Getting the Measure of the Stars

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Taylor & Francis, Jan 1, 1989 - Science - 293 pages
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Many years ago amateur astronomers made observations of equal quality to professionals and hence could participate in the intellectual challenge of advancing our knowledge of the universe. Throughout most of this century, however, the cost and complexity of telescopes and instruments have generally precluded their contribution. With the advent of home computers and relatively cheap electronics, the pendulum has swung back and the time is now ripe for amateurs to join their professional colleagues in the excitement of discovery.

Getting the Measure of the Stars bridges the gap between dedicated amateurs and fully fledged professionals, both who seek to understand the nature and evolution of the stars. In terms accessible to the layperson, the first part explains how and why some stars have varying brightness, and what this variation can tell us about their physics and structure. The authors go on to discuss how to make brightness measurements, either by the unaided eye or by using photoelectric photometers. The book also discusses the accuracies of various methods and the limitations on projects. The final section describes possible projects, the observations required, and what these would do to enhance our understanding of the stars and the solar system. Incorporating a great deal of theoretical and observational expertise, this book is a vital source of reference for those wishing to maximize their enjoyment from the use of small telescopes.

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About the author (1989)

Cooper, Open University, UK.

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