Spherical or positional astronomy is used primarily to map objects on the celestial sphere. In this technical work, first published in 1908 and intended for advanced students, Sir Robert Stawell Ball (1840-1913) breaks down the field into distinct areas of study. Assuming a good level of geometry and trigonometry, he begins with fundamental formulae before moving into the determination of coordinates, atmospheric refraction, the theory of cartography, and more.
Each section contains exercises derived from a variety of sources, including contemporary Cambridge examinations. The coverage ranges from the calculation of stellar parallax to the geometrical principles behind the Mercator projection. Testifying to the knowledge expected of university students in the early twentieth century, Ball's book remains instructive to their modern counterparts.
1. Fundamental formulae
2. The use of spherical coordinates
3. The figure of the earth and map making
4. The celestial sphere
5. Right ascension and declination
6. Atmospheric reflection
7. Kepler's and Newton's laws and their application
8. Precession and nutation
9. Sidereal time and mean time
10. The sun's apparent annual motion
11. The aberration of light
12. The geocentric parallax of the moon
13. The geocentric parallax of the sun
14. On the transit of a planet across the sun
15. The annual parallax of stars
16. Eclipses of the moon
17. Eclipses of the sun
18. Occultation of stars by the moon
19. Problems involving sun or moon
20. Planetary phenomena
21. The generalized instrument
22. The fundamental instruments of the observatory
Index and glossary
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