Books  Physical Sciences  Cosmology & Astronomy 

Meteors and How to Observe Them

Handbook / ManualPopular Science

Series: Astronomer's Observing Guides

By: Robert Lunsford

192 pages, Figs, tabs


Paperback | Oct 2008 | #177659 | ISBN-13: 9780387094601
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £27.99 $34/€31 approx

About this book

The focus of this book is to introduce the novice to the art of meteor observing. It explains in straightforward language how best to view meteor activity under a variety of conditions, regardless of the observer's location. Instead of focusing on just one region in the world, the book includes observing conditions for four different regions such as high northern latitudes, low northern latitudes, equatorial regions, and low southern latitudes. The observing conditions for each meteor shower are vastly different from these regions and this book would be valuable to any potential observer from Australia to Alaska.

This will be a valuable tool for all observers, regardless of their experience level - and even those located in the southern hemisphere and the tropical areas of the world. The calendar chapters list activity as it occurs throughout the year. The list is limited to showers that the amateur observer can actually see (some sources list radiants that are impossible to observe without photographic or video methods). Not only are the annual showers discussed, but the random sporadic meteor activity is also included for each region. This is important, as there are many more nights throughout the year when the sporadic background will provide more activity than that provided by the annual showers!

"Meteors, and How to Observe Them" contains many pictures of actual meteors against the stellar background, instead of (often-confusing) star charts. It presents meteor shower activity throughout the year in an appealing calendar-like format. Since fireballs are often the first experience many have with meteors (or even astronomy), this topic is discussed in detail, and includes fireball activity as it occurs throughout the year. While much of this activity is unpredictable, there are certain periods when the observer has a much better chance of seeing one of these spectacular events. Finally, the ultimate goal of this book is to kindle (or re-kindle) an interest in viewing meteor activity up to a level where the observer can effectively contribute to our knowledge of the subject by holding systematic observing sessions that accurately list the meteor activity observed in a particular night.

From the reviews: "This guide ! contains much useful information for a new comer to meteor observing, especially with regards to practical advice relating to meteor watches. One third of the book covers the major showers ! with useful charts included to show the radiant locations and their daily motion. ! It is all up to date ! . In summary, this is a potentially useful book ! ." (Tony Markham, Astronomy Now, July, 2009) "The book is split into two sections. The first concentrates on nine major and 17 minor meteor showers along with variable, daytime and possible new showers. ! The second section is a guide that is ! well written. It covers everything from how to accurately record your observations for scientific use to tips on making photographic, video and radio observations. If you're keen on observing meteors or taking your interest further, this book is well worth getting hold of." (Vincent Whiteman, Sky at Night Magazine, August, 2009) "The book is aimed at the beginner in meteor studies, so it quite reasonably has few surprises in its coverage ! . Overall, my desire to recommend this book, as one of few commercially-available, introductory, meteor-astronomy texts, is tempered by the flaws which detract from it fully informing its target readership ! . newcomers would find much of it useful, and its shower coverage is sufficient to make it a handy work to dip into for more-knowledgeable amateur meteor enthusiasts." (Alastair McBeath, The Observatory, Vol. 129 (1212), October, 2009)


Acknowledgements.- An Introduction to Meteorics.- Sporadic Meteors.- Major Annual Showers.- Minor Annual Showers.- Visible Showers.- Daytime Showers.- New Showers?- Observing Meteor Showers.- Meteor Activity Throughout the Year.- Meteor Groups and Organizations.- Meteor Shower Calendar.- Lunar Conditions for the Major Annual Showers at Maximum Activity 2008-2040.- Glossary.- Index.

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Robert Lunsford has had forty years experience viewing meteors and meteor showers, and is a member of the American Meteor Society (AMS) and the International Meteor Organization (IMO).

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