CONTENTS. vii. in this web service Cambridge University Press. Preface Acknowledgements. xiii xvi

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1 CONTENTS Preface Acknowledgements xiii xvi 1 Earth and sky Planet Earth The Earth s magnetosphere Aurorae Visually observing aurorae Other methods of observing aurorae Noctilucent clouds Dates and times in your observation report A celestial menagerie Meteors, meteorites and meteor showers Visually observing meteors Other methods of observing meteors Join an astronomical society 31 2 Moon and planet observer s hardware Optical requirements for Moon and planet observing What type of telescope is best for Moon and planet observing? What size of telescope is best for Moon and planet observing? So, what telescope should I obtain for Moon and planet observing? Eyepiece characteristics Specific eyepiece types, Barlow lenses and magnification Making the best of what you already have Permanently housing a telescope 63 3 The Solar System framed Choices CCD astrocameras and digital cameras The imaging area of a CCD when used with a camera lens or a telescope 75 vii

2 viii CONTENTS 3.4 Practical photography through the telescope at the principal focus Limits on the potential resolution of detail in the image Enlarging the telescope s primary image Is a drive necessary? Finishing the job 93 4 Stacking up the Solar System The benefits of stacking selected images Some general principles about stacking Manually stacking individual frames The webcam revolution Selecting your kit for high-resolution imaging A moonlit first night Stacking the images using RegiStax Targeting an enlarged planetary image on a small CCD Striving for the best results Our Moon Orbit, phases and eclipses Lunar occultations The Moon through binoculars and telescopes Libration Lunar co-ordinates and image orientations Printed lunar atlases Consolidated Lunar Atlas and space-borne photographs online Lunar ephemerides The nature and evolution of the Moon Lunar chronology and how to interpret what you see through the telescope Drawing and photographing the Moon Transient lunar phenomena Bogus TLP TLP observing programme Lunar research utilising online data Mercury and Venus Stellar and planetary brightnesses The orbit and phases of Mercury 159

3 CONTENTS ix 6.3 Seeing Mercury through the telescope The real planet Mercury Visually observing and drawing Mercury (and other planets) Assessing the atmospheric conditions The orbit and phases of Venus Seeing Venus through the telescope Visually observing and drawing Venus Venus unveiled Photographing Mercury and Venus Transits of Mercury and Venus Mars The nature and orbit of Mars Oppositions, conjunctions, and the path of Mars across the sky Setting your telescope onto Mars Mars through the telescope difficulties and illusions Visually observing and drawing Mars Maps of Mars Some specific short- and long-term changes in Martian features Mars seen through coloured filters Photographing Mars Mars as revealed by the early space probes The new Mars Phobos and Deimos Jupiter The Jolly Cream Giant Jupiter through the telescope Spacecraft to Jupiter Jupiter observed by eye and recorded by pencil Photographing Jupiter Central meridian timings and strip sketches Latitude measures The great orb of Jupiter, its magnetosphere and its radiation belts Jupiter s main satellites and faint ring Collision with a comet 260

4 x CONTENTS 8.11 A jolly good planet to follow Tune in to Radio Jupiter Saturn, Uranus and Neptune Saturn in the sky and through the telescope Visually observing Saturn Drawing Saturn Photographing Saturn Saturn probed The satellites of Saturn Titan Saturn s moons and the amateur astronomer The discovery of the planet Uranus Uranus in detail The satellites of Uranus Uranus and the amateur astronomer Neptune emerges from the deep Neptune probed Neptune and the amateur astronomer Planetary occultations Small worlds The Main Belt asteroids Pluto and the little ice worlds Asteroid designations Some useful websites Telescopes for visually observing asteroids Binoculars for observing asteroids Setting your telescope onto a chosen asteroid Photographing asteroids I camera and telescope Photographing asteroids II calibration frames Photometry I taking the picture Photometry II obtaining magnitude measures from a CCD image Photometry III filters Photometry IV light-curves and analysis Astrometry Occultations The Minor Planet Observer software suite Further work 354

5 CONTENTS xi 11 Comets Ghostly visitors Naming comets A comet s nucleus, jets and shells A comet s false nucleus and coma A comet s tails Cometary debris Cometary close encounters Telescopes and binoculars for observing comets Wide-field eyepieces Image characteristics Useful websites Locating comets Observing and drawing comets Photographing comets I fixed cameras Photographing comets II cameras on driven platforms Photographing comets III at a telescope s principal focus Photographing comets IV image processing Photometry of comets Astrometry of comets Further work Our daytime star Hot stuff The solar orb Integrated (white)-light solar viewing The solar photosphere and magnetosphere Sunspots, pores, faculae and plage Recording the solar-disk details you can see visually Photographing the Sun in white light Deriving the positions of features on the Sun from your observations Measures of solar activity Observing the Sun in monochromatic light The chromosphere Prominences and filaments The solar corona The solar wind and solar flares Solar eclipses 452

6 xii CONTENTS Appendix 1: Telescope collimation 457 Appendix 2: Field-testing a telescope s optics 469 Appendix 3: Polar alignment 473 Index 477 The colour plates appear between pages 304 and 305

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