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Fundamental Astronomy [Hardcover]

Hannu Karttunen , Pekka Kröger , Heikki Oja , Markku Poutanen , Karl Johan Donner
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £47.99
Price: £40.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Jun 2007 3540341439 978-3540341437 5th ed. 2007

Fundamental Astronomy is a well-balanced, comprehensive introduction to classical and modern astronomy. While emphasizing both the astronomical concepts and the underlying physical principles, the text provides a sound basis for more profound studies in the astronomical sciences. This is the fifth edition of the successful undergraduate textbook and reference work. It has been extensively modernized and extended in the parts dealing with extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. You will also find augmented sections on the solar system and extrasolar planets as well as a new chapter on astrobiology. Long considered a standard text for physical science majors, Fundamental Astronomy is also an excellent reference work for dedicated amateur astronomers.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 5th ed. 2007 edition (27 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3540341439
  • ISBN-13: 978-3540341437
  • Product Dimensions: 26.4 x 18.3 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"For the book to reach the fourth edition, it must be hitting a niche in the market. The preface to the first edition in 1987 identifies that market as a ‘university textbook for a first course in astronomy’ which is also suited for serious amateurs who ‘find the popular texts too trivial’. In my opinion, that description from the original preface is ‘spot on’ and makes this volume a must-buy for any serious amateur looking for a comprehensive overview of matters astronomical." (Roger Feasey, Auckland Astronomical Society Journal, March 2004)

"This work remains a most excellent textbook for the student as well as the dedicated amateur astronomer." (ORION 62/321, )

"If you are looking for a solid undergraduate text outlining the physics which underpins so much of modern astronomy then this book will be a very useful addition to your personal library." (Astronomy Now, May 2004)

"… The wide range of expertise gives the book an authority that would be almost impossible for a single-author text ... There are other aids to the reader: worked examples ... starred sections in small print take the inquisitive reader beyond the general level of the book." (Nature)

"… Unique among available texts and has so much to offer ... No one involved in astronomy teaching will want to be without a copy." (The Physics Teacher)

"Gives a solid foundation to the basic ideas of astronomy in a clear and accessible fashion … Fundamental ideas are developed clearly and applied to real problems, and solutions are worked out." (Sky & Telescope)

From the reviews of the fourth edition:

"This book will well serve its readership which includes both undergraduate physical science and mathematics students … . covers all the important subjects of an introductory course in astronomy. … is beautifully illustrated with many black and white and color photographs, which will be most appealing … . they have produced a book that will prove useful for many years … . As such it is highly recommended … to the general reader who wants to be pleasantly and highly informed about astronomy." (Fernande Grandjean, Gary J. Long, Physicalia, Vol. 26(1), 2004)

"The book remains a calculus-based textbook and reference source containing many exercises … for the proper comprehension of the subjects treated. … This work remains a most excellent textbook for the student as well as the dedicated amateur astronomer. … can considerably widen the vision of the student … ." (Noël Cramer, ORIAN-Zeitschrift der Schweizerischen Astronomischen Gesellschaft Vol. 62(321), 2004)

"Fundamental Astronomy is both the title and an excellent description of the content … . is also suited for serious amateurs who "find the popular texts too trivial". In my opinion … this volume a must-buy for any serious amateur looking for a comprehensive overview of matters astronomical. … Its usefulness for education purposes is enhanced by worked examples in each section followed by exercises." (AAS Journal, March, 2004)

"This is the 4th edition of this well known and well tested undergraduate-level text on astronomy. … All the derivations are well done and the problems selected for student work are interesting and will undoubtedly help the student in his or her studies. … if you are looking for a solid undergraduate text outlining the physics which underpins so much of modern astronomy then this book will be a very useful addition to your personal library." (Kevin P. Marshall, Astronomy Now, May, 2004)

