Dwarf planets (which were formerly called asteroids except for the planet Pluto), and the smaller Solar System bodies still called asteroids today, are making front page news, particularly those that are newly discovered and those that might present a hazard to life on Earth by impacting our planet. In this age of giant telescopes and space probes, these small Solar System bodies have advanced from being tiny points of light to bodies worthy of widespread study. This book describes the dwarf planets and asteroids themselves, their origins, orbits, and composition, and at how amateur astronomers can play a part in their detection, tracking, and imaging.
The book is divided into two parts. Part I describes physical properties (including taxonomic types) of dwarf planets and asteroids, how they formed in the early life of the Solar System, and how they evolved to their present positions, groups, and families. It also covers the properties used to define these small Solar System bodies: magnitude, rotation rates (described by their light-curves), and orbital characteristics. Part II opens with a description of the hardware and software an amateur or practical astronomer needs to observe and also to image asteroids. Then numerous observing techniques are covered in depth. Finally, there are lists of relevant amateur and professional organizations and how to submit your own observations to them.
Part I: Asteroids and Dwarf Planets.- Chapter 1: Introduction.- Chapter 2: Small (and Not So Small) Solar System Bodies.- Chapter 3: Groups and Families.- Chapter 4: The Nature of Asteroids and Dwarf Planets.- Chapter 5: Origins and Evolution.- Chapter 6: Impact?.- Part II: Observing Guide.- Chapter 7: Observations.- Chapter 8: Visual Observing.- Chapter 9: Webcam and DSLR Imaging.- Chapter 10: Astrometry Tools and Techniques.- Chapter 11: Astrometry Projects.- Chapter 12: Lightcurve Photometry Tools and Techniques.- Chapter 13: Lightcurve Photometry Projects.- Chapter 14: Absolute Magnitude.- Chapter 15: Occultations.- Chapter 16: On-Line Image Analysis.- Chapter 17: A Final Word.- Appendices.- A: Professional and Amateur Organizations.- B: Resources.- C: Papers.- D: Astrometry How-To.- Index.
Roger Dymock lives in Hampshire, England. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. His published work includes Journal of the BAA: "The Observapod -- a GRP observatory"; Minor Planet Bulletin, No. 32 2005: "Lightcurve of 423 Diotima"; Sky at Night magazine: "How to track an asteroid"; and Journal of the BAA: "A method for determining the V magnitude of asteroids from CCD images" (jointly with Dr Richard Miles).
From the reviews: "A step-by-step guide to visual observing shows how to find and follow asteroid images. ! Dymock's book is full of good illustrations, many in colour. ! the book is a broad overview of current asteroid science ! . it will give interested amateurs some good ideas about how they could contribute, and will point them to sources of more detailed information. Heartily recommended." (Edward Bowell, Journal of British Astronomical Association, Vol. 121 (2), 2011) "Roger Dymock has all the knowledge necessary to instruct a newcomer in the art of asteroid observing. Fortunately, he has had the patience to assemble this excellent observing manual for any potential student of minor planets and the more distant dwarf planets too. Owning the book is like having Roger as your personal mentor. ! Roger's book 'does exactly what it says on the tin' and will be invaluable to all asteroid observers, even those with some mileage on the clock." (Martin Mobberley, Astronomy Now, June, 2011) "Dymock, an accomplished optical observer, asteroids offer the opportunity for amateur astronomers to enjoy challenging celestial targets and to augment the scientific research of professional astronomers. ! guides readers through the modern technology and software with step-by-step instructions, and includes an exhaustive set of references to related Web sites. This is a truly outstanding manual for anyone who has an interest in studying these relics of the birth of the solar system. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Primarily amateur astronomers, but also lower-division undergraduates and professionals/practitioners." (D. E. Hogg, Choice, Vol. 48 (10), June, 2011)