Amateur astronomy has changed beyond recognition in less than two decades. The reason is, of course, technology. Affordable high-quality telescopes, computer-controlled 'go to' mountings, autoguiders, CCD cameras, video, and (as always) computers and the Internet, are just a few of the advances that have revolutionized astronomy for the twenty-first century. Martin Mobberley first looks at the basics before going into an in-depth study of what's available commercially. He then moves on to the revolutionary possibilities that are open to amateurs, from imaging, through spectroscopy and photometry, to patrolling for near-earth objects - the search for comets and asteroids that may come close to, or even hit, the earth. The New Amateur Astronomer is a road map of the new astronomy, equally suitable for newcomers who want an introduction, or old hands who need to keep abreast of innovations.
Introduction - Why Amateur Astronomy?- Part I - Equipment: Optical Fundamentals; Buying a Commercial Telescope; Navigating the Rotating Spherical Sky; 'Go To' Telescopes and Mountings; Digicams and Video Astronomy; Cooled CCD Cameras; Image Processing Software.- Part II - The People: CCD Planetary Imagers; Supernova Discoverers; Deep-sky Perfectionists; Cataclysmic Variable Observers and Gamma Ray Burster Hunters; Saving the World - Near Earth Object Chasers; Armchair Comet Hunters; Backyard Spectroscopists.- Appendix I.
From the reviews: "The book ! serves not only as an informative guide but also as a source of ideas and inspiration. ! is a solid guide to high-tech amateur astronomy by an author who is better at explaining his subject matter than most people. The book is ideal for anyone who is attracted to the technical side ! . It will also prove useful to those with some experience ! . it offers a great snapshot depicting part of amateur astronomy's culture today. It's a refreshing and welcome addition to my bookshelf." (Jeff Medkeff, Sky & Telescope, July, 2005) "The New Amateur Astronomer reflects the change in technology that has taken place in the last ten years. Astronomers can now observe the skies on a PC monitor ! . shows the possibilities that are open to amateurs and introduces some of them, their equipment, and their results." (Book News on the Internet, January 27, 2005) "This is a remarkable book. ! The author is very well known to the amateur fraternity and has a wealth of experience of using the equipment he describes, and so is highly qualified to write this book, which is well illustrated ! . there is more than enough here to guide you through making the correct choice, not just now, but for a few years into the future. Highly recommended." (Roger Pickard, The Observatory, Vol. 125 (1187), 2005) "This book is designed to help the amateur astronomer to choose his or her telescope, to get the best use out of this telescope, and to better define his or her field of astronomical observation. ! reading this book was a pleasant experience because of the light writing style adopted by the author. I gladly recommend the book not only to amateur astronomers and their associates but also to physics teachers and to any man or woman who enjoys the beauty of the night sky." (Fernande Grandjean, Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 28 (1), 2006)