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Telescopes and Techniques: An Introduction to Practical Astronomy (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) Paperback – 2 Jun 2010
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From the reviews: "The stated aim of this publication is to introduce aspiring astronomers, be they students or amateurs, to the basic techniques required for using telescopes and accessories and finding objects in the night sky. ... Throughout are numerous black-white drawings which well illustrate the text. … Exercises appear at the end of each appropriate chapter, the answers to be found at the back of the book. … a publication which can be confidently recommended to aspiring astronomers setting out on their journey to the stars." (Richard Chambers, The Observatory, Vol. 124 (1181), 2004) From the reviews of the second edition: "Chris Kitchin’s updated Telescopes and Techniques is described as ‘… an introduction for anyone wanting a firm grounding in the essentials of astronomy’. The author has aimed the book primarily for first-year astronomy or physics students … . The book itself is beautifully presented … . For the student or armchair astronomer this book is a must have, and a worthwhile investment for more actively minded amateurs who are starting out in astronomy … . has a place in any budding astronomer’s library." (Cameron Jack, Southern Stars, 2004) "In 1995 Chris Kitchin set out to provide an introduction for undergraduates and the interested layman that covered the basic techniques in astronomy … . This 2nd edition covers a wide range of subjects from types of telescope through visual observing, data reduction and radio astronomy to spectrometry … . I found his account of ‘aberrations’ and ‘positions and motions’ particularly interesting, and it was impressive to see the different types of polarisation summed up so succinctly. … a book well worth reading." (Grant Privett, Astronomy Now, May, 2004)
From the Inside Flap
Chris Kitchin has written an easy-to-read book explaining how to use a small telescope and find your way around the sky. Covering all the basic topics - telescopes, optics, positions & motion, observing, and instruments - Telescopes and Techniques has been designed as an introduction for anyone wanting a firm grounding in the essentials of astronomy.
Whether you are an amateur astronomer, an undergraduate student, or just someone who wants to learn more about this fascinating subject, Telescopes and Techniques is an ideal place to start.
This revised and extended edition takes into account recent technical changes, especially those in astronomical instrumentation.See all Product description
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The diligent reader should, with the help of this book and some time and application develop all the technical skills needed to understand and properly use astronomical tables, almanacs and telescopes, and will have an appreciation of the fundamentals of all modern astronomy techniques. She or he will be more than capable of interpreting RA and Dec values and of annotating their own, and will be well on the way to having all the necessary intellectual skills needed to design and build their own observing equipment.
The level of maths needed is not beyond O-Level- no calculus is necessary and only one sigma function makes a brief appearance. The maths is simple, and very very powerful.
This is not a guide to the night sky. The two star review of this work mistakenly assessed it as such and is therefore a largely irrelevant complaint. Frankly that reviewer picked the wrong book. This book is suitable for any reader, old or young, who wants to get fully to grips with optical astronomy, and wants to know how the tools of the trade really work.
My local astronomy society has a copy in the library that is well used, and I am seriously considering buying the second edition.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
For the most part concerning the structure of the book I was correct. However, the information provided is on a much higher level then that normally provided for the beginner. In fact, I don’t see how this work could be classified as a book for one starting out in the hobby. The depth of the subject matter is beyond any that would be understood and usable for a majority of beginners.
The writer goes to great lenths to explain the advantages of different scopes, eyepieces, and such. Again, this is a normal subject matter in this type of book. However, not only does the writer provide basic information about the equipment, but he endevers to explain why certain types of equipment are better suited for various applications. And once that information is given, he often provides the reader with mathematical formulae to support his explanation. Some are quite complex.
The book is nicely set up and well organized. The pictures and illustrations are adequate, but this book is not here to provide pretty pics. Indeed, there and many graphs and charts which the author employes to support his explanations. But it does not appear this is done in a gratuitous manner. No! They are properly used the help the reader understand.
The writer will challenge your intelligence. He assumes the reader has a certain level of knowledge and skill concerning astronomy, the instruments used, and observing. Is seems that he does not want to waste book space and the readers time explaining the basics. This read is not a walk in the park.
At first read, I was taken aback. After just a few pages in, I realized I was being “taught” and not entertained. So, I had to decide if what the author was offering me was worth the work. I believed it was worth the effort, so I had to “put on my thinking cap.”
If you purchase this book you will probably have to do the same. And keep in mind, it was not written to provide enjoyment, unless of course you derive joy from learning.