Telescopes, Eyepieces and Astrographs: Design, Analysis, and Performance of Modern Astronomical Optics
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by Gregory Hallock Smith, Roger Ceragioli and Richard Berry
Three expert authors have optimized designs found in today’s astronomy market, explored the origins of different systems, analyzed their optical properties and assessed their performance — and in this book, they present it to you in terms that a non-specialist can understand and put to practical use.
Telescopes come in many varieties: but which best meet your needs? Each has good points and bad, advantages and disadvantages, advocates and detractors. Advertisements flash technical terms at the prospective buyer — but what's genuine technical talk and what's baseless sales talk? This book systematically explores each type of telescope, eyepiece, and optical accessory on the market today, and tells you what's inside it, what it does well, what it does poorly, and what performance you can expect if you buy that type of telescope from a reputable telescope maker.
As a telescope buyer, you can assess properties like size, weight, compactness, and price because the upsides and downsides are fairly obvious. But what about the weaknesses that advertising copy never mentions? Field curvature and spherochromatism are seldom understood and appreciated. Will these affect your visual viewing pleasure? How much will they affect your CCD images? This book explores and explains subtle factors that you easily miss without informed help from the experts.
That seemingly simple question, “What’s the ‘best’ telescope for me?” ever plagues the novice and perplexes the expert. Defining the “best” forces you to address the question, “How will I use this telescope?” We can’t answer that question — but in this book, you will find the technical answers you need as we explore the strengths and weaknesses of telescopes, eyepieces and astrographs in the context of their best use — where they shine and where they do not shine. Practically every type of design currently marketed (or built by amateurs) is covered.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Gregory Hallock Smith is an optical engineer and lens designer. He first became interested in optics and astronomy in 1954 at age 13. In 1972, he received his Ph.D. from the Optical Sciences Center, University of Arizona. Since that time, he has held optical engineering positions at several major corporations and research institutions. His experience ranges over such areas as astronomical instruments, photographic techniques, image intensifiers, optics education, and optics for military and NASA spacecraft. He designed all the camera lenses for the highly successful Mars Exploration Rover program. His published works include the books Practical Computer-Aided Lens Design and Camera Lenses: From Box Camera to Digital. Dr. Smith is now an independent optical design consultant.
Roger Ceragioli was a professional optician and worked for the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, specializing in meter-class optics. He has designed and built hundreds of optical components during his career. More recently, he has produced designs for commercial companies — some of these are currently on the amateur astronomy market. Another interest of his is in the history of telescopes, where he has several publications. He holds advanced degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University (Ph.D.)
Richard Berry has been an amateur astronomer and telescope maker for as long as he can remember. At age 13, he ground and polished his first telescope mirror, and went on the complete a dozen more telescopes. Early in his career, he built payloads launched on Black Brant research rockets, tested and certified components flown in the Apollo Soyuz mission, and measured ozone pollution with laser light. Then, in 1976, Berry joined the staff of Astronomy magazine. In sixteen years as its editor, he built Astronomy magazine from a struggling start-up to the largest circulation astronomy magazine in the world. During this time, he also founded and edited Telescope Making, the quarterly journal that helped make the 1980s such explosive growth years for amateur astronomy. In the last two decades, Richard's books Build Your Own Telescope, Discover the Stars, The CCD Camera Cookbook, The Dobsonian Telescope and The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing have introduced thousands to the joys of amateur astronomy, telescope making, CCD imaging, and digital image processing. Richard is a graduate of the University of Virginia (B.A.) and York University (M.Sc.)