Surveying the Skies: How Astronomers Map the Universe
Since the time of Galileo, astronomy has been driven by technological innovation. With each major advance has come the opportunity and enthusiasm to survey the sky in a way that was not possible before. It is these surveys of discovery that are the subject of this book.
In the first few chapters the author discusses what astronomers learned from visible-light surveys, first with the naked eye, then using telescopes in the seventeenth century, and photography in the nineteenth century. He then moves to the second half of the twentieth century when the skies started to be swept by radio, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray and gamma ray telescopes, many of which had to be flown in satellites above the Earth’s atmosphere. These surveys led to the discovery of pulsars, quasars, molecular clouds, protostars, bursters, and black holes.
He then returns to Earth to describe several currently active large-scale projects that methodically collect images, photometry and spectra that are then stored in vast publicly-accessible databases. Dr. Wynn-Williams also describes several recent “microsurveys” – detailed studies of small patches of sky that have led to major advances in our understanding of cosmology and exoplanets.
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2MASS all-sky antenna Array asteroids astrometry astronomers binary brightness Caltech camera Chapter clusters constellation dark matter detected detectors diameter discovered discovery distance distant galaxies Earth Earth’s atmosphere exoplanet fainter Figure galactic plane GALEX gamma rays gravitational ground-based telescopes Hipparchus Hipparcos Hubble Space Telescope hydrogen Image credit infrared instrument International Publishing Switzerland IRAS Jupiter Kepler launched MACHO magnitude major measured Milky Way galaxy mirror Moon NASA neutron star objects observations Observatory optical orbit Pan-STARRS parallax parsecs particles patch of sky photographic photon Planck Planck satellite planets plates proper motions Publishing Switzerland 2016 pulsars quasars radiation radio astronomy radio telescope range redshift region ROSAT satellite sensitivity shows Sky Survey solar system spectral lines Springer International Publishing star catalog supernova Surveying the Skies Switzerland 2016 G temperature Tycho UKIRT ultraviolet universe visible light waveband wavelengths whole sky Wikipedia WMAP Wynn-Williams