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To Measure the Sky
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Book description

With a lively yet rigorous and quantitative approach, Frederick R. Chromey introduces the fundamental topics in optical observational astronomy for undergraduates. Focussing on the basic principles of light detection, telescope optics, coordinate systems and data analysis, students are introduced to modern astronomical observation techniques and measurements. Cutting-edge technologies such as advanced CCD detectors and adaptive optics are presented through the physical principles on which they are based, helping students understand the power of modern space and ground-based telescopes, and the motivations and limitations of future development. Discussion of statistics and measurement uncertainty enables students to confront the important questions of data quality. With a purposeful structure and clear approach, this is an essential resource for all students of observational astronomy. It explains the theoretical foundations for observational practices and reviews essential physics to support students' mastery of the subject. Student understanding is strengthened through over 120 exercises and problems.


‘I like this book a lot and think it is a valuable contribution to the education of undergraduates. It is a wide-ranging and thorough survey of the techniques common to astronomical observing in the optical and infrared wavelengths … The treatment throughout is both accurate and responsible. I know of no comparable book.’

Jay M. Pasachoff - Williams College

‘This is a wonderful book - one that at last introduces the essential ideas and techniques of observational astronomy starting at the 'ground floor', yet provides enough detail and mathematical rigor to satisfy the needs of sophisticated undergraduate physics majors (and their instructors). The writing throughout is literate - even enjoyable, yet Chromey introduces topics from Poisson statistics to solid-state detectors to modern image-processing techniques with an appropriate level of mathematical and physical rigor. There is more material here than can easily fit into a one-semester course, but the arrangement is such that an instructor can easily select the most appropriate topics for his/her students' needs. This is the textbook I've been waiting for. Bravo!’

P. Frank Winkler - Middlebury College

'… I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to develop their understanding of astronomical measurement. It is very well written, superbly produced and of high practical value.'

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