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The Planet Observer's Handbook - Fred W. Price

The Planet Observer's Handbook

Paperback Published: 11th September 2001
ISBN: 9780521789813
Number Of Pages: 448

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Here is an informative, up-to-date and well-illustrated guide to planetary observations for amateurs. After chapters on the solar system and the celestial sphere, the text explains how to choose, test and use a telescope with various accessories and how to make observations and record results. For each planet and the asteroids, Price gives details of observational techniques, together with suggestions for how to make contributions of sound astronomical value. From a general description and detailed observational history of each planet, readers learn how to anticipate what they should see and assess their own observations. New to this edition is a chapter on planetary photography that includes the revolutionary use of videography, charge coupled devices and video-assisted drawing. Another new feature is a section on the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. Other chapters on making maps and planispheres and on photoelectric photometry round out the book's up-to-date treatment, making this indispensable reading for both casual and serious observer alike.

Industry Reviews

'... [contains] a tremendous amount of useful information, and helpful advice ... a definite success ... valuable both to the beginner and to the serious planetary observer. I strongly recommend it.' Patrick Moore, New Scientist '... [contains] many pearls of information ... presented concisely with excellent illustrations ... a synopsis of historical observations provides excellent foundations for planning observational programs...' Donald Parker, Sky and Telescope 'This first-class introductory book ... is one of the best ... A great deal of invaluable information, factual and historical, has been condensed into this handbook ...'. Irish Astronomical Journal '... contains a wealth of information ... an excellent handbook on the planets. Recommended.' Reference Book Review 'The Planetary Observer's Handbook is a valuable source of information and advice for anyone interested in our planetary neighbours. It is an enthusiastic and well written work and I recommend it to both the beginner and the serious planetary observer.' Antony Brian, Astronomy Now 'Whether your interest is in simple visual observation, scientifically useful observing projects or anywhere in between The Planet Observer's Handbook is the book for you.' Astronomy and Space

Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgementsp. xv
Abbreviations used in this bookp. xvii
Introduction: Why observe the planets?p. 1
The Solar Systemp. 4
Generalp. 4
A scale model of the Solar Systemp. 9
Bode's Lawp. 10
Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motionp. 11
Elements of planetary orbits. Perturbationsp. 12
Planetary conjunctions, oppositions, phases and transitsp. 12
The sidereal and synodic orbital periods of the planetsp. 15
The brightness of the planetsp. 18
Further readingp. 19
The celestial spherep. 20
Generalp. 20
Positions on the celestial spherep. 21
The ecliptic and the Zodiacp. 21
Celestial latitude and longitudep. 25
The precession of the equinoxes. Nutationp. 26
Sidereal time (star time)p. 27
The apparent motions of the planets on the celestial spherep. 27
Further readingp. 30
Telescopes and accessoriesp. 31
Types of telescopesp. 31
The choice of telescopep. 40
Protecting the telescope from dust and atmospheric pollutionp. 65
Cleaning the mirror of a Newtonian reflectorp. 66
Housing and care of your telescopep. 66
Further readingp. 68
The atmosphere and seeingp. 69
Generalp. 69
Assessing atmospheric seeing conditionsp. 70
The effect of telescope aperturep. 70
Local effects on seeingp. 71
Further Readingp. 72
Mercuryp. 73
Generalp. 73
History of observationp. 75
Visibility of Mercuryp. 85
The axial rotation of Mercuryp. 88
Observing Mercuryp. 90
Transits of Mercuryp. 95
Further readingp. 100
Venusp. 102
Generalp. 102
History of observationp. 105
Space probe exploration of Venusp. 120
Observing Venusp. 124
Transits of Venusp. 133
Further readingp. 134
Marsp. 135
Generalp. 135
Orbital characteristicsp. 136
Predicting oppositionsp. 138
The retrograde motion of Marsp. 139
Martian seasonsp. 141
Surface featuresp. 143
Atmospheric phenomenap. 146
History of observationp. 148
Observing Marsp. 170
Features for observationp. 177
Longitude determination of Martian featuresp. 183
Further readingp. 186
The minor planets (asteroids)p. 188
Generalp. 188
Discovery and history of observation of the minor planetsp. 189
Visibility of the minor planetsp. 197
Observing the minor planetsp. 197
Further readingp. 207
Jupiterp. 209
Generalp. 209
History of observationp. 213
Variations in the cloud beltsp. 222
The 1994 Shoemaker-Levy cometary impact event on Jupiterp. 227
Surface markings of the satellitesp. 230
Spacecraft observation of Jupiterp. 223
Visibility of Jupiterp. 236
Observing Jupiterp. 237
Determination of the longitudes of Jovian features by central meridian transit timingsp. 238
Classification and description of Jovian disc featuresp. 243
Determination of latitudes of Jovian featuresp. 245
Disc drawings, strip and sectional sketchesp. 249
Determination of rotational periods of Jovian features from longitudinal driftp. 251
Observations of the Great Red Spotp. 253
Colour changes and intensity estimates of Jovian featuresp. 256
General observing notesp. 257
Further readingp. 269
Saturnp. 270
Generalp. 270
History of observationp. 273
Spacecraft exploration of Saturnp. 301
The satellites of Saturnp. 305
Visibility of Saturnp. 307
Observing Saturnp. 307
Recent oppositions of Saturnp. 320
Further readingp. 321
Uranusp. 323
Generalp. 323
The discovery of Uranusp. 327
Prediscovery sightings of Uranusp. 330
History of observationp. 330
Spacecraft exploration of Uranusp. 339
Visibility of Uranusp. 341
Observing Uranusp. 341
Further readingp. 344
Neptunep. 346
Generalp. 346
The discovery of Neptunep. 346
Prediscovery sightings of Neptunep. 352
History of observationp. 353
Spacecraft exploration of Neptunep. 357
Visibility of Neptunep. 361
Observing Neptunep. 361
Further readingp. 362
Plutop. 364
Generalp. 364
The search for a trans-Neptunian planetp. 365
The discovery of Plutop. 366
History of observationp. 367
Beyond Plutop. 372
Visibility of Plutop. 374
Observing Plutop. 374
Further readingp. 375
Constructing maps and planispheresp. 377
Generalp. 377
The horizontal orthographic projectionp. 377
Cylindrical projectionsp. 378
The polar projectionp. 381
Further readingp. 382
Planetary photography and videographyp. 383
Generalp. 383
The planetary photographer's camerap. 383
Choice of filmp. 387
Characteristics of some filmsp. 388
Black and white film processingp. 389
Photography of individual planetsp. 389
Exposure timesp. 392
Video and CCD photography (videography) of the planetsp. 393
Using a CCD camerap. 396
Suppliers of CCD camerasp. 400
Video-assisted drawing (VAD) of the planetsp. 402
A note on digital imagingp. 403
Further readingp. 403
Photoelectric photometry of the minor planets, planets and their satellitesp. 405
Generalp. 405
The photoelectric photometer and its componentsp. 406
Telescopes for photoelectric photometryp. 408
Photoelectric photometric procedurep. 409
Photoelectric photometry of the minor planetsp. 409
Colorimetric photoelectric photometryp. 411
Photoelectric photometry of the planets and their satellitesp. 412
Further readingp. 414
Milestones in Solar System explorationp. 415
Name indexp. 417
Subject indexp. 421
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521789813
ISBN-10: 0521789818
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 448
Published: 11th September 2001
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.82 x 18.72  x 2.49
Weight (kg): 0.79
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised

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