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The Radio Sky and How to Observe It (Astronomers' Observing Guides) Paperback – November 17, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1441908827 ISBN-10: 144190882X Edition: 2010th

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The Radio Sky and How to Observe It (Astronomers' Observing Guides) + Listen Up!: Laboratory Exercises for Introductory Radio Astronomy with a Small Radio Telescope + Getting Started in Radio Astronomy: Beginner Projects for the Amateur (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

“Lashley (National Space Centre, UK) draws on his own work building and observing with radio telescopes and receivers and provides detailed instructions for building several radio detectors … . accessible to readers with minimal background in astronomy or electronics … . this practical guide will likely be useful to those with a specific interest in this topic. Summing Up … upper-division undergraduate and graduate students interested in building a radio telescope.” (C. Palma, Choice, Vol. 48 (9), May, 2011)

“Observing the sky in the radio domain, although perfectly accessible to the keen amateur, requires dedication and practical skills beyond those normally needed for optical work. … the rewards are great and those observers willing to follow Lashley’s succinct advice will undoubtedly increase their enjoyment of the sky. … inexperienced will also benefit from Lashley’s no-nonsense exposition. … If you enjoy a challenge as well as the thrill of discovery, there can be no better introduction to the field of radio astronomy than Lashley’s book.” (Alastair Gunn, Sky at Night Magazine, July, 2011)

“Jeff Lashley has obviously put in an immense amount of work in compiling this book and the result is a very worthwhile manual that should make it far easier for amateurs to take up this interesting area of astronomy. More than that, a colleague is seriously considering its use as a text for aspiring postgraduate radio astronomers. That is, in itself, real and deserved praise for a book that can be highly recommended.” (Ian Morison, The Observatory, Vol. 132 (1226), February, 2012)

From the Back Cover

We have learned a great deal about our universe not only by looking at the sky through optical telescopes but also by listening to it! Although in the past most of the great discoveries have been made by professional radio astronomers using large radio telescopes built for institutions, today even amateurs can build and use small radio telescopes and make discoveries that can contribute to the general store of knowledge. And you don’t need to be an electronics genius or rich! Jeff Lashley, in this comprehensive guide to the science and art of putting together and using a small radio telescope, will lead you through the process and help you to understand what to listen for. Filled with projects and tips and great advice, he can get you underway in a hurry and help you to decode what you are hearing. So if you’ve been doing amateur astronomy for a while and want to expand beyond what you can see with your eyes, this is a direction you should consider going in. Or, if you’ve dabbled in building radios for years and want to try something new, this can be a way to expand your hobby. Either way, start now listening to the fireworks going on all around you—you’ll be amazed!
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Product Details

  • Series: Astronomers' Observing Guides
  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2010 edition (November 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144190882X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441908827
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hamsterliciousness on January 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a starting point to break into amateur radio astronomy, this is the best book I've come across so far. Wanting to be involved in amateur science as a hobby in my spare time and working toward an astronomy minor, I've been looking to create my own setups for both optical and radio observation (especially on a budget, as a college student), but the sources on radio astronomy have always been a little too dense for me (particularly the books on the science of radio systems and antenna engineering). The Radio Sky talks about many subjects I've covered before, but presents them in a focused and practical manner relating specifically to radio observation. There are a number of simple equations and formulas to be encountered, but don't expect too much theory from this book.

The book is organized into several different chapters and into three informal sections, with labeled "tabs" on the edges of each page organizing the book somewhat like a project binder. While the organization and order of presentation of the material isn't quite what I would like it to be, the faux tab feature makes it easier to thumb through and locate particular material. There are also a few issues of clarity including the manner of presentation, formatting issues, and typos that may sometimes force you to have a double take or annoy nitpickers, these issues are not severe - the book is also in the first edition, so it is understandable and almost expected.

Although the book mentions in the preface that no prior knowledge of electronics is assumed, I would highly recommend at least somewhat of a familiarity with classical physics, particularly relating to electricity and circuits, although knowledge about magnetism and waves doesn't hurt.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By SA602 on June 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The thing I find most puzzling about this book is that a good publisher (Springer) actually put it into print. A better choice might be "Amateur Radio Astronomy" by Fielding. (There certainly are others.)

The problem I have with this work is that, while parts of it are interesting, it has no obvious audience. Ohms law is defined on p. 114. On the previous page: "See Fig. 8.1 for the possible circuit symbols used for various types of resistors. Note there are two forms, the box and the zigzag. ... only one style should appear on a given schematic." This is very basic electronics. Does the author really believe that a reader who does not know this is going to build the JOVE receive on p. 177? Actually the chapter (number 8) is mislabeled "Introduction to RF Electronics." It would be better labeled "Introduction to Electronic Parts." Consider that Hayward's "Introduction to Radio Frequency Design" is 372 pages. Lashley's chapter 8 is 32 pages.

Along a similar line, the Jove receiver could be an amusing project, but the author does not provide enough detail to build it. You can get lots of details at the radiojove website, the manual is a PDF rcvr_manual.pdf. So, why bother to include the schematic (without part values) and worse, the PC board layout, if the reader has to get everything from someone else's Web page?

In places I have to wonder if the author was not just trying to use up space. A couple of examples would be the 2/3 of a page for antenna insulators on p. 101 and the tables of AL values on page 121.

Some places these guys could not even bother to do the typesetting right (consider the equation for "XL" on page 118).

One can go on. On p.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Kitzmann on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Descent intro to the subject but has a lot of information that only goes halfway. For example it gives schematics and info for building a spectrometer which uses a I2C TV tuner, but then doesn't tell you how to actually control the tuner in a way that would let you use the spectrometer as a spectrometer. Just seems weird to introduce the topic, walk you through it and then leave you empty handed.
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