Astronomy Before The Telescope

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Galileo made the first effective use of the refracting telescope to discover important new facts about astronomy. His observations led him to support Copernicus's claim that Earth and the other planets circled the sun. This conflicted with the teachings of the Catholic Church, and brought Galileo before the judges of the Inquisition. He spent his final years under house arrest.

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Like everyone else, most amateur astronomers live busy lives. After a long day or work or looking after young children, the last thing you want as an observer is to have to lug out a large telescope and spend an hour getting it ready before it can be u

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Man's view of the universe is widening today, as it did once before in the early days of big telescopes and photographic plates. Modern man, by means of radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, and X-ray astronomy, can penetrate the universe to depths never before explored. P.J.E. Peebles has written a pioneering work in this newly defined area of investigation.

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ESO's new and exciting telescope, the VLT in Chile, will certainly provide a host of new results in optical astronomy for the years to come. Here now is a survey of numerous possible observations together with the necessary instrumentation, thus affording an exciting overview of frontline research in astronomy rarely published before. The book runs the gamut of optical-IR astronomy from the solar system, the search for planets in nearby stars, the physics of galactic stars and clusters, AGN and quasars, right up to large structure and cosmology.

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