Books  Physical Sciences  Cosmology & Astronomy 

The Analysis of Starlight: Two Centuries of Astronomical Spectroscopy

  • Features information about stars, stellar spectroscopy and the astronomers who made the most important discoveries in the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Hundreds of illustrations showing stellar spectra, instruments, scientific results and the most famous astronomers
  • Cites over 2200 references to the original scientific literature and there are nearly 9500 index entries which are cited in one of the four indexes (names, stars, spectral lines, subjects)

By: John B Hearnshaw (Author)

448 pages, 191 b/w illustrations, 20 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | May 2014 | Edition: 2 | #207663 | ISBN-13: 9781107031746
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £103.00 $133/€122 approx

About this book

First published in 1987, this is the story of the analysis of starlight by astronomical spectroscopy. Beginning with Joseph Fraunhofer's discovery of spectral lines in the early nineteenth century, this new edition continues the story through to the year 2000. In addition to the key discoveries, it presents the cultural and social history of stellar astrophysics by introducing the leading astronomers and their struggles, triumphs and disagreements. Basic concepts in spectroscopy and spectral analysis are included, so both observational and theoretical aspects are described, in a non-mathematical framework. This new edition of The Analysis of Starlight covers the final decades of the twentieth century, with its major advances in stellar astrophysics: the discovery of extrasolar planets, new classes of stars and the observation of the ultraviolet spectra of stars from satellites. The in-depth coverage makes it essential reading for graduate students working in stellar spectroscopy, professional and amateur astronomers, and historians of science.


Preface to the first edition, 1986
Preface to the second edition
Acknowledgments for the first edition
Acknowledgments for the second edition

1. Introduction to spectroscopy, spectroscopes and spectrographs
2. The analysis of sunlight: the earliest pioneers
3. The foundations of special analysis: from Fraunhofer to Kirchhoff
4. Early pioneers in stellar spectroscopy
5. Spectral classification at Harvard
6. The doppler effect
7. The interpretation of stellar spectra and the birth of astrophysics
8. Spectral classification: from the Henry Draper catalogue to the MK-system and beyond
9. Spectroscopy of peculiar stars
10. Quantitative analysis of stllar spectra
11. Some miscellaneous topics in stellar spectroscopy: individual stars of note, stellar chromospheres, interstellar lines and ultraviolet spectroscopy from space

Appendix A. List of solar lines designated by letters by Fraunhofer and others
Appendix B. Vogel's first spectral classification scheme of 1874

Write a review

There are currently no reviews for this product. Be the first to review this product!


John Hearnshaw is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. His research interests span stellar astrophysics, astronomical spectrographs, and the historical development of astrophysics. He is a Fellow of Royal Society of New Zealand, a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and a Foreign Associate of the Royal Astronomical Society of London. Professor Hearnshaw is the author of four books and 200 papers in astronomical literature, and has served as editor for seven conference proceedings. He has held visiting positions at Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, Nagoya University, and National University of Mongolia, Ulaan Baatar. He has also served as Chair of IAU Program Group for the Worldwide Development of Astronomy, with lecture tours to Mongolia, Cuba, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Fiji and North Korea.

Bestsellers in this subject

Observing the Night Sky with Binoculars

NHBS Price: £24.99 $32/€30 approx

Guide to the Night Sky

NHBS Price: £3.50 $5/€4 approx

Space: A History of Space Exploration in Photographs

NHBS Price: £24.99 $32/€30 approx

The Milky Way

NHBS Price: £14.95 $19/€18 approx

The Space Book

Clearance price: £4.99 £19.99 (Save £15.00) $6/€6 approx

VAT: GB 407 4846 44
NHBS Ltd is registered in England and Wales: 1875194