This book demonstrates the use of an 80mm refractor and shows how it can be used as a real scientific instrument. The author is an experienced small telescope user and an astronomy educator, and he provides step-by-step instructions for numerous scientific activities. Users will find many activities and projects suitable for an 80mm refractor or 90mm reflector or Maksutov that have not been published elsewhere. Emphasis is on measurement and discovery activities rather than on casual observing. This book will provide amateur observers with the knowledge and skill that will help them make genuine contributions to the field of astronomy.
Introduction.- Optical properties and performance expectations for small telescopes.- Commercially Available Telescopes.- Telescope mounts.- Essential accessories.- Essential references.- Observations of Lunar topography.- How to measure the dimensions of Lunar surface features.- Lunar photography with a digital camera.- Lunar occultations.- Observations of the Sun.- Determining sunspot number and type.- Contributing to the international database for solar activity.- Observations of planets.- Observing the relationships between apparent diameter, phase and position of Venus.- Measuring the diameter of Jupiter.- Using occultations of Jupiter?s satellites to measure the velocity of light.- Binary stars.- Variable stars: method of observation.- Variable stars: contributing to the international data base.- Star clusters, nebulae and galaxies: learning to be a critical observer by sketching what you see.- Appendices.
From the reviews: "The dozens of projects collected here are a combination of observations suitable for current research (such as classifying sun-spots or monitoring binary stars) and recreating classic experiments (such as determining the speed of light by timing Jupiter's moons). ! Besides ample nuggets for science projects, a motivated amateur will gain understanding by doing the work, and ! add purpose to his or her observations." (Stuart J. Goldman, Sky & Telescope, May, 2007) "Amateurs and students using relatively small telescopes can and do contribute useful data to many areas of astronomy. The subtitle Step-by-Step Activities for Discovery is an accurate depiction of what is provided to help novices do just that. Charts, diagrams, photographs of setups, and background information for a variety of observations are included. ! Summing Up: Recommended. General reader; lower-division undergraduates; faculty." (D. H. Gifford, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (11), August, 2007)