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The Sky is Your Laboratory: Advanced Astronomy Projects for Amateurs (Springer Praxis Books / Popular Astronomy) Paperback – July 31, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0387718224 ISBN-10: 0387718222 Edition: 2007th

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The Sky is Your Laboratory: Advanced Astronomy Projects for Amateurs (Springer Praxis Books / Popular Astronomy) + Setting-Up a Small Observatory: From Concept to Construction (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
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Best Books of the Year
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Product Details

  • Series: Springer Praxis Books / Popular Astronomy
  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Praxis; 2007 edition (July 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387718222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387718224
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #570,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From the reviews:

"Amateur astronomers have a proud tradition of contributing worthwhile scientific observations, stretching right back to Victorian times. … If you have been in the hobby for a few years and now want to specialise, this book is for you. The author explains every chosen subject in reasonable depth and a lot of technical work has gone into the 297 pages. The coverage is accurate … ." (Martin Mobberley, BBC Sky at Night, November, 2007)

"Buchheim gives amateurs the essentials to do real science, not simply science projects. … The book is amply illustrated with diagrams, and the text’s tone is pleasantly conversational. … Although Buchheim set out to write this book for amateurs, it should also be of interest to students and teachers who wish to pursue real-science with equipment that may already be available on campus." (Jennifer Birriel, Sky & Telescope, December, 2007)

"Many amateur astronomers have equipment powerful enough to make significant contributions to research. … The present book outlines eighteen worthwhile projects for the amateur. … There is a clear and detailed description of the principles behind the evaluation of signal-to-noise and warnings against the many insidious errors which can creep in. … The book’s outstanding quality is the infectious enthusiasm of the writing. It is highly recommended." (Derek Jones, The Observatory, Vol. 128 (1203), 2008)

About the Author

Mr. Buchheim received his first telescope when he was about 10 years old, and he has been interested in the stars ever since. He received his BS degree in Physics from Arizona State University and has completed a Program Management Course at Defense Systems Management College as well as UCLA Executive Program 88-1.  He has published a number of articles and is the inventor of the "Rotary-Acting Pilot Valve."  He currently lives and works in California.

Customer Reviews

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It's well written and the author speaks with authority.
T. Field
Worth a read for the in depth discussion of observation, imaging with CCDs, practical issues with both, and an understanding of observational and imaging science.
Mac Observer
If you are an advanced amaetuer astronomer who wants to get more out of your hobby and help contribute to the science of astronomy, this is your book.
Thomas M. Nathe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By T. Field on March 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the other reviews I've seen here: this book is excellent!

Are you ready to move beyond visual observing or taking CCD pix for aesthetic appreciation? Do you want to feel like you're doing a bit of science? If you answered yes to these questions, then this is undoubtedly a good book for you. It contains a survey of a wide range of areas where YOU, with relatively inexpensive amateur gear, can do observations that go far beyond the "Oh, isn't that pretty!" (Not, though, that I have anything against "pretty!")

This book is well written, and unlike many other books in our hobby, gets into the nitty-gritty details of how-to-do-it! It's well written and the author speaks with authority. Each chapter has an excellent reference at its end. Using these references allows you to do additional reading.

Although it doesn't go into much depth on the topic, this book has a short and adequate introduction on spectroscopy. The overview is good and it has references on where to find further info. I've found spectroscopy very exciting. Without much work, with a simple webcam & tiny scope, in the city, without a lengthy or complicated observing program, you can be analyzing the composition of distant stars! Now THAT'S science! (The Rainbow Optics or StarAnalyser spectroscopes are a great introduction.)
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By reads alot on January 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
For amateurs who have passed the beginner rites of the Messier and Caldwell lists, Buchheims's _Sky_ contains the measured voice of the elder mentor of your astronomy club. If that expert mentor is lacking in your local club, Buchheim's _Sky_ is a must buy that will save you in time many times its purchase. Each _Sky_ observing project is written like an after star-party club coffee meeting, with Buchheim patiently guiding you through practical field problems commonly encountered when starting photometry, double star astrometry or supernovae searching. He includes references to landmark manuals, amateur organizations and internet resources for each topic. Where appropriate, Buchheim fills in with basic observing skills that are often left unexplained as assumed knowlege in other texts, e.g. timing uncertainty reduction when timing asteriod occultations. For this Amazon review, the 18 observing projects are listed in the Table of Contents, listed above. _Sky_ now sits on my "ready reference" shelf - sandwiched between other amateur classics - like Berry's _HAIP_, Sidgwick's _Amateur Astronomer's Handbook_, North's _Advanced Amateur_ or Meeus's _Algorithms_. If you have been hooked in the hobby for two or three years and want a roadmap to the next 10 years, Buchheim's _Sky_ is what you need.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James R. Easton on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a really neat book! It opens up a whole new kind of amateur astronomy;real research projects where you make observations that are useful to professional astronomers.Amateur astronomers can gather new information or make new dsicoveries,using skills that are common amoung experienced stargazers,and equipment that is widely available. Here is a step-by-step instruction manual for getting started in these projects,from learning why each project area is important, to the equipment and procedures that are needed, and how to analyze your results.The chapters are organized roughly in order of increasing difficulty of the projects, from simple(naked-eye meteor counting) to complex (extra solar planet searches and supernova discovery). I was paticularly pleased that each project includes an explaination of how and where to submit your results, so that they will be useful to "real" astronomers.
I do not think there is any compairable book available. There are plenty of "advanced observing guides", and many "textbooks",but this book fits right in between them. It gives careful description of celestial objects or events,and how and why you should try to see them, so it's sort of an observing guide(although there are not any spectacular photos).It also explains why the observations are important,and gives a meticulous explaination of the data gathering and analysis procedures for each project,so it is sort of a textbook. But it is not stuffy,pedantic tome. The style is friendly,helpful and encouraging. There are some equations,but if you made it through high school algebra they will not give you any trouble(and only some projects require you to use them).There is even a story line! Short tales about challenges,successes,and memorable experiences are scattered throughout the text.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By EW on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Astronomy is one of the very few sciences where amateurs can make significant contributions and where amateur contributions are valued by the professional community. I returned to serious astronomy several years ago. I wanted to do more than just star gaze and taking pretty photos (which I still love). If you have felt the same way, then this book is a must read. Buchheim presents a plethora of different research programs that can be undertaken with modest (or even no) equipment. One of my particular interests is photometry, the measurement of light to study such things as variable stars and asteroid light curves. Buchheim takes the novice through all of the concepts and presents this material in a manner that allows the reader to understand the basic concepts and how to undertake a number of observing programs from differential photometry to all-sky to asteroid light curves The same is true for astrometry and the search for asteroids. And, these are just two of the areas of research discussed. In short, if you want to move from "just observing," and get into astronomical research and make valued contributions to science, this book will guide you through to success.
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