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Grating Spectroscopes and How to Use Them (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) Paperback – 2 Mar 2012

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From the Back Cover

Transmission grating spectroscopes look like simple filters and are designed to screw into place on the eyepiece tube of a telescope for visual use, or into a camera adapter for digicam or CCD imaging. They are relatively inexpensive and by far the easiest type of astronomical spectroscope to use, and so are the starting point for most beginners.

Using the most popular commercially made filter gratings - from Rainbow Optics in the United States to Star Analyser in the United Kingdon - as examples, the book provides all the information needed to set up and use the grating to obtain stellar spectra. It also presents methods of analyzing the results. No heavy mathematics or formulas are involved, although a reasonable level of proficiency in using an astronomic telescope and, if relevant, imaging camera, is assumed.

This book contains many practical hints and tips - something that is almost essential to success when starting out. It encourages new users to get quick results, and by following the worked examples, successfully carry out basic analysis of spectra.

With this author's earlier (intermediate level) book, Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs, this book provides a perfect companion for those who want to know a lot more about what spectrographs tell us about the stars. And you'd be surprised at how much they tell us!

About the Author

An avid amateur astronomer, Ken Harrison was born in Scotland where he trained as a mechanical engineer. He has been designing and building telescopes since the early 1960's and has built a series of spectroscopes for use on medium-sized amateur telescopes. He was Section Director of the Astronomical Society of Victoria, Australia, Astrophotographic Section for ten years and past president of the society. Harrison's university thesis (and his first publication) was Design and Construction of the Isaac Newton 98-inch Telescope (Strathclyde University, 1970). Since then he has published articles on optical design including "Blink Comparison" (BAA Journal Vol. 87, pg. 94) and "Method of Radially Supporting Large Mirrors" (Vol. 87, p. 154). He has made contributions to the Astronomical Society of Victoria Newslettre and was for three years the Editor of the 'N'Daba' newsletter of the Natal Centre, Astronomical Society of Southern Africa. His first book for Springer, called Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs (2010) serves as a useful companion to this volume.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great book from a leader in the field 17 Mar 2012
By T. Field - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book a perfect starting place for the newcomer to amateur astronomical spectroscopy. It covers a remarkably wide range of interesting and useful information, including all the basics you need to get started. It contains an excellent discussion of the different mountings for gratings, camera selection, how to capture images, what's involved in post-processing your spectra into profile graphs as well as how to interpret your results. Also included is a good presentation of the science of spectroscopy. There are excellent sample spectra, and several lists of good targets for the beginner.

The book is well-edited, and lives up to the high quality of the Springer/Patrick Moore series. My only complaint is that the small 6x9" Springer book format isn't sufficient for software screen-captures to be easily legible. However, even with that limitation, the production values, layout, and over-all quality are excellent.

Ken is an active leader in the amateur astronomical spectroscopy community. He's also the designer of the the increasingly popular Spectra-L200 spectroscope kit. And he is also an active participant in several on-line communities, including the RSpec real-time spectroscopy forum where he regularly coaches both newcomers and more experienced users. Over the years, his postings and his direct emails have helped many of us deepen our understanding and overcome obstacles we encountered. This book is a further expression of his passion for spectroscopy and his desire to see more involvement in it by amateur astronomers.

As author of the RSpec spectroscopy software, I'm regularly asked by newcomers for book recommendations. This book is now my number one choice. It answers all the questions that need to be answered, filling in what until now was an enormous gap in the literature. My congratulations to Ken for pulling so many disparate sources of information into such a well-rounded and cohesive publication.

I expect that this book will remain the standard introduction to the field of amateur astronomical spectroscopy for ... well, probably forever!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The first book to use for astronomical grating spectroscopes 17 April 2012
By David Haworth - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ken Harrison's "Grating Spectroscopes and How to Use Them" book is an excellent resource for starting out using gratings on astronomical objects. It will help you to take and analyze spectrums of the stars and other astronomical objects.

I highly recommend it if you are just starting out and you should join the Yahoo Group
astronomical_spectroscopy * Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs at
where Ken and other can further help you in your adventures with astronomical gratings.

Clear and dark skies,
David Haworth
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good source of information 23 May 2013
By Robert C. Pease - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recommend this source to anyone who wishes to take up astronomical spectroscopy. I am pursuing the subject since I just bought a Star Analyzer, a spectroscopic lens for my video camera.
A must have 28 Sep 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I know Ken Harrison from several forums. This is an outstanding introduction to grating spectroscopy! A must have if you are interested in this sort of thing!
Four Stars 11 Nov 2014
By Jorge - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It has good information how to use grating spectroscopes.
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