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Encyclopedia of the History of Astronomy and Astrophysics

By: David Leverington(Author)

521 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2013 | #199470 | ISBN-13: 9780521899949
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £35.99 $47/€41 approx

About this book

This comprehensive Encyclopedia covers the full history of astronomy from its ancient origins in Africa, South America, the Middle East and China to the latest developments in astrophysics and space-based research. The initial articles, which are largely organised chronologically, are followed by numerous thematic historical articles on the constituents of the Solar System, types of stars, stellar evolution, active galaxies, cosmology and much more. These are followed by articles on tools and techniques, from the history of spectroscopy to adaptive optics. The last part of the Encyclopedia is devoted to the history of ground- and space-based telescopes and observatories, covering the full spectral range from gamma-rays through the optical waveband to radio waves. Informative and accessibly written, each article is followed by an extensive bibliography to facilitate further research, whilst consistent coverage from ancient times to the present makes this an ideal resource for scholars, students and amateur astronomers alike.

"There are few volume[s] as comprehensive as this one – even fewer that embrace the whole history of astrophysics [...] Invaluable [...] A balance has been achieved between timeline history and highlighting key advances – the effect being that the reader has time for reflection and original thought. I expect no revised edition for at least ten years and hereby rename the book: Leverington's History of [...]"
- Ian Wellend, Astronomy Now

"The presentation of the material is logical; easy access to content is possible via a detailed table of contents, and indexes [...] Highly recommended. Especially valuable for lower-level undergraduates, upper-level graduates, and general readers."
- J. M. Scaramozzino, Choice

"A great deal of solid research has gone into this volume, which offers a good, no-nonsense, factual reference on the history of astronomy. I recommend it particularly as a guide to modern space-based astronomy, on which Leverington has gathered much information that would be time-consuming to find elsewhere."
- Lee MacDonald, Journal of the British Astronomical Association



Part I. General Astronomy
1. Ancient (pre-telescopy) astronomy
2. Period overviews
3. International Astronomical Union

Part II. The Solar System
1. Overview of the solar system
2. Sun, earth, and moon
3. Inner solar system
4. Giant planets
5. Smaller objects
6. Exoplanets

Part III. Stars
1. Stars considered individually
2. Stars considered as a group
3. Types of stars

Part IV. Galaxies and Cosmology
1. Milky Way
2. Other galaxies and cosmology

Part V. General Astronomical Tools and Techniques (After 1600)

Part VI. Optical Telescopes and Observatories
1. Overview: optical telescopes and observatories
2. Optical observatories

Part VII. Radio Telescopes, Observatories and Radar
1. Overview: radio telescopes and observatories
2. Early radio astronomy and observatories
3. Later radio observatories

Part VIII. Other Ground-Based Observatories

Part IX. Solar System Exploration Spacecraft
1. Overview: solar system exploration spacecraft
2. Individual solar system spacecraft

Part X. Selected Observatory Spacecraft
1. Overview: spacecraft observatories
2. Individual spacecraft observatories

Name index
Subject index

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David Leverington has held a number of senior positions in the space industry, working for both the European Space Agency and British Aerospace. He is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and author of A History of Astronomy from 1890 to the Present (1996), New Cosmic Horizons: Space Astronomy from the V2 to the Hubble Space Telescope (2000) and Babylon to Voyager: A History of Planetary Astronomy (2003).

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