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Hunting and Imaging Comets (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) [Paperback]

Martin Mobberley

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Book Description

October 10, 2010 1441969047 978-1441969040 2011
For many astronomers, the holy grail of observation is to discover a comet, not least because comets always bear the name of their discoverer! Hunting and Imaging Comets was written for comet hunters and digital imagers who want to discover, rediscover, monitor, and make pictures of comets using astronomical CCD cameras and DSLRs. The old days of the purely visual comet hunter are pretty much over, but this is not to say that amateurs have lost interest in finding comets. The books also covers the discovery of comet fragments in the SOHO image data, CCD monitoring of older comets prone to violent outbursts, the imaging of new NEOs (Near Earth Objects) that have quite often been revealed as comets - not asteroids - by amateur astronomers, and the finding of recent comets impacting Jupiter.

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

“Presents an entertaining and motivating guide for backyard observers to search for and image comets and near-Earth objects. … Mobberly shares anecdotes about the discovery of notable comets and advice for how amateur astronomers can compete for discoveries with the current and upcoming large-scale automated sky surveys … . It is written for a reader with at least a basic familiarity with astronomical concepts and a desire to join the devoted international group of astronomers … . Summing Up: Highly recommended. All audience levels.” (S. A. Russell Gonzalez, Choice, Vol. 48 (9), May, 2011)

“Packed with a wealth of information to aid both would-be comet discoveries and observers … . The book is nicely illustrated … and is well researched and accurate throughout comprising a collection of 15 chapters, each of which is a good read in itself. … I enjoyed the conversational style of the writer including his many light-hearted remarks and occasional humorous quip. … I would say that if … you too have leanings of the comet kind then this book is certainly for you.” (Richard Miles, Astronomy Now, August, 2011)

“Martin Mobberley, a well-known British amateur astronomer, describes in loving detail the comet hunting and observing process. … gives a blow-by-blow account of how, with small telescopes and CCD cameras, these comets can be successfully imaged. … Mobberley also discusses historical comet records … . The joy of comet hunting and comet chasing springs from every page. Sensible practical advice and useful clues abound. But what I liked especially was the underlying aim of the endeavour. There is more to it than just fun.” (David W. Hughes, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1225), December, 2011)

From the Back Cover

Of all the objects visible in the night sky, it is the brightest comets that have most fascinated amateur astronomers and alarmed the human population. No other objects can stretch as far across the sky as the tail of a truly great comet, or be as easily visible as a zero-magnitude ‘broom star.’ In recent times amateur astronomers have made some surprising discoveries, including the comets Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake, while also playing a critical role in detecting the comets that hit Jupiter in 1994 and 2009. It was also an amateur astronomer that first spotted the dazzling October 2007 outburst of 17P/Holmes. Discovering a comet has always been the greatest prize for the amateur astronomer – the chance to truly “write your name across the sky.” Remarkably, despite routine professional CCD surveys, many amateurs worldwide still discover comets in the 21st century. In Hunting and Imaging Comets Martin Mobberley, an active comet imager himself, explains how non-professionals have achieved such success. This book describes in precise detail how amateur astronomers can find comets and capture spectacular images of them using modern telescopes, CCDs, and digital SLRs. Mobberley also explains how computer software can be used to measure the positions and brightness magnitudes of comets to a professional standard and how to submit those scientific results to the astronomical community. If you want to search for new comets, or simply observe known ones, this is the book for you!

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