Exoplanets: Finding, Exploring, and Understanding Alien Worlds probes the basis for possible answers to the fundamentals questions asked about these planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. This book examines what such planets might be like, where they are, and how we find them. Until around ten years ago, the only planets that we knew about were within the Solar System. The first genuine planet beyond the confines of the Solar System was discovered only 1988. Since then another 350 or so exoplanets have been detected by various methods, and most of these haven been found in the last ten years. Although many more exoplanets discoveries may be expected to occur even as this book is being read, a large enough data set is now available to form the basis for an informed general account of exoplanets. The topic hence is an extremely "hot" one - all the more so because the recently launched Kepler spacecraft should soon start uncovering many more exoplanets, some perhaps comparable with the Earth (and therefore possibly alternative homes for mankind, if we could ever reach them). Exoplanets: Finding, Exploring, and Understanding Alien Life gives a comprehensive, balances, and above all accurate account of exoplanets.
"Telescopes and Techniques" has proved itself in its first edition, having become probably one of the most widely used astronomy texts, both for numerate amateur astronomers and for astronomy and astrophysics undergraduates. The first and second editions of the book were widely used as set texts for introductory practical astronomy courses in many universities. This book guides the reader through the mathematics, physics and practical techniques needed to use telescopes (from small amateur models to the larger instruments installed in many colleges) and to observe objects in the sky. Mathematics to around Advanced Placement standard (US) or A level (UK) is assumed, although High School Diploma (US) or GCSE-level (UK) mathematics plus some basic trigonometry will suffice most of the time. Most of the physics and engineering involved is described fully and requires no prior knowledge or experience. This is a 'how to' book that provides the knowledge and background required to understand how and why telescopes work. Equipped with the techniques discussed in this book, the observer will be able to operate with confidence his or her telescope and to optimize its performance for a particular purpose. In principle the observer could calculate his or her own predictions of planetary positions (ephemerides), but more realistically the observer will be able to understand the published data lists properly instead of just treating them as 'recipes.' When the observer has obtained measurements, he/she will be able to analyze them in a scientific manner and to understand the significance and meaning of the results. "Telescopes and Techniques, 3rd Edition" fills a niche at the start of an undergraduate astronomer's university studies, as shown by it having been widely adopted as a set textbook. This third edition is now needed to update its material with the many new observing developments and study areas that have come into prominence since it was published. The book concentrates on the knowledge needed to understand how small(ish) optical telescopes function, their main designs and how to set them up, plus introducing the reader to the many ways in which objects in the sky change their positions and how they may be observed. Both visual and electronic imaging techniques are covered, together with an introduction to how data (measurements) should be processed and analyzed. A simple introduction to radio telescopes is also included. Brief coverage of the most advanced topics of photometry and spectroscopy are included, but mainly to enable the reader to see some of the developments possible from the basic observing techniques covered in the main parts of the book.
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