Astronomical Spectrographs and their History

Astronomical Spectrographs and their History

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Astronomical spectrographs analyse light emitted by the Sun, stars, galaxies and other objects in the Universe, and have been used in astronomy since the early nineteenth century. This book provides a comprehensive account of spectrographs from an historical perspective, from their theory and development over the last two hundred years, to the recent advances of the early twenty-first century. The author combines the theoretical principles behind astronomical spectrograph design with their historical development. Spectrographs of all types are considered, with prism, grating or grism dispersing elements. Included are Cassegrain, coude, prime focus, echelle, fibre-fed, ultraviolet, nebular, objective prism, multi-object instruments and those which are ground-based, on rockets and balloons or in space. The book contains several tables listing the most significant instruments, around 900 references, and over 150 images, making it an indispensable reference for professional astronomers, graduate students, advanced amateur astronomers, and historians of science.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 240 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 75 b/w illus.
  • 9781139088985

Table of contents

1. The historical development of astronomical spectroscopes and spectrographs; 2. The theory of spectroscopes and spectrographs; 3. High resolution spectrographs; 4. Solar spectrographs and the history of solar spectroscopy; 5. Objective prism spectrographs; 6. Ultraviolet and nebular spectroscopy; 7. Multi-object spectrographs; 8. Ten pioneering spectrographs of the late twentieth century; Subject index; Name index.
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Review quote

'Astronomical Spectrographs [and their History] is a concise and comprehensive synthesis of the development of the designs and uses of astronomical spectrographs and provides a most valuable resource for any study in this field. It is to be hoped that the work will encourage as much fruitful work in the history of astronomy and astrophysics as did Hearnshaw's earlier books.' Journal of the History of Astronomy '... a remarkable achievement and a useful volume...' Contemporary Physics
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About John Hearnshaw

John Hearnshaw is Professor of Astronomy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He has won the Mechaelis Prize for astronomy, and has twice been awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship. He chairs the International Astronomical Union Program Group for the World-wide Development of Astronomy.
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