About this product
Planetary Astronomy - Observing, imaging and studying the planets
Planetary Astronomy was written by Christian Viladrich, Marc Delcroix, Jean-Jacques Poupeau, Frédéric Burgeot, Giuseppe Monachino, and Jean-Pierre Prost. This is a translation of the book “Astronomie planétaire” which has had a great success in France since 2015.
21cm x 29.7cm, 288 pages, 645 images, 20. chapters, 1.2kg
Planetary Astronomy is a comprehensive book about observing, imaging, and studying planets. It has been written by seven authors, all being skillful amateur observers in their respective domains: Christian Viladrich, Marc Delcroix, Jean-Jacques Poupeau, Frédéric Burgeot, Giuseppe Monachino, and Jean-Pierre Prost. This is a translation and an update of the book Astronomie planétaire which encountered a great success in France since 2015.
With Planetary Astronomy you will learn to:
- Make the best use of your equipment: choosing an instrument, setting correctly the optics of the telescope, setting the camera, using planetary filters, train your eye to see all available details at the eyepiece
- Anticipate weather and seeing conditions, to not lose any good night
- Use in depth the best planetary software: Autostakkert!, Registax, and WinJupos, how to objectively process details and colours
- Identify features on planets: each of the seven planets (but Earth of course) has a detailed chapter that will help you to anticipate cycles of activity on Jupiter, recognise dust storms on Mars, detect bright storms on Uranus or Neptune
- Analyse your data to go beyond simple observations: measuring position and details drifting on planets, making cartographies, participate in advanced observing projects including cooperation with scientists.
Ever since the end of the 1980s, when digital cameras first became widely available, modern amateur astronomers have been able to make their own invaluable contribution to the study of the planets of our solar system. Today, it can be argued and with good reason, that the best planetary images obtained by amateurs are equally as good as those obtained just a few short years ago by large professional telescopes. The common factor limiting the resolution of both amateur and professional telescopes alike is atmospheric turbulence, yet the amateurs’ optimal use of acquisition methods and processing techniques, have enabled them to obtain the best results possible with telescopes of all sizes, despite the detrimental effect it imposes on their observing site.
More than ever before, amateur astronomers contribute to professional research programmes in the area of planetary science. Although, equipment designed specifically for high resolution work is now common place, it is the amateurs’ strength in numbers which has made it possible for them to contribute effectively to the ever constant monitoring of the surfaces and atmospheres of the planets, by establishing collaborative networks distributed across the world. Professional astronomers have found it easier to work with a network of amateur astronomers, rather than try persuading a committee to allocate valuable telescope time, to monitor potentially hypothetical changes in the planets. This type of collaboration is likely to increase in the coming years and even more so because of the ever growing need for observations made by amateurs in support of current and future robotic space exploration, or during the preparation for such missions; which could never be done without their invaluable contribution.
Given such a scientific context, there was an urgent need for a book, which not only describes the enormous strides made in recent years in the imaging of the planets, but one which also provides the modern amateur with all the detailed knowledge necessary for them to learn and master the new techniques, and by doing so, continue this great work. This is now achieved by this book written by France’s best planetary observers and astrophotographers. This collective work is the fruit of long years of experience acquired in planetary observation, acquisition and image processing, as well as its interpretation. It brings together in a comprehensive manner all the information necessary for the inexperienced (and experienced) amateur astronomer to begin and develop the skills necessary to obtain high resolution planetary images. The authors should be congratulated for having written a book as exciting as this, and which describes in so easy a manner, all the methods used in the practice of planetary astronomy. There is no doubt that this work will quickly become the standard source of reference for years to come, for anyone wishing to observe and photograph the planets of our solar system.
Professor of Astrophysics, University of Marseille
Member of the ‘Institut Universitaire de France’
1. Telescopes for planetary observation
1.2. Best aperture for a planetary telescope?
1.3. Quality standard for high resolution optics
1.4. Effect of central obstruction
1.5. Telescopes for planetary observations
1.6. Diffraction by the secondary mirror spider
1.7. Examples of telescopes optimized for planetary observations
Notes: Chapter 1
2. Visual Observation & Drawing
2.1. Why observe with your eyes?
2.2. Improve your vision
3. Observing Conditions
3.1. What is turbulence?
3.2. Local turbulence and the choice of an observing site
3.3. Dome and shelter turbulence
3.4. Instrument turbulence
3.5. Forecasting Seeing
Notes: Chapter 3
4. Getting equipment ready for high resolution
4.1. Tuning the telescope’s optics for high resolution
4.2. High resolution planetary imaging
4.3. Determining the best focal length for Imaging
Notes: Chapter 4
5. Image Acquisition
5.4. Camera settings
5.5. Acquiring the images
6. Filters in digital planetary imaging
6.1. Essential concepts
6.2. Red trichromatic filters
6.3. Infrared filters
6.4. High pass red filter (or « R+IR »)
6.5. Blue trichromatic filters
6.6. Ultraviolet filters
6.7. Wratten 47 (Violet) filter
6.8. Methane filter (CH4)
6.9. Luminance and anti-infrared filters
6.10. Green trichromatic filters
6.11. Other filters?
6.12 What filters should I buy to begin with?
6.13. Summary table
Notes: Chapter 6
7. Processing Planetary Images
7.1. General image processing
7.2. Derotation techniques
7.4. Processing the details
Notes: Chapter 7
8. Color Image Processing
8.1. The RGB method
8.2. Creating color from LRGB images
8.3. RGB or LRGB?
Notes: Chapter 8
9.1. Historical observations
9.2. Physical data for the planet
9.3. Observations and photography
9.4. Analysing the images
10.1. Historical observations: its elusive details
10.2. Physical data
10.3. Observing the planet
10.4. Visual observations
10.5. Imaging the planet
Notes: Chapter 10
11.1. Aphelion, perihelion and the fifteen year cycle
11.2. Its surface: seas, deserts and volcanoes
11.3. Cycle of its ice caps and polar regions
11.4. Aphelion climate
11.5. The dust storm season
11.6. Observing and photographing Mars
11.7. The next Martian oppositions
Notes: Chapter 11
12.1. Understanding Jovian cloud movements
12.2. Its belts, zones and vortices
12.3. Activity observed in the main domains of the planet
12.4. Jupiter’s cycles of activity
12.5. Jupiter’s moons
12.6. Observations and photography
12.7. Annex: Jet-streams and winds
Notes: Chapter 12
13.1. Saturn’s atmosphere
13.2. Saturn’s activity
13.3. Seasonal effects on Saturn
13.4. Its Rings
13.5. Its moons
13.6. Observations and Photography
Notes: Chapter 13
About the Authors
Planetary Astronomy has been written by seven authors, all being skillful amateur observers in their respective domains: Christian Viladrich, Marc Delcroix, Jean-Jacques Poupeau, Frédéric Burgeot, Giuseppe Monachino, and Jean-Pierre Prost. This is a translation of the book “Astronomie planétaire” who is a great success in France since 2015.
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