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on 2 February 2005
If you are doing a degree in Astrophysics or Astronomy and want a book that is going to last and provide a broad knowledge of astronomy and will last throughout your degree, this is a book to get. If you want pretty pictures and hand-wavy explanations and descriptions, get another book. If you want a bit a detail, and some solid (but not complicated) mathematical background to help understand the astrophysics presented more deeply, this book does a good job. It provides nice simple mathematical models for otherwise complicated processes such as stellar structure, planetary physics and galactic astronomy. It also has some useful appendicies with those easy-to-forget astronomical constants and numbers you need for homeworks. I bought this in the first year of my undergraduate degree, and I am still using it during my PhD. What more can I say?
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on 5 April 2003
This is a great book. I was recommended it for my course (physics with astrophysics) and as a first year have found it very useful in the more specific areas of study. Having said that, it gives a great overview of the subject matter. It is clearly set out in an easy to follow manner, and the information is understandable! (not a mean feat for astro books!). I would certainly recommend this book to anyone doing any space science/astronomy degree, and even to the informed reader who simply wants to learn more. A good understanding of physics is a must though (gcse-alevel) as it will not teach you ALL the fundementals. Really helpful, but don't expect it to simply dish out the answers to those seminar questions...
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on 19 July 2010
The book is more thorough than it's competitor "Astronomy, A physical perspective" by Marc Kutler.
With thinner paper it is slimmer but has about 100 pages more than its competition. Both look at astronomy from a physical perspective and therefore are not simple popular reading but do pose the physical questions and equations.
The order of topics in both cases is starting from the solar system and ending at the rim of the known universe.
The book, with its b/w illustrations, is a little dated with its 4th edition of 1998 whereas the "physical perspective" first edition dates from 2003 and uses colour in abundance. Both are great books to dive a little deeper into astronomy. The "astrophysics" is a slightly heavier read.
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This is essential for 1st Year (and 2nd year) Astronomy students.
A previous edition of this book was on the reading list for the Astronomy and Astrophysics courses during my Degree at UCL (Physical Sciences) back in 1994, and it was essential.
Brilliantly written, well illustrated and clearly explained. With the mathematics and physics clearly explained and working shown rather than just chucked.
It helped me a lot, and well, it's essential!

What I love more about this book is that years alter, having Graduated and now in a completely different field and profession, this has pride of place on my bookshelf, it is a superb reference manual, and has been well thumbed through over the years, as the wealth of material and information contained within is always of value.

Overall, the best book on the subject I have ever read, (for those with my limited knowledge and qualification) and is also a perfect reference book on Astronomy and Astrophysics for the layman too - as the text is so good as are the pictures.
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on 29 May 2001
This was the recommended text some of the lecture courses in my Physics with Astronomy degree, and I have to say that I've returned to it time and time again.
Everything is explained clearly and all of the background knowledge you need to tackle a problem is given. It can be a bit daunting to a first-year undergraduate, although it will prove invaluable in second and third year - but in saying that, some more advanced concepts are not always developed as fully as you would expect.
All in all though - an excellent book, and a great complement to Carroll & Ostlie or Binney & Merrifield for more advanced stuff.
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on 12 August 2008
This book isexactly what it claims to be in the preface, the best introduction to astronomy and astrophysics for the mathematically literate around. its big, packed with useful information, the physics prelude reminds you of everything you know, and teaches some stuff you might not know. A reasonable grasp of physics (at least A-Level), and Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus is also required.
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on 22 August 2014
This book is not as easy as i thought it would be to grasp. I have studied physics at A-level, soon uni, and there is alot in here i dont get. This is why i have highly rated this book. Too often the content isnt discriptive enough and too simple, this book has content that really will go the distance and so i know this is a good buy. Look forward to grasping its content and understanding it fully
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on 7 July 2014
The book that got me through my first degree. Perfect in balancing the differing needs of astronomers and astrophysicists, I also wholeheartedly recommend this book for astronomy enthusiasts who want more out of their hobby than just observations.
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on 5 November 1999
This introduction to astronomy was simply breathtaking. Packed with information and easily accessable to the casual reader and student alike, this book is a must read for anyone who has taken the time to ponder over the origins of the universe in which we live. An important and profound experience which is simply too magnificent to put into words.
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on 28 April 2000
This book covers an astonishling range of theoretical and experimental astrophyisics in a hugely readable style. This is not a book aimed at the general public, but the mathematically literate (at least A level maths/physics) wanting a deep understanding of the universe will struggle to find better. Buy it !
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