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Essential Radio Astronomy
James J. Condon & Scott M. Ransom

Hardcover | 2016 | $85.00 | £70.95 | ISBN: 9780691137797
376 pp. | 7 x 10 | 16 color illus. 23 halftones. 132 line illus. 5 tables.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400881161 |
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Supplemental Materials

Essential Radio Astronomy is the only textbook on the subject specifically designed for a one-semester introductory course for advanced undergraduates or graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics. It starts from first principles in order to fill gaps in students' backgrounds, make teaching easier for professors who are not expert radio astronomers, and provide a useful reference to the essential equations used by practitioners.

This unique textbook reflects the fact that students of multiwavelength astronomy typically can afford to spend only one semester studying the observational techniques particular to each wavelength band. Essential Radio Astronomy presents only the most crucial concepts—succinctly and accessibly. It covers the general principles behind radio telescopes, receivers, and digital backends without getting bogged down in engineering details. Emphasizing the physical processes in radio sources, the book's approach is shaped by the view that radio astrophysics owes more to thermodynamics than electromagnetism.

Proven in the classroom and generously illustrated throughout, Essential Radio Astronomy is an invaluable resource for students and researchers alike.

  • The only textbook specifically designed for a one-semester course in radio astronomy
  • Starts from first principles
  • Makes teaching easier for astronomy professors who are not expert radio astronomers
  • Emphasizes the physical processes in radio sources
  • Covers the principles behind radio telescopes and receivers
  • Provides the essential equations and fundamental constants used by practitioners
  • Supplementary website includes lecture notes, problem sets, exams, and links to interactive demonstrations
  • An online illustration package is available to professors

James J. Condon and Scott M. Ransom are astronomers at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and research professors of astronomy at the University of Virginia.


"[Essential Radio Astronomy] should be on the reference shelves of all major universities and research institutes."--Choice


"Essential Radio Astronomy is an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of radio astronomy for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It is a comprehensive, up-to-date guide to radio astronomical hardware, physical processes, and cosmic sources of radio radiation and belongs in the bookcase of every budding radio astronomer. It can also serve as a basic reference for any astronomer, no matter what their specialty is."--Leo Blitz, University of California, Berkeley

"This book provides advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and astronomers with an invaluable introduction to the key ideas in radio astronomy. Written by two highly respected astronomers, Essential Radio Astronomy explains the underlying physics, the properties of astronomical sources ranging from active galactic nuclei to the cosmic microwave background, as well as how radio telescopes observe the sky."--David N. Spergel, Princeton University

"Fantastic. I have been teaching radio astronomy at Harvard for more than forty years, and this is the book I wish I had had to teach from--and the book I wish I had written myself. It is destined to become the essential resource for all aspiring radio astronomers and for anyone who uses radio astronomical data."--James M. Moran, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"This book, honed over many years in the classroom, fills a clear need for a single volume covering the physical and mathematical foundations of radio astronomy. It is greatly to be welcomed and will surely find its place on the shelves of most professional radio astronomers and students of the discipline."--Peter Wilkinson, University of Manchester


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