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Spectroscopy: The Key to the Stars: Reading the Lines in Stellar Spectra (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) [Paperback]

Keith Robinson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Jan 2007 0387367861 978-0387367866 2007

This is the first non-technical book on spectroscopy written specifically for practical amateur astronomers. It includes all the science necessary for a qualitative understanding of stellar spectra, but avoids a mathematical treatment which would alienate many of its intended readers. Any amateur astronomer who carries out observational spectroscopy and who wants a non-technical account of the physical processes which determine the intensity and profile morphology of lines in stellar spectra will find this is the only book written specially for them. It is an ideal companion to existing books on observational amateur astronomical spectroscopy.

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Spectroscopy: The Key to the Stars: Reading the Lines in Stellar Spectra (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) + Starlight: An Introduction to Stellar Physics for Amateurs (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) + Grating Spectroscopes and How to Use Them (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2007 edition (24 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387367861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387367866
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 764,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the reviews:

"If you ever wondered what the big deal is about spectroscopy or wished you understood it a little better, this book’s for you. Robinson takes a step-by-step approach to spectroscopy, each chapter building on the ones before it. … The book is a worthy addition to any advanced amateur astronomer’s library." (Michael Bakich, Astronomy, February, 2007)

"In this informative monograph, Robinson (Royal Astronomical Society) explains the basic concepts in terms that a general reader can master. Topics such as the characteristic radiation expected to be emitted by atoms, by ionized gas, and by molecules are addressed using illustrations and word descriptions of the physical processes. … the interested reader will find this book a stimulating introduction. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates." (D. E. Hogg, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (11), July, 2007)

"In Spectroscopy: The Key to the Stars, Keith Robinson makes spectroscopy approachable for those who are interested in expanding their observational repertoire. … Not only is this a good read for any observer thinking of taking up spectroscopy, but it’s also suitable for high school or first-year college students in astronomy and physics." (Carolyn Collins Petersen, Sky & Telescope, Vol. 115 (1), January, 2008)

"This is a small book (160 pages) written for amateur astronomers who use CCD cameras and include spectroscopy as part of their observational program. The main purpose of the book is to describe the physics and the physical processes behind the stellar spectra. … the topics considered are clearly and concisely described. The amateur astronomers, who are not familiar with physics or who have forgotten the essentials of this science, will read it … with interest and pleasure." (Emile Biemont, Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 29 (4), 2007)

From the Back Cover

More can be learned about physical processes going on in stars and nebulae by understanding and analyzing their spectra than by any other means.

Many amateur astronomers who use CCD cameras are taking up spectroscopy as part of their observational program, but until now the physics that underlies astronomical spectroscopy has been confined to advanced academic books.

Not any more!

In Spectroscopy – the Key to the Stars, Keith Robinson describes the physics and physical processes that cause the stellar spectra to be as they are… spectra that amateur astronomers can image with today’s commercially-made equipment. Written specifically for amateur astronomers, this book assumes only a basic knowledge of physics but looks in detail at many topics, including energy levels in atoms, the molecular spectra of red stars, emission lines in nebulae, and much, much more.

Here is everything you need to know about how the atomic processes in stars and nebulae produce the spectra that amateur astronomers can image, and why spectroscopy is such a powerful tool for astronomers.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 29 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not exactly bed-time reading but certainly deserving of a place in my library and recommended to anyone requiring a thorough grounding in astronomical spectroscopy.
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The author has a gift for explaining astrophysical phenomena. This is a very clear introduction. Feel I really understand the basics of stellar spectra now. Most undergraduate/graduate texts dive into the maths without giving an intuitive feel. The kindle version is a bit pricey but highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dawn of a new epoch of amateur astronomy 5 Aug 2007
By Luis Barneo Serra - Published on Amazon.com
This is the book that I was expecting for along time. As Professor of Surgery I have to read medical textbooks, and I appreciate those concise volumes dedicated to medical students that can help me, then I suppose that this book could be useful to astrophysics too, not only to amateur astronomers like me. The aims of Robinson's book have been successful: to explain the physical processes that cause the stellar spectra with a language understandable. I am very grateful to Robinson that the important concepts are showed repeatedly along the book. He teaches us how the quantum theory explains all spectral mysteries. Starting with the electromagnetic radiation, the black body concept, Robinson expounds in great detail, but very understandable, the electron transition, the energy levels (the famous Ha line), and the consequences when a photon collides with an atom (excitation, ionisation). The quantum numbers are depicted very well with clear diagrams, and how they determine the energy levels and the spectral series. Up to here, it is the atom lab information; but the stellar objects are very complexes: objects with velocity (the famous Doppler effect), and atmospheres with temperature, pressure, and turbulence..., physical processes that cause the broadening of spectral lines. Robinson details the spectral line profiles with examples useful to amateur astronomers. After to expound the absorption lines and the emission lines, Robinson explains the whys the nebulae, with gas that absorb the photons of the central star, have emission lines instead of absorption lines. Robinson use the chapter of accretion disks as pretext of to speak us that amateurs astronomers could performer astrophysical modelling. The book finishes with the exposition of the P Cygni profile, and the world of magnetic field. Robinson has been very clever with this difficult task, the magnetic field, in order to teach the important marks for the amateur. Finally my modest recommendations for those amateurs that would like to start in this field: to read the Tonkin's book "Practical Amateur Spectroscopy", and the course of Aude Peltier "Initiation a la spectographie" (tutorial of astrosurf.com).
Dr. Barneo
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read 30 Sep 2010
By Greg Powers - Published on Amazon.com
It's amazing how the author can make such difficult, complicated issues seem so easy. His explanations are clear and easy to understand even for this rather technical subject. This is one of the best scientific books I have ever read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 4 Jan 2011
By Mike A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written! I highly recommend it! This book builds a solid (but very understandable) foundation in the physics behind spectroscopy and then applies it evenly to amateur astronomy. Well done, Mr. Moore!
5.0 out of 5 stars Astronomy folks you'll love this book. 28 Nov 2013
By Clark Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Technical without being a textbook. If you understand some physics this book is just outstanding. A great re-read as we'll.
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem 26 Aug 2012
By Shane Anthony Pitts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an enlightening, well written, and easily understood book for any amateur. It's even a must read for those whom plan at acquiring a scientific degree. Well worth the 18$ plus price tag.
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