Mapping the Sky: The Essential Guide for New Astronomers

Mapping the Sky: The Essential Guide for New Astronomers

by Leila Haddad, Alain Cirou


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Destined to become the guide of choice, Mapping the Sky is a glorious survey for the lay astronomer. Written with beginners in mind, it sets the stage with a history of the science and outlines the basics of stargazing, from choosing the right telescope to taking photographs of the stars. Readers discover how to tell a star's magnitude by its color, find the most famous constellations, and much, much more. Featuring a handy star wheel, entertaining text, and page after page of illustrations, photographs, and diagrams, Mapping the Sky is a volume as rich and vibrant as its subject.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9782020596923
Publisher: Editions du Seuil
Publication date: 09/28/2003
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 8.92(w) x 8.84(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Leila Haddad is a scientific journalist.

Alain Cirou is director of the French Astronomy Association and the editorial director for Ciel & Espace, a French astronomy publication.

Table of Contents

Part 1Unlocking Astronomy10
1The Celestial Sphere12
1.The Work of the Gods14
The Creation of the World14
The Organization of the Sky15
The Mythical Architecture of the Cosmos17
2.The Worldly Sphere18
The Pythagoreans19
Plato's Universe20
The Model of the Universe21
3.The Sphere of Fixed Stars22
Observation of the Stars22
The Celestial Sphere28
2Guides to the Sky30
1.The Constellations31
The World and Its Many Skies31
Imaginary Lines33
2.The Route of the Sun36
The Apparent Movements of the Sun38
The Ecliptic44
The Equatorial Coordinates45
3Mapping the Universe48
1.The Great Ancestors49
2.Under the Sun of Islam54
The Stars Renamed55
The Observatories of Islam56
3.Tycho Brahe, Prince of Stars57
The New Star57
The Man with the Golden Nose58
4.Artificial Eyes59
A Mad World!59
1.At the Tone, the Time Will Be...66
Dividing Day from Night66
What Time Is It?68
2.The Secret of Longitude72
A War of Positions73
If Every Sailor in the World...76
3.From One Time to Another77
The True Solar Day78
The Mean Solar Day78
Standard Time79
Universal Time80
Atomic Time80
5The Calendar82
1.Lunar Time83
Beneath the Moonlight84
Lunar Calendars84
2.Time and the Seasons88
The Seasonal Year88
Time and the Stars89
The Egyptian Calendar91
3.From Julius to Gregory94
The Julian Calendar95
The Gregorian Calendar96
6The Planets98
1.The Movements of the Planets99
2.Universal Systems103
Keeping Up Appearances103
The Geocentric System104
The Heliocentric System109
3.Kepler's Three Laws111
"Poor" Kepler112
Kepler's Laws116
7Celestial Mechanics122
1.Gravitational Theory123
Newton's Apple124
Universal Gravity127
And There Was Light...128
Sir Isaac Newton132
2.Celestial Mechanics133
All Bodies Attract...133
The Theory of Disturbances134
The Theory of General Relativity140
8The End of the Fixed Stars142
1.The Cosmic Onion143
Aristotle's World143
The Spheres Implode146
2.The Movement of the Stars150
Finite or Infinite?150
Farewell to the Fixed Stars154
Part 2Keys to the Sky156
1Observation with the Naked Eye158
1.Observation: An Instruction Manual158
Choosing Your Site159
A Comfortable Setup160
2.First Steps162
The Four Horizons162
Star or Planet?166
3.Review of the Constellations168
2Tools of Astronomy176
1.Binoculars: Pocket Eyes177
Luminosity and Depth177
Why Binoculars?178
2.Telescopes: Night Vision180
Light and Optics180
Characteristics of Telescopes181
Which One to Choose?184
3.Telescopes: Light Traps184
Anatomy of a Reflector184
Two Great Families185
Big, Bigger, Biggest187
3The Solar System200
Day and Night201
2.The Sun and the Moon205
Observing the Sun206
A Guided Tour of the Moon207
3.Observation of the Planets212
Venus and Mercury, the Sun's Neighbors213
The Martian Orange213
Giant Jupiter215
Saturn and Its Rings215
At the Edge of the Solar System217
4Deep Space218
1.The Stars219
A Stellar Way of Life221
The Communities of Stars222
2.The Nebulae224
Varieties of Nebulae224
How to Spot Them224
Where Can You Observe Nebulae?226
3.The Galaxies228
1.First Steps232
2.Instruments and Photography233
3.Digital Astrophotography235

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