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A Spectroscopic Atlas of Bright Stars: A Pocket Field Guide (Astronomer's Pocket Field Guide) Paperback – October 26, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1441907042 ISBN-10: 1441907041 Edition: 2010th

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Product Details

  • Series: Astronomer's Pocket Field Guide
  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2010 edition (October 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441907041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441907042
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

“Published by Springer as part of the Astronomer’s Pocket Field Guide series. … this new series is to ‘provide succinct, targeted information for practical observers.’ and in this regard Jack’s book fits the bill. In 200 pages it covers the subject very well. … This Atlas provides a wealth of data for the beginner in spectroscopy and provides useful comparison spectra for a whole range of stars which are easily visible in the northern hemisphere.” (Ken Harrison, Federation of Astronomical Societies, Vol. 93, Spring, 2010)

“The author has spent many years obtaining the spectra of about 70 of the apparently brightest stars in the Northern Hemisphere, using a 12 inch Dobsonian, a Rainbow Optics transmission grating and a photographic camera using black and white film. … it will be useful to teachers at schools or colleges who would like their students to do some elementary astronomical spectroscopy. The combination of finder charts and spectra for the brightest stars makes it a handy reference for such a purpose.” (E. Norman Walker, Astronomy Now, August, 2010)

“This pocket guide is a noble attempt to introduce practical stellar spectroscopy into backyard star-gazing. Imaging the spectra of bright stars is a hobby which Martin has pursued for many years, and is now offering to share with those who could easily follow … . he devotes a few pages to history and to scientific and technical explanation, with the rest of the book given over to the Atlas itself, displaying his own spectra of 72 stars.” (Elizabeth Griffin, The Observatory, Vol. 130, October, 2010)

From the Back Cover

Are you ready for a different way of looking at the stars? Do you want to understand more about what you are seeing through your telescope?

Painstakingly researched, with the data compiled over many years by the author (an amateur astronomer for 45 years), this handy user-friendly pocket-sized field atlas contains the spectra (spectral diagrams) of over 73 bright stars in the northern hemisphere and is intended for use by other amateurs, students, and educational institutions as an introduction to the fascinating and important science of stellar spectroscopy.

Professional atlases are far more complex. Until now, nothing was available at an amateur level. This book fills an important gap as the first amateur spectroscopic atlas to be published. The reader will not need to have any prior knowledge of the subject or understanding of complex mathematics in order to use this book. Written in plain English and without difficult equations, it can make the subject accessible to anyone. It can even serve as a guide to the stars at astronomy club meetings or star parties.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Torelli on December 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am just starting out in spectroscopy and thought that a reference of common bright stars and their spectra would be very helpful. Something I can compare to and see if my calibrations are close. This book does that. It would do a great job if the specrta illustrations were as good as the example on the front cover. The images in the book are very poor reproductions. I am sure the author took good spectra images, it's just that in the book the spectal lines are hard to make out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Eversberg on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
It seems that Amazon cheeks a bit with my above mentioned press release and fools potential customers. Here is my complete review:

Today, spectroscopic observations reach amateur astronomy. Therefore, it is highly appreciated that respective literature specifically for amateurs appear in the market. "A Spectroscopic Atlas of Bright Stars" by Jack Martin promises as "Pocket Field Guide" an overview of the spectra of the brightest, and with the naked eye visible stars in the sky over Central Europe (the author lives in London). The book is aimed at the spectroscopic beginners . All spectra were recorded with a 30cm-Dobson and a Rainbow Optics transmission grating. The detector is a commercially available black and white film used in a camera. The recorded spectra were digitized and then "self-calibrated" via line identification. All spectra were recorded for almost the entire visible wavelength range at low spectral resolution. This is a nice performance and the spectroscopic beginners might be motivated to do the same. However, after the explanations of the recording process, the text portion unfortunately ends after page 15 and on the next 150 pages there are only spectra shown plus a one line data table.

Especially books live from the written word. This is especially true for topics that are not immediately obvious to the beginner and where careful text guiding is required. What do you see in the spectra? Why do they show the present behavious? What is special in the presentation? Questions, which are unfortunately not discussed. Spectra are no deep-sky photographs, where the aesthetics speaks for itself. Without interpretation, they contain no information.
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