About this product
Solar Astronomy - Observing, imaging and studying the Sun
Solar Astronomy is a translation (by Ken M. Harrison and Peter Zetner) and an update version of the book Astronomie solaire which has been a great success in France since 2018.
21cm x 29.7cm, 480 pages, 1473 images, 16. chapters, 1.7kg
Solar Astronomy is a wonderful introduction and reference for anyone interested in our star the Sun and particularly anyone interested in participating in the adventure of understanding the Sun by observing it themselves.
We live at a particularly exciting time in the study of the Sun with major, new space-based and ground-based, long-term full-Sun and high-resolution observations returning spectacular images and measurements, advancing our knowledge of existing challenges and revealing new phenomena of this fascinating dynamic physical laboratory, exemplar of all of the stars in the universe, and source of essentially all of the energy that makes life possible, ever changing on timescales from seconds to decades.
This all-encompassing, modern, and authoritative collection addresses the latest developments in optical, radio, and eclipse observations of the Sun and should be of broad appeal to the solar physics pro–am community, and beyond, providing the reader with the understanding and tools to be an active participant in the fantastic progress being made in our enjoyment and exploration of our neighborhood star.
In presenting the background and the tools for moving forward in our understanding and appreciation of the Sun, this book also makes available to the world the accomplishments of modern “amateur” solar physicists.
My congratulations to Christian Viladrich and colleagues for this beautiful work sharing their passion for observing the Sun, up close and personal, and paving the way for others to join in the adventure.
Editor-in-Chief of the research journal Solar Physics
Former Director US National Solar Observatory
Former Director Global Oscillation Network Group
Janssen prize of the French Astronomical Society (2017)
Observing the Sun: there are many ways to enjoy solar observation, from visual observation to high resolution imaging, using commercial telescopes or home-made dedicated solar telescopes, from observation of the photosphere in “white light” to observation of the chromosphere with specialized narrow-band filters, including radio observation with a TV satellite dish.
The goal of this book is to provide a comprehensive guide to solar observation techniques, including examples and advice, for the beginner as well as the seasoned amateur.
This book could not be the work of only one. The diversity of contributors is a testimony of the various possible fields in solar observation. Each contributor, with his own style and favorite topics, shares here with us his experience and passion.
The various themes are presented in three main parts.
1st part “Discovering the “Sun”
This part offers, as an appetizer, a general introduction to the Sun:
Chapter 1: overview of the long history of solar observation.
Chapter 2: brief description of the main phenomena observable on our star.
The goal of this part is not to cover extensively these two themes but to raise the curiosity of the reader, and encourage him/her to refer to the works given in the references for further information.
2nd part “Observation, equipment and techniques”
Needless to say, this part is the main course. It gives a presentation of the phenomena observable by the amateur and an in-depth discussion of the long chain of elements involved in solar observation:
Chapter 3: essential warnings on eye safety.
Chapter 4: observing conditions and atmospheric turbulence.
Chapter 5: different types of telescope designs with their pros and cons for solar observation.
Chapter 6: observation of the visible “surface” of the Sun, i.e. the photosphere, with the required instrumentation and associated filters.
Chapter 7: observation of the chromosphere, with the required instrumentation and associated filters.
Chapter 8: the coronagraph.
Chapter 9: examples of home-made instruments specialized in solar observation, actually used by the contributors, from the simplest to the most sophisticated.
Armed with this background, we can get into solar observing, whether visual or by imaging with a DSLR camera or a video camera:
Chapter 10: drawing.
Chapter 11: image acquisition with a camera or a DSLR (sensor characteristics, setting of the cameras and DSLR).
Chapter 12: image processing. This last step is one of the most fascinating: how to enhance, without falling into excess, every detail contained in the image.
Two additional chapters complement this 2nd part, by developing the two following themes:
Chapter 13: radio astronomy, with a presentation of radio telescopes, the solar physics at work at radio wavelengths and the description of a radio telescope an amateur can build, with examples of observations.
Chapter 14: observing and imaging solar eclipses.
3rd part “Observing projects”
Obtaining a beautiful image brings an undeniable satisfaction, which can prompt the amateur to go one step further and embark in an observing program. This is the purpose of this 3rd part.
Chapter 15: presentation of various observing programs that can be undertaken by the amateur for monitoring solar activity, from its simplest form to more advanced studies directly derived from professional work.
Chapter 16: the dynamic solar activity can also be followed even without an instrument, thanks to the large resources available on the Internet.
Finally, the reader will find at the end of the book additional documentation including a list of references, the main data about our Sun, a list of filter suppliers, a list of the largest solar professional telescopes around the world, a glossary and the indispensable index helping to find one’s way through the book.
Even if there is a progression in the sequence of chapters, they are largely independent from each other. Indications are given when needed to navigate thru the book.
Beginners will find a guide to their first observations in Part I, and in the introductory paragraphs of chapters 6 and 7 related to the observation of the photosphere and the chromosphere. As they get more experienced, they will benefit from the more advanced parts. As for the advanced amateurs, no doubt they will pick up here and there on information or an idea that will help them to make further progress.
Part II is largely dedicated to the techniques of observation. The main objective of this part is to bring an understanding of how the equipment works and how to make the best use of it. Even if there are many references to commercial products, this part is not intended to be a buying guide on solar scopes or solar filters. For this, the reader will refer to reviews published in his/her favorite astronomical magazine, to forum discussions, or to actual in-field testing and comparison at astronomical meetings.
Finally, the authors are not professional astronomers. They have tried their best to present up-to-date and reliable information, checked as much as possible from original sources. This is one of the reasons why references to the original professional papers are given in some chapters. The authors hope this information will prompt readers to pursue their exploration and understanding of the Sun. The authors beg professional astronomers to forgive them whenever they oversimplified the description of the solar physics and the observed phenomena. If mistakes remain in the text, they are the sole responsibility of the authors.
About the Authors
Solar Astronomy has been written by fourteen authors, all being skillful amateur observers in their respective domains: Christian Viladrich, François Rouvière, Jean-François Roudier, Norma Desprez, Patrick Pelletier, Bertrand Flouret, Jean-Jacques Poupeau, Jean-Pierre Brahic, Philippe Tosi, Harald Paleske, Peter Zetner, Bob Yoesle, Fred Burgeot, Fabrice Noël. This is a translation by Ken M. Harrison and Peter Zetner) and an update version of the book “Astronomie solaire” which has been a great success in France since 2018.
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