Cataclysmic Cosmic Events and How to Observe Them / Edition 1by Martin Mobberley
This book is about observing dramatic and often bizarre cosmic events. Observation of gamma ray bursts, cataclysmic variable star outbursts, distant supernovae, and even active galactic nuclei might be thought to be far beyond the range of amateur observers – but this is not the case. Recent technical developments in CCD equipment, powerful PCs, new observing… See more details below
This book is about observing dramatic and often bizarre cosmic events. Observation of gamma ray bursts, cataclysmic variable star outbursts, distant supernovae, and even active galactic nuclei might be thought to be far beyond the range of amateur observers – but this is not the case. Recent technical developments in CCD equipment, powerful PCs, new observing and processing techniques, and professional satellite monitoring systems have opened a range of high-value niche areas of scientific astronomy to amateurs.
Cataclysmic Cosmic Events and How to Observe them explains what these events are, what we know of their physics, and how amateur astronomers can observe them.
For example, it might be thought that events as distant as gamma ray bursts (GRB) and active galaxies could not possibly be observed by amateur astronomers - but gamma ray bursts have been recorded using simple cameras with telephoto lenses. These incredibly powerful events fade dramatically, and once an orbiting satellite detects a GRB it is primarily a question of response time – so it is easily possible for amateur astronomers to be the first to respond.
There are a dozen active galaxies which are easily visible in amateur telescopes visually, let alone with CCD equipment. In this era of CCDs and automated telescopes, amateur astronomers are reaching deeper than most professional astronomers were able to in the film-based era of the 1980s. The Internet allows rapid emailing of alerts, finder charts and large image files: this simply was not technically possible even 15 years ago. Monitoring cataclysmic variables is an increasingly popular aspect of amateur astronomy, with many visual observers checking dozens of these objects every clear night.
Closer to home, amateurs are observing high-energy outbursts on the Sun. using the latest generation of H-alpha telescopes and filters and webcams. More and more of these outbursts will occur as we move towards the next sunspot maximum (in 2011) – possibly more than at any time since 1958. This will be an increasingly important field of amateur astronomy.
Here is an exciting set of observational challenges related to some of the most spectacular events in astronomy today. It bridges the gap between the professionals, and the keen backyard amateurs wanting to contribute professional results.
Table of Contents
Cataclysmic Variables.- Novae and Recurrent Novae.- Solar Flares, Giant Prominences, and Flare Stars.- Bright Supernovae and Hypernovae.- Active Galaxies.- Gamma Ray Bursters.- How to Do Visual and CCD Photometry.
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