This work provides an outstanding introduction to the fundamentals of telescope design and use, with a straightforward and logical exploration of the often counter intuitive aspects of optics involved. There is a little bit of maths along the way, but by gently introducing just enough simple formula along the way as the subject is explored, the reader is given ample opportunity to get to grips with the real meat of the subject matter. Chapters conclude with exercise questions of a well structured difficulty, with answers later in the book.
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.
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