wan't to convert astronomical coordinate system? Calculate the date of easter? Counting Julian Day Number? Determine the date of perihelion and aphelion of all the nine planets? Computing the positions of the satellite of Jupiter? Everything can be done, and much-much more! What surprises me is that not only that this book covers more advanced topics like calculating eclipses and moon phases, but also a few popular and useful topics like calculating easter, which is usually don't covered by books of similar topic.
Several method and tips for programming are also covered here, along with some method for accuracy. However, that's about all. You don't know how to program? Then learn some Pascal or Fortran from other books. You don't know a bit about astronomy? Well, this book cover some basic theory, but that's just about all. So one of the drawback of this book is that it doesn't cover much ground on the teory. The reader is expected to have some background on it. Reasonable, since this book is meant to become a textbook for astronomical computations.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Marc van der Sluys on June 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This excellent book is the renewed and extended version of Astronomical Formulae for Calculators by Jean Meeus. If you intend to buy a book about Astronomical Algorithms, don't buy them both, choose between the cheaper and less extended Astr.Form. or the more expensive but more valuable Astr.Algor. The 'Morsels' are an addition to the 'Algorithms', and I suggest you buy it only if you already know the Algorithms and want to go further.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a cookbook of algorithms for solving a variety of numerical problems that come up in astronomy. Explanations of why the author chose to do things a certain way are not on the agenda, but various numerical examples are. Programs are not included, although it is fairly easy to go from the algorithms presented to code. For that information I recommend the equally affordable Textbook on Spherical Astronomy. That book is a pleasure to read and was written with newcomers to the field in mind. Read that book first. It will tell you most of the "whys" omitted in this book.

To understand some astronomical problems will require studying more than one chapter of this book. For instance, to calculate the altitude of the Sun for a given time on a given date at a given place, one must first convert the date and time to Julian Day (Chapter 7), then calculate the Sun's longitude for that instant (Chapter 25), its right ascension and declination (Chapter 13), the sidereal time (Chapter 12) and finally the required altitude of the Sun (Chapter 13).

This book focuses on classical mathematical astronomy, although a few astronomy oriented mathematical techniques are dealt with, such as interpolation, fitting curves, and sorting data. Astrophysics is not a topic covered in this book. Also, it is plain that not all topics of mathematical astronomy could have been covered in this book. Thus, nothing is said about orbit determination, occultations of stars by the Moon, meteor astronomy, or eclipsing binaries.
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