Observing the Solar System: The Modern Astronomer's Guide Hardcover – 25 Oct 2012
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'… engagingly written, and the author's enthusiasm constantly shows through … an attractive book that will serve as a useful guide to those about to enter this complex field.' The Observatory: A Review of Astronomy
'This book is about observing the Solar System and, to be honest, it does what it says on the tin! … I would recommend [it] for an interested amateur astronomer.' Journal of the British Astronomical Association
'This book provides useful information which will interest both the observer and the armchair "student" of practical astronomy.' Spaceflight
Written by a well-known and experienced amateur astronomer, this is a practical primer for all aspiring observers of the planets and other Solar System objects. Whether you are a beginner or more advanced astronomer, you will find all you need in this book to help develop your knowledge and skills.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. Earth and Sky - half is about basic geology of the Earth and the other half discusses meteors.
2. Moon and planet observer's hardware - this whole chapter is about what type of telescope setup you need for observing the moon and planets.
3. The Solar System framed - discusses CCD cameras for amateur astrophotography
4. Stacking up the Solar System - this whole chapter is about "focus stacking" with astrophotography to get better images.
5. Our Moon - This is one of the better chapters of the book and is very comprehensive for an amateur lunar observer. It discusses lunar characteristics and what you can expect when viewing the moon. I found some very useful info in it that I didn't already know.
6. Mercury and Venus - You're not going to see much in a telescope when observing these two planets due to their size and apparent magnitude, but it discusses their orbits and phases and has some interesting info on transits.
7. Mars - a decent chapter on observing through a telescope, and with the naked eye, as well as the orbit of Mars and its moons.
8. Jupiter - One of the better chapters of the book and that I've found in an amateur astronomer's guide, with information on observing the planet and its moons.
9. Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune - Half about Saturn and its moons, and half about Uranus and Neptune.
10. Small Worlds - Asteroids, Pluto, binocular observing, asteroid photography, and photometry (which I feel is a bit dry and could have been left out).
11. Comets - 1/3 discusses comet behavior, and the rest is about comet photography and photometry.
12. Our daytime star - solar characteristics, tips for safe solar viewing without setting your eyeballs on fire, and sunspots.
All in all, a good book and recommended read.
I do wish more of the illustrations were in colour. Sometimes, some information is not illustrated, that needed to be, like that on noctilucent clouds. There are only 8 pages of colour plates. The many line diagrams are good and there is abundant common sense advice on observing the solar system.
The history of many of these bodies and that of unmanned spacecraft is given. The `old-fashioned' idea of drawing the planets you observe is interesting and a challenge to those who are fascinated by this. The reliability of solar filters is stressed with some sites included and some suggested excellent books for further investigation on viewing solar eclipses.
This book is for your committed sky gazer. The information is somewhat technical, but explained in a simplified fashion. This is the solar system, including visitors such as comets, asteroids and meteorites - not the stars or constellations.
I do like that it gives plenty of practical advice about different telescopes, particularly the parts on using different lenses and barlow lenses. Some of the information we had already figured out by visiting various message boards for hobbyist astronomers, but this book gave great explanations that can be used to help our daughter improve on what she's been learning to do.
I do feel the book is a bit dry and can be intimidating to someone who is just starting out with astronomy. Overall, this is still a great book to have on hand as a reference. I'm pretty sure this book will be of more use to our daughter as she becomes a bit more seasoned with her star gazing hobby.