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Measuring the Universe
A Multiwavelength Perspective

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  • Date Published: June 2014
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139533782

$ 27.00 USD ( )
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About the Authors
  • Astronomy is an observational science, renewed and even revolutionized by new developments in instrumentation. With the resulting growth of multiwavelength investigation as an engine of discovery, it is increasingly important for astronomers to understand the underlying physical principles and operational characteristics for a broad range of instruments. This comprehensive text is ideal for graduate students, active researchers and instrument developers. It is a thorough review of how astronomers obtain their data, covering current approaches to astronomical measurements from radio to gamma rays. The focus is on current technology rather than the history of the field, allowing each topic to be discussed in depth. Areas covered include telescopes, detectors, photometry, spectroscopy, adaptive optics and high- contrast imaging, millimeter-wave and radio receivers, radio and optical/infrared interferometry, and X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, all at a level that bridges the gap between the basic principles of optics and the subject's abundant specialist literature. Color versions of figures and solutions to selected problems are available online at

    • A unified, comprehensive guide to astronomical instrumentation, focusing on modern instrumentation in widespread use and outlining the most up-to-date methods of astronomical data collection
    • Includes problem sets and worked examples - electronic versions of the figures are also available online at
    • Suitable as a main text on astronomical instrumentation or a supplementary text in most astrophysics graduate courses and for professionals active in the field
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    • Winner of the 2013 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award

    Reviews & endorsements

    “This text fills a long-standing need for a broad treatment of modern observational astronomy techniques suitable for graduate and upper-division undergraduate students of astronomy, physics, and engineering. It provides useful descriptions of practical issues that are encountered when applying the techniques and technologies.” - Jason Glenn, Professor of Astrophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder

    “Rieke is an ambassador of astronomical hardware, making the world of telescopes, instruments and detectors intelligible and palatable to observers, and those who analyze and model data. This textbook, written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, provides an excellent starting point and overview for those who venture into building hardware. For those who just use astronomical facilities and data, the book provides precisely all they ‘need to know’.” - Hans-Walter Rix, Director, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

    “This textbook fills a real void. It is an excellent overview of the broad range of tools, technologies, and principles that modern observational astronomers use to address the major frontier areas of research. In our era of multi-waveband “panchromatic” observations, this book will be a valuable resource for educating graduate students and an excellent reference for senior observational astronomers who are venturing into new territory.” - Timothy Heckman, The Dr. A. Hermann Pfund Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University

    “This excellent textbook has the range and depth to provide a great introduction to the techniques of modern astronomy for senior undergraduates or physics graduates starting an observational Ph.D. with data from one of the major ground or space observatories. From traditional telescopes to gravitational wave detection it brings together in one reference the barrage of approaches we now use to unravel the secrets of the Universe.” - Professor Gillian Wright, STFC UK Astronomy Technology Centre

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2014
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139533782
    • contains: 175 b/w illus. 50 exercises
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Gathering light - the telescope
    3. Sensing the light: detectors for the optical and infrared
    4. Imaging and astrometry
    5. Photometry and polarimetry
    6. Spectroscopy
    7. Adaptive optics (AO) and high contrast imaging
    8. Submillimeter and radio astronomy
    9. Interferometry and aperture synthesis
    10. X-ray and gamma-ray

  • Resources for

    Measuring the Universe

    George H. Rieke

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  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Astronomical Observations, Instrumentation and Data Analysis
    • Astronomical Techniques
    • Astronomical Techniques and Instrumentation
    • From the first stars to Galaxies
    • Introduction to Astronomy
    • Modern Observational Techniques
    • Observational Astronomy
    • Observational Astronomy, Methods & Instrumentation
    • Observational Techniques of Modern Astrophysics
    • Techniques of Observational Astronomy
  • Author

    George H. Rieke, University of Arizona
    George H. Rieke is Regents Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona, Deputy Director of Steward Observatory, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Professor Rieke is Science Lead for the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and was Principal Investigator of the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS). He has also led construction of a broad range of groundbased instruments and has taught core graduate courses on instrumentation throughout his career.


    • Winner of the 2013 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award

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