The Telescope: Its History, Technology, and Future

The Telescope: Its History, Technology, and Future

by Geoff Andersen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691129797

ISBN-13: 9780691129792

Pub. Date: 05/07/2007

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In the four centuries since its invention, the telescope has transformed how humans view the universe and their place in it. But what do most of us know about telescopes themselves—their history, how they work, what they are being used for today, or what the next generation of billion-dollar telescopes will look like? In The Telescope, Geoff Andersen

Overview

In the four centuries since its invention, the telescope has transformed how humans view the universe and their place in it. But what do most of us know about telescopes themselves—their history, how they work, what they are being used for today, or what the next generation of billion-dollar telescopes will look like? In The Telescope, Geoff Andersen fills in all the details for us in an accessible, nontechnical way that will appeal to the amateur astronomer and anyone else who has been more than a little curious about this amazing instrument.

The book covers every aspect of optical telescopes—from the humblest backyard setup, to state-of-the-art observatories, to the Hubble Space Telescope and spy satellites. Chapters describe the development, design, and operation of telescopes; how observatories are sited, engineered, and built; variations such as solar and liquid-mirror telescopes; and some of the key astronomical discoveries telescopes have made possible. And there are plenty of surprises along the way. We learn, for example, that most of today's professional astronomers never even look through their own telescopes, relying instead on digital imaging, measurement, and analysis—or even remote computer control of a night-shrouded observatory on the other side of the Earth.

But, as The Telescope explains, these magnificent instruments do more than simply peer into space. They project and receive laser beams—for communicating, mapping, and making detailed observations of the Earth. They also look down at us from spy satellites, providing secret images to intelligence agencies—and, increasingly, giving a curious public access to more pedestrian images.

The Telescope is the ideal introduction to a fascinating instrument that has taught us so much—but that most of us know so little about.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691129792
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/07/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,245,863
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface 9
Chapter 1: The naked-eye universe 13
Chapter 2: The development of the telescope 25

Chapter 3: How a telescope works 37
Imaging
Refracting telescopes
Reflecting telescopes

Chapter 4: The perfect telescope 44
Diffraction and the perfect image
Resolution limit

Chapter 5: When good telescopes go bad 53
Aberrations
Field of view
Air turbulence

Chapter 6: Analysing the light 66
Imaging devices—the camera
Spectroscopy
Photometry
Polarimetry

Chapter 7: Interferometry 80
Interference—how light waves combine
Michelson interferometer
Michelson stellar interferometer
Imaging interferometry
Nulling interferometry

Chapter 8: So you want to build an observatory? 95
Making a mirror
Site selection
Mechanical engineering

Chapter 9: The Hubble Space Telescope 109

Chapter 10: Advanced telescope techniques 125
Lightweighting
Active optics
Segmented primaries
Adaptive optics
Laser guide stars

Chapter 11: Laser communications and remote sensing 140
Laser communications
Lidar

Chapter 12: Surveillance 149
Airborne surveillance
Space-based surveillance
Other surveillance methods
Laser weapons

Chapter 13: Non-traditional observatories 162
Liquid mirror telescopes
Solar telescopes
Seeing the invisible
Gravitational wave observatories

Chapter 14: Key discoveries 181
The Solar System and Pluto
Comet Halley
The first exo-solar planet
Milky Way black hole
Hubble Ultra-Deep Field
Hoag's Object

Chapter 15: Future telescopes 197
Wide-field wonders
Another pale blue dot
The big boys
One last word 217

Appendix A: Some mathematical basics 220
Appendix B: Electromagnetic radiation 226
Appendix C: Getting your own telescope 233

Notes 236
Bibliography 240
Index 243

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