Explorers of the Southern Sky: A History of Australian Astronomy

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This well-illustrated volume is the most comprehensive account of Australian astronomy to date. It is both an indispensable reference book of the history of astronomy in Australia and a highly readable study of a scientific discipline in the context of emerging nationhood. It covers not only the science, but the individuals involved and the social and economic climate in which they worked. Starting from the ancient Aboriginal belief about the Sky World - the earliest known astronomy anywhere in the world - we are led through to the most exciting high-tech current and projected research being carried out at Australia's world-class national astronomy facilities and by groups in Australian universities. All branches of astronomy are covered - optical, infrared, X-ray, gamma ray, microwave, gravitational wave and theoretical - including the contribution of amateur astronomers. The non-technical language, many illustrations and explanatory figures ensure that this guide will appeal to a wide range of readers - including professional astronomers, historians of science students, amateur astronomers and general readers.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly readable, thorough, well referenced and beautifully illustrated Explorers of the Southern Sky: a History of Australian Astronomy is a tome worth having." New Scientist

"The poignant illustrations, explanatary figures, and photographs of people not only document the course of events, but provide an excellent human perspective to this outstanding work." Science Books and Films

"A well written and thorough work." Choice

"...the book will interest a large cross section of people-students, astronomers, historians, and general readers." Isis

"...the clarity of presentation is admirable and the stories move along briskly, covering a wide range. Altogether, a great book." American Scientist

Beginning with the Sky World of the Aboriginals, narratives the development of a science in the context of emerging nationhood and its current status and activities. Captain Cook and the transit of Venus, the great Melbourne telescope, amateur astronomers, national observatories, radio astronomy, the Culgoora Radio Heliograph, astronomy at the University of Sydney, Tasmania, high-energy astronomy, and the continent-wide Australia Telescope are among the topics. Abundantly illustrated in black and white. Includes a glossary without pronunciation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521365758
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/27/1996
  • Pages: 542
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Dreaming the Stars: Aboriginal astronomy and the southern sky 7
2 Sailing South for a New Sky: Captain Cook and the transit of Venus 21
3 Astronomy in Sydney Town: Governor Brisbane, Paramatta sic and the Sydney Observatory 37
4 The Struggle for Independence: The government observatories of Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth 69
5 A Bid for Fame: The Great Melbourne Telescope 96
6 For Love of the Subject: Amateur astronomers 114
7 Astronomy on a National Basis: The Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories 152
8 From Swords to Ploughshares: Radio astronomy: a new technology 195
9 Radio Astronomy and the Big Telescopes: The Parkes Radio Telescope and the Culgoora Radio Heliograph 237
10 Entrepreneurs in Astronomy: Astronomy at the University of Sydney 287
11 The Advantage of Latitude: Astronomy at the University of Tasmania 318
12 The High-Energy Frontier: Astronomy at the University of Adelaide 341
13 Diversity Through Innovation: The other Australian universities 359
14 Optical Astronomy Goes High-Tech: The Anglo-Australian Telescope and the UK Schmidt 382
15 A Telescope as Wide as a Continent: The Australia Telescope 410
Notes 435
Glossary of abbreviations 480
Glossary of scientific and technical words 484
Bibliography 500
Name index 507
Subject index 515
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