e-book Astronomy on the Personal Computer

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The computer programs cover topics of interest in spherical astronomy and celestial mechanics. Follow Download. Overview Functions. Comments and Ratings 6.

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For example, the chapter on calculating the lunar position consists of a number of sections which describe the mathematics involved in calculating the apparent position of the Moon to an accuracy of I arc-see. These sections tend to be quite heavy going, not because of the way they arc written but rather because the accurate determination of the position of astronomical objects is a very complicated process. However, with a little perseverance most people who can manage higher A-level mathematics will probably be able to follow what is going on.

A detailed mathematical understanding of the techniques described in the books is not, however, essentialto its use. The Pascal programs provided in each chapter are intended to be simple enough to be used by anyone who understands what the fairly sample input and output mean, without necessarily following the details of what is going on in between. It was at this point that I found the book a littlefrustrating.

The programs comprise about a quarter of the book, so typing them in would represent quite a substantial undertaking. The publishers have helpfully provided them on a 5.

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Astronomy on the Personal Computer

But if you have a modern PC with a 3. I wasn't quite that enthusiastic,so cannot comment on how well the programs run or how easy they are to use in practise. Apart from this drawback - which is c o m m o n to almost all books and journals that provide software - the book is really very good. They have also very sensibly given a detailed example of how to run a program, explaining fully what the input parameters and the output mean. The software also has a number of advantages over a published ephemeris.


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For example, the programs will take iii iv Book Reviews a few decades rather than one year to become out of date. The programs can be used to calculate the positions of comets and minor planets for which ephemerides are not usually published, from their orbital elements; and they can also be used to calculate the dates of steller occultations. In addition, the book gives programs for calculating the orbital elements of objects from observations, and the positions of objects from photographs. All of this makes Astronomy on the Personal Computer an extremely useful volume both for the keen amateur and for teaching professional astronomers.

Alan M.

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The books are intended for active observers "who want to get the very best out of their equipment and make productive observations and new discoveries" - and will, the publishers claim, build up "an indispensable library of practical information" for active observers. To achieve this, a strongly practical approach is planned, with emphasis on techniques, equipment and its optimum use.

With this in mind, how does the present volume measure up?