Books  Physical Sciences  Cosmology & Astronomy 

Observing Variable Stars, Novae, and Supernovae

Handbook / Manual
  • Fully integrated and self-contained book and CD-ROM package for variable star observers
  • CD-ROM contains over 600 printable variable star charts

By: Gerald North(Author), Nick James(Author)

242 pages, 69 b/w photos, 22 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Aug 2014 | #214998 | ISBN-13: 9781107636125
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £28.99 $37/€31 approx
Paperback | Oct 2004 | #172590 | ISBN: 0521820472
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £55.99 $72/€61 approx

About this book

Gerald North's complete practical guide and resource package instructs amateur astronomers in observing and monitoring variable stars and other objects of variable brightness. Descriptions of the objects are accompanied by explanations of the background astrophysics, providing readers with real insight into what they are observing at the telescope. The main instrumental requirements for observing and estimating the brightness of objects by visual means and by CCD photometry are detailed, and there is advice on the selection of equipment. Observing Variable Stars, Novae, and Supernovae contains a CD-ROM packed with resources, including hundreds of light-curves and over 600 printable finder charts. Containing extensive practical advice, this comprehensive guide is an invaluable resource for amateur astronomers of all levels, from novices to more advanced observers.

"If you are interested in this fascinating and practical branch of amateur astronomy, Observing Variable Stars, Novae, and Supernovae is the best place to start."
- Astronomy & Space

"Once again, his clear concise style has shown through and this is another book I can recommend."
- The Journal of the British Astronomical Association

"This book, including the accompanying CD-ROM, fills a gap between those devoted to variable-star observing for absolute beginners and the numerous publications written at quite an advanced level, which often are considered too complex for many amateur astronomers. [...] the book is a valuable addition to this vital field for amateur astronomers and is strongly recommended."
- The Observatory

"[...] much more than an observing guide [...] It is a complete description of the underlying physical reactions that cause these objects to vary in brightness. [...] The author enjoys the topic and conveys this interest to the reader."
- Science, Books and Films Online

"A good overview of essentials such as telescopes, detectors, observing techniques, charts, and references. Highly recommended."
- Choice

"Here's a rare book that teaches readers why variable stars vary."
- Sky and Telescope, John Isles


1. Foundations, federations and finder-charts
2. Variables in vision
3. Astrovariables reckoned
4. Photometry
5. Stars great and small
6. Variable beginnings
7. Clockwork pulsators
8. Less regular single-star variables
9. Eclipsing binary stars and novae
10. Cataclysmic and symbiotic systems
11. The extra-galactic realm


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Gerlad North is a freelance astronomer and writer based in Norfolk, UK. In addition to being a member of the British Astronomical Association since 1977, he is also the author of many books, including Advanced Amateur Astronomy and Observing the Moon.

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