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Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) 2011th Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1441972385
ISBN-10: 1441972382
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs is a complete guide for amateur astronomers who are looking for a new challenge beyond astrophotography. The book provides a brief overview of the history and development of the spectroscope, then a short introduction to the theory of stellar spectra, including details on the necessary reference spectra required for instrument testing and spectral comparison. The various types of spectroscopes available to the amateur are then described. Later sections cover all aspects of setting up and using various types of commercially available and home-built spectroscopes, starting with basic transmission gratings and going through more complex models, all the way to the sophisticated Littrow design. The final part of the text is about practical spectroscope design and construction. This book uniquely brings together a collection of observing, analyzing, and processing hints and tips that will allow the amateur to build skills in preparing scientifically acceptable spectra data. It covers all aspects of designing, constructing, testing, calibrating, and using a spectroscope and enables the average amateur astronomer to successfully build and use a homemade spectroscope for a fraction of the current commercial cost. As Professor Chris Kitchin said, “If optical spectroscopy had not been invented then fully 75 percent of all astronomical knowledge would be unknown today, and yet the subject itself re-ceives scant attention in astronomical texts.” This book answers that need. It is the practical spectroscopy book that amateur astronomers have been waiting for!

About the Author

Ken Harrison was born in Scotland where he trained as a mechanical engineer. He has been designing and building telescopes since the early 1960's and has built a series of spectroscopes for use on medium sized amateur telescopes. He was Section Director of the Astronomical Society of Victoria, Australia, Astrophotographic Section for ten years and past President of the Society. Harrison's university thesis (and his first publication) was Design and Construction of the Isaac Newton 98-inch Telescope (Strathclyde University, 1970). Since then he has published many articles on optical design, including "Blink Comparison" (BAA Journal Vol87, p94) and "Method of Radially Supporting Large Mirrors" (Vol87, p154). He has made contributions to the Astronomical Society of Victoria Newsletter and was for three years the Editor of the 'N'Daba' newsletter of the Natal Centre, Astronomical Society of Southern Africa.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series
  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2011 edition (February 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441972382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441972385
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By T. Field on February 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a welcome addition to the discipline's literature. It fills a real need for both theoretical and practical "how-to" information for amateur astronomers.

The writing, organization, editing, layout, color graphics and images are all excellent and reflect the high production values of Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series (Springer) publications.

The book is divided into three sections:

Part One: Introduction to Spectroscopy - Covers the history and theory of the field, including a good discussion of the different types of spectroscopes. Even if you have read this kind of background on the field many times before, you'll find that Ken's presentation and his inclusion of new details makes it fresh and interesting reading.

Part Two: Obtaining and Analyzing Spectra - Discusses how to setup and images with converging beam as well as reflection grating spectroscopes. It also discusses different cameras including DSLRs. There's a chapter that describes how to use VSpec for image processing. This section finishes up with a good discussion of different amateur spectroscope observing projects.

Part Three: Design and Construction - Frankly, my initial response when I thumbed through this section was that it wasn't for me, since I don't plan to ever build my own spectroscope. But, now, having read it through, I think that this section will be appreciated by almost everyone. Yes, there were places that it was a bit more technical than I was interested in. But, the majority of the material I found engaging and very helpful in filling in gaps in my knowledge. Even if you never plan to build your own spectroscope, I think you'll find this section interesting and informative.
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This "source" is very complete, easy to understand, and well laid out for the amateur astronomer. Each section deals with different parts of what a beginning or advanced amateur astronomer needs to be aware of when learning about and building the different types of equipment used to see and record the light spectrum being imitated from stars - our own star (sun) included.
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This is an excellent introduction to amateur spectroscopy. It provides a great overview of the different types of spectrographs and how to use them on astronomical objects. Highly recommended.
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I bought this book because Ken has helped me so much on-line. I found the book to be very well written and covers what you need to know to design, build and operate a Spectroscope. In includes a large section on calibration and photography.
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