In the four centuries since its invention, the telescope has transformed how humans view the universe and their place in it. But what do most of us know about telescopes themselves--their history, how they work, what they are being used for today, or what the next generation of billion-dollar telescopes will look like? In The Telescope, Geoff Andersen fills in all the details for us in an accessible, nontechnical way that will appeal to the amateur astronomer and anyone else who has been more than a little curious about this amazing instrument.
The book covers every aspect of optical telescopes--from the humblest backyard setup, to state-of-the-art observatories, to the Hubble Space Telescope and spy satellites. Chapters describe the development, design, and operation of telescopes; how observatories are sited, engineered, and built; variations such as solar and liquid-mirror telescopes; and some of the key astronomical discoveries telescopes have made possible. And there are plenty of surprises along the way. We learn, for example, that most of today's professional astronomers never even look through their own telescopes, relying instead on digital imaging, measurement, and analysis--or even remote computer control of a night-shrouded observatory on the other side of the Earth.
But, as The Telescope explains, these magnificent instruments do more than simply peer into space. They project and receive laser beams--for communicating, mapping, and making detailed observations of the Earth. They also look down at us from spy satellites, providing secret images to intelligence agencies--and, increasingly, giving a curious public access to more pedestrian images.
The Telescope is the ideal introduction to a fascinating instrument that has taught us so much--but that most of us know so little about.
"Sets a high standard....The book is at its best when discussing modern telescopes."--Martin Ince, The Times Higher Education Supplement
"As we approach the 400th anniversary of Hans Lippershay's 1608 patent for a refractor telescope, Andersen offers an accessible, nontechnical account of instruments that show us distant objects...There are short but informative discussions of interferometry and advanced telescope techniques."--Science
"A great guide to astronomy's indispensable tool."--Ian Glass, BBC Sky at Night
"A pleasant, lightweight, non-technical, and readable account...Although the book concentrates on the astronomical uses of telescopes, there is an interesting section on their use for surveillance (i.e. as spy cameras)."--C.R. Kitchin, Astronomy Now
"A thorough, up-to-date and largely non- technical account spanning four centuries and including information for amateurs who want to establish their own observatory or even make their own telescope."--Gerry Rising, Buffalo News
"Geoff Andersen does what at first glance seems impossible: justice to the subject...He escorts you through time, from the first telescope to proposed giants like the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope...The book's real gem is Andersen's voice. His knack of writing personal and historical tidbits in a humorous, natural dialog highlights his passion for telescopes...The Telescope provides endless food for thought--even for us professional astronomers."--Monica Bobra, Sky & Telescope
"Andersen's title suggests that this is one of many how-to books about telescopes--not so! His focus is the history of the telescope--the invention that helped spark the Renaissance...Andersen spins an engaging story that can be easily read in one afternoon by any layperson. It is well worth a space on any science buff's shelf."--T.D. Oswalt, Choice
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