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Great Observatories of the World Hardcover – September 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (September 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554070554
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554070558
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 10.1 x 14.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,708,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A tour of 56 professional astronomical observatories, this oversize album will bowl over readers. Although its text is predominantly descriptive of telescope technology, the balanced pictorial design expresses the ineffable majesty of modern telescopes. Photographs abound of the breathtaking mountain settings of many observatories, while sample images of celestial objects demonstrate the astonishing detail they are capable of resolving; several new telescopes are more powerful than even the Hubble Space Telescope. The French authors explain with crystal-clear diagrams the physical principles behind these increases in telescopic power, such as adaptive optics (mirrors that compensate for atmospheric turbulence). Presenting historical observatories such as Mount Wilson or Pic du Midi, Brunier and Lagrange explain how those observatories continue to be scientifically productive by exploring prospective areas of research for the next generation of ground- and space-based telescopes. However daunting its price, this alluring album, where seen, will be admired. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

The enthralling book will be a delight for both general readers and scientists alike. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels. (S.A. Russell Gonzalez Choice 2006-07-00)

The selection of large-scale instruments featured here is impressive... the photography featured here is breathtaking. (David Tytell Sky and Telescope 2006-03-00)

This oversize album will bowl over readers... Photographs abound of the breathtaking mountain settings of many observatories... explain with crystal-clear diagrams the physical principles behind these increases in telescopic power. (Gilbert Taylor Booklist 2005-09-01)

[The authors] share the history of each observatory and describe the telescopes they house. Full-color photographs of the sites, the telescopes, the astronomers at work, and their resulting astrophotographs accompany these profiles. (Sara Rutter Library Journal 2005-10-01)

The talk is techie, but the gizmos glorious. (David Elliott San Diego Union-Tribune 2005-11-27)

Beautifully illustrated essays. (Stephen Maran Air and Space Smithsonian 2005-11-00)

Less a pictorial essay on observatory placement and more a tome on workings and findings... travels the globe to describe machinery, setups and astronomical sightings. (Globe and Mail 2005-12-10)

The telescopes showcased here dramatically emphasize the complexity and remote geography linked to this science... The major value of this title extends beyond the beauty and drama of the physical devices involved in expanding our knowledge of the universe. (May Esteban Bloomsbury Review 2005-12-00)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ursiform TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is an indulgence for those of us fascinated by big telescopes. It includes short discussions of each of the world's most important observatories, with brief technical interludes on topics like spectroscopy and adaptive optics. But this is not a book to read, it is a book to browse through, look at the pictures, and sample the text. The text certainly has its errors, such as substituting "millions" for "billions" in comparing the cost of space telescopes, and placing the date of the 3m Shane telescope as 1979 (it was competed in 1959 and renamed after Shane in 1977.) But we can overlook errors like this in a book designed for voyeurs. If big telescopes turn you on and you have a few extra dollars available, you'll probably like this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Luis F. Stevens on June 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is fun to read, and a lot can be learned from it, but beware of the numeric errors: do not trust dates, sizes, distances. Common errors include: billion sometimes means 10^9 and sometimes 10^12, distances to galaxies are completely wrong (e.g. 10 light years to M82), use of thousand instead of thousandths, and multiple others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mr-peabody on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Obviously no book that is only 240 pages long, and mostly photographs at that, can include all of the important observatories of the world. It is inevitable that some favorites will be omitted. But it is disappointing that more care was not taken with the photographs -- after all, this really is mostly a coffee-table picture book. Many of the photos are soft, and moreover suffer from shallow depth-of-field... critical parts of the photo are not even in focus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Al Bowers on August 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book had the potential to be great. And its a great book for the observatories that are covered. But the omission of some of the really GREAT observatories was a bit of a disappointment to me. There is about 3/4 of a page on Palomar. And even that is somewhat inaccurate.

If you're looking for Palomar info, get "Perfect Machine" by Florence. A great read...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Maxwell on June 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK, it's a good-looking book with lots of great shots of interesting research observatories around the world. My great disappointment is the near-complete absence any mention of the Palomar Telescope, except for a brief mention in the introduction. Or Kitt Peak for that matter. Or any number of architecturally important observatories. I can't explain how they chose the contents of their book, or why they devoted an entire section of the book to telescopes that haven't even been built yet.
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