Observing Visual Double Stars

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9780262030779: Observing Visual Double Stars

Observing Visual Double Stars, written by an astronomer who has discovered almost 2,000 of them, opens the way to amateur astronomers who wish to make a direct and real contribution to science through their avocation.

Double or binary stars—pairs of stars that revolve around one another—were once thought to be rare, anomalies among the vast number of normal, isolated stars, like our sun. Now, however, it is believed that many if not most stars are mated in binary systems. The visual binaries are those whose component stars are rather distant from each other and require decades or even centuries to complete their orbits. Few professional astronomers devote their time to making the observations needed, over these extended periods, to determine the characteristics of even a small sample of these systems. Thus, if any sizable number of double stars are to be closely scrutinized, their periodic variations plotted, and their orbits and masses calculated, the host of amateur astronomers will have to come to the aid of the professionals by making patient, systematic, night-after-night, year-after-year recorded observations.

Observing Visual Double Stars is designed to train amateurs to become such lookouts. After a historical account of the discovery of binaries (from the sighting of the first in 1650, through the work of the Herschels and the Struves in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to the present), the author describes the various classes of telescopes and other instruments and the relevant optical principles. This is followed by practical advice on how to use this apparatus to identify double stars and measure their variations over time.

The heart of the book—and its technically most advanced section—presents the mathematical techniques that will allow the observer to calculate orbits and masses from the variables that have been measured. A chapter entitled "Voyage to the Country of Double Stars" describes a binary system as it might appear to an observer within it. The book also explains the use of star catalogues and presents its own catalogue of 744 double stars accessible to the amateur observer.

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Language Notes:

Text: English, French (translation)

Review:



"Here's one of the most important books ever published for the dedicated stargazer - and in an important branch of observational astronomy. Translated from the 1978 French edition by Canadian astronomer Alan Batten, Observing Visual Double Stars has arrived at a time ripe for a revival of this field....

"In eight chapters, Couteau covers everything a telescope owner needs to know about double star observing. Topics range from the history of discovery and observations through the varied techniques of micrometer measurement to data reduction and orbit computation.... Especially valuable is a catalog of 744 pairs of stars suitable for small telescopes which contains the latest available position angles and separations for each object...

"Not only does Observing Visual Double Stars urge you to join these dedicated observers, it also gives you a sense of purpose and urgency about your nightly vigils. Even now, many close binaries are passing unobserved through critical phases of their orbits-potentially priceless data lost for lack of observers."
Astronomy
"This book can be used in positional astronomy classes or as collateral reading in history of science courses. It is a 'must' for astronomy graduate students."
Science Books & Films

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Couteau, Paul
Editore: The MIT Press
ISBN 10: 0262030772 ISBN 13: 9780262030779
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Descrizione libro The MIT Press. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0262030772 New Condition. Codice libro della libreria NEW6.0110030

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Paul Couteau
Editore: The MIT Press (1981)
ISBN 10: 0262030772 ISBN 13: 9780262030779
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Descrizione libro The MIT Press, 1981. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110262030772

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Paul Couteau, Alan H. Batten (Translator)
Editore: The MIT Press (1981)
ISBN 10: 0262030772 ISBN 13: 9780262030779
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Descrizione libro The MIT Press, 1981. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0262030772

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Paul Couteau
Editore: The MIT Press (1981)
ISBN 10: 0262030772 ISBN 13: 9780262030779
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Descrizione libro The MIT Press, 1981. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0262030772

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