- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (December 11, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521789818
- ISBN-13: 978-0521789813
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,451,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Planet Observer's Handbook 2nd Edition
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"...a refreshing book...There is a tremendous amount of useful information, and helpful advice for casual observers, and for those who are anxious to contribute information of real scientific value...Price has put a great deal of effort into the book, and it must be regarded as a definite success. It will be valuable both to the beginner and to the serious planetary observer. I strongly recommend it." New Scientist
"...offers much for the casual observer and 'armchair astronomer', aimed also at those who wish to contribute to our knowledge of the planets...many pearls of information...presented concisely with excellent illustrations...a synopsis of historical observations provides excellent foundations for planning observational programs...brief resumes of spacecraft data follow, emphasizing interesting and helpful facts...well-written and detailed enough to guide the beginning researcher." Sky & Telescope
This is an informative, up-to-date and well-illustrated guide for amateur astronomers who wish to make useful observations of the solar system planets and asteroids. The author provides highly-detailed practical instructions to observational techniques and the recording and analysis of data together with the observational history of each planet and the asteroids. Photoelectric photometry, videography and planetary photography are discussed, including sections on the revolutionary charge-coupled devices and on video-assisted drawing.
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This book is replete with details on the numerous features visible on the planets through amateur telescopes. It also gives advice on what type of telescope to use and what magnifications to employ. Basic scientific data on each planet (rotation rate, mass, distance, etc.) is included for reference as well as a lengthy history of observation for each planet, but the emphasis of this book is on *amateur observation*, as implied by the title. You won't find theories on Saturn's cloud decks or the origins of Mars' surface features. What you will find are detailed tips and advice on how to look for and draw the spokes in Saturn's rings, festoons between Jupiter's cloud belts, the "purple haze" on Mars, filters to employ, etc.
A necessary work at a great price for the hardcore planet observer! For the casual amateur, a bit expensive and over-the-top but still a useful addition to the library. I give it five stars because it adheres to its stated purpose faithfully and with style.
The book is over 400 pages long, all written in 10 point Times font. There are very little illustrations and photo, and they are all in black and white. So it looks like a college science textbook and is very challenging visually.
Each of the sections on each planet have the same subsections such as "History of Observation" (mostly useless to me), "Observing [Jupiter, etc.]" and "Space craft Obsevation of [Jupiter, etc.]"
It also seems that to see most of the stuff described in this book, you need to have a telescope that is at least 8 inches, so that is out of my league.
However, in fairness, I know that this is a very compresensive book on the subject, and answers all possible questions that one may have on observing the planets.
But as I said, this book is more suitable for the advanced amateur Astronomer.
I must admit, my opinion of this book may have been heavily skewed because I "accidentally" read the introduction. In there, Fred Price compares planetary astronomers to real "observers" and anyone who observes deep-sky objects to "sightseers".
Hmmm... the AAVSO might differ with that opinion, as would a number of organizations who do deep sky research. Maybe I was just too sensitive, but the introduction did rub me the wrong way. It is true, I do often "sight see" deep sky objects for the challenge of seeing something I had not seen and to improve my "observing eye" (ability to see detail with your eyes). I do not care what Dr. Price thinks of me in doing so. However, I know many people who think the opposite way, that observing the planets is a dull and boring task that already much is known about. I think both sides are wrong to be so damned elitist about it.
Besides that, it is a good book :-)