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Look Inside The Measurement of Starlight

The Measurement of Starlight
Two Centuries of Astronomical Photometry


  • Author: J. B. Hearnshaw, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Date Published: August 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521018289

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About the Authors
  • Astronomical photometry is the science of measuring the brightness and colours of stars and other celestial objects. It is a technique at the very heart of modern astrophysics. This authoritative volume traces the fascinating historical development of astronomical photometry - from visual techniques at the time of William Herschel in the 1780s, through to the birth of photometry with charge-coupled devices in the 1970s. In this intriguing survey, we see how the advent of new technology has revolutionized the science of photometry at each stage of its development, and what dramatic advances have been achieved, despite several major disasters - especially in the practice of photographic photometry. This book also clearly illustrates the critical relationship between the development of a science and the technology it uses. This volume provides professional astronomers with a valuable guide to the background and development of this fundamental technique. It will also be of great interest to amateur astronomers and historians of the physical sciences.

    • The first book solely devoted to the historical development of astronomical photometry
    • Well illustrated throughout - includes many rare illustrations of early astronomical instruments and astronomers
    • An extensive bibliography of more than 1800 references provides a ready historical reference to the principal research articles on stellar photometry
    • Clearly illustrates the critical relationship between the development of a science and the technology it uses
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Hearnshaw's book has been extensively researched and is excellently presented with many fine illustrations and portraits of key figures in the development of photometry. This volume would be the first place to look for the basic information but equally well makes an entertaining and informative read.' Irish Astronomical Journal

    'This is an excellent book, one which should be read by any aspiring photometrists, professional or amateur.' David Stickland, Astronomy Now

    'The book is highly recommended to all historians of astronomy and those interested in photometry.' Derek Jones, The Observatory

    ' … Hearnshaw masterfully reviews the development of photometry … comprehensive account includes fine, critical comparisons of the instruments … the illustrations are impressive and add to the richness of the story … well-written and lively history … Everyone should relish the rich history of astronomical photometry and Hearnshaw's skill in presenting it.' Sky and Telescope

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521018289
    • length: 528 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.734kg
    • contains: 104 b/w illus. 13 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Early stellar magnitudes
    2. Visual estimates of stellar magnitudes and colour
    3. Visual photometry
    4. Photographic photometry, 1839–1922
    5. The origins of photoelectric photometry
    6. Photometry at longer wavelengths
    7. Photographic photometry from 1922
    8. Photometry and the birth of astrophysics
    9. Photoelectric photometry with the photomultiplier tube
    10. Photometry with electronic area detectors
    Sources of illustrations
    Index of names
    Index of star names
    Index of subjects.

  • Author

    J. B. Hearnshaw, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

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