From the reviews of the fifth edition: “This textbook, suitable for a university first course in astronomy, is the outgrowth of a long and outstanding astronomical tradition in Finland, and the result of an extensive collaborative effort, which included also teaching and interaction with many people. … I highly recommend this book for class use … it will be useful for professionals as well.” (Bruno Bertotti, Prometeo, Vol. 24 (3-4), 2008)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars In depth astronomy text book 18 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Scandinavian in its authorship and in its thoroughness. I bought it as support for an American text book for a distance learning astronomy course. It is well presented and clear, but quite dense with lots of mathematics. Excellent for my purposes but not a book to sit down and read. Like most text books it is quite expensive, though. The quality of the paper and the print is borderline acceptable for the price.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A really nice textbook you can always open and check stuff. Has all the fundamental information you'll ever gonna need and much much more. ++ for the hardcover.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental Astronomy 29 May 2009
Excellent new edition. Anyone with basic college math and Physics will enjoy this great book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice!!! 4 May 2012
By PersonReviewing - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted an introductory astrophysics text that had math and wasn't just a popular text. This text fit my requirments. It has a bit of math higher than algebra. There is even a appendix covering multiple integrals. This text would also be readable without the math so it can serve as an undergraduate one year astrophysics text or an interesting text for anyone interested in astronomy. I wish it had a little more about high energy astrophysics, but it is a very good book and my favorite astrophysics book. The authors seem to be good teachers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid work 6 Dec 2013
By Stargazer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
High quality epos from beginning to last page. Took a lot of time to get through though before you need to begin again. You can use this work as a reference for years to come. In case you burn for astronomy, buy it. In case your interest is not particularly high, use another more basic book. I can recommend it definitely, but had difficulties to follow the technical reasoning from time to time although my engineering background.
Hyvaa tyota pojat.
Kristofer Stiernhufvud
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Print Quality Issue 23 May 2010
By Tarek A. Idriss - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm familiar with the previous edition as I used to borrow it from my uni library. I've already completed the first three chapters. The exercises are great, you might want to write a program for some of the stuff if you have some programming skills. The book is just great for an amateur astronomer; the math is a bit advanced for most people frankly, but if you're already into astronomy and physics you probably have a good mathematics and physics background so it shouldn't be hard to sharpen it.

The only thing I found disappointing was the print quality. The book first couple of pages were already torn from the rest when I received the book and you can tell easily that's it's one book you need to handle with a lot of care.
9 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars FUNDAMENTAL errors in teaching ASTRONOMY 14 Mar 2009
By Furious George - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
NOTE: This review refers to the ENGLISH language version. Also, please forgive me if I sound like typical, self-centered American. The focus of my review will be for English speaking Americans. This is because the Amazon description of the book gives little indication as to who this book is aimed at, and it quickly became clear to me only after I purchased it that the focus wasn't america, and so i'd like to warn others:

Let me give a brief background of myself and why I sought out this book: I am an American born, raised, and schooled in America. I have a bachelors in math with a minor in astro, and a masters in math education. I am looking to return to grad school in the hopes of obtaining a PhD in applied math with an emphasis on astro. I wanted to brush up on my undergraduate astronomy studies before returning to school and so I was looking for a reputable text that would be sufficient for self study. The descriptions of the book as well as Amazon reviews and other internet reviews made me choose this title. Unfortunately, this book is riddled with problems that make studying from it and appreciating the subject matter unnecessarily difficult:

1. The english version of the book is merely a TRANSLATION. I lived overseas for a few years and so I have come to recognize when the english language is being written by a fluent/native speaker or when it is being directly translated from another language with poor respect for the new language. Consequently, there are many awkward sentences, poorly structured paragraphs, and there are even random sentences that seem out of place within a paragraph. I am not nitpicking as if I were a grammar-crazed nut, what I'm saying is that after a few pages of reading it becomes clear that the language being used is not very natural english. The book may be in English, but it requires further translation into understandable, cohesive English.

2. Some of the common math formulas, and the way in which diagrams are labeled appear in somewhat different forms (certainly not incorrect, just different from an american math textbook approach). I'm guessing that this is how it's done in Europe, but for an american it will require an extra step (and wasted time) to turn a formula into a more recognizable 'american' version.

3. Black and White pictures! This is the 21st century and the most visually inspiring science is being robbed of its awe and wonder by being displayed in BLACK AND WHITE! If this were the 1970's, fine. But seeing as how anyone can turn on their laptops or iphones and look up high resolution color photos on NASA's website, including black and white photos is really just an ugly waste of time. However, There are a few color pictures in their own section in the very back of the book. But really, it feels like a poor last minute effort to pad the book.

I cannot recommend this book to any American. There is just too much extra work required on behalf of an American reader to make sense of it, especially considering there are plenty of American textbooks with an American approach to math that won't require the extra effort of translation and that also aren't limited to black and white photos.

Perhaps a european who speaks english, but not Finnish will get some use out of it. And maybe the Finnish version is great for the people of Finland, but I would not recommend this book to be used in any American university.

My recommendation for a proper undergraduate introduction to astronomy: Universe 9th edition by Freedman.
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