Posted on Friday, May 12, 2017
By Kadri

Fundamental Astronomy, edited by Hannu Karttunen, Pekka Kröger, Heikki Oja, Markku Poutanen, Karl Johan Donner

Some years ago I took an astronomy course at university where the recommended textbook was the fifth edition of this textbook. Although at the time because of the short length of the course I didn't get too well acquainted with the book except in case of the exercises provided, it contained a lot of interesting topics that we didn't get to in the lectures.

Now reading the Sixth edition more thoroughly, I appreciated it's ordering of the subject matter, and the overall choice of topics and the depth and breadth that this book goes to, that couldn't really all be covered in lectures, but are essential for a great understanding of astronomy. I feel like it is as good a book as far as the basics of theory and observational astrophysics are concerned.

Everything is explained clearly and where possible there are helpful diagrams, figures and photos that are there exactly when you need them.

The book covers such topics as astronomical time systems, telescopes, different types of radiation and their mechanisms, celestial mechanics, photometry and spectroscopy, objects of the solar system, stars, cosmology etc. all with solved problems as examples and exercises. The exercises are delightful in the way how they're exactly the kinds of things you'd like to find out, but maybe hadn't thought of calculating just yet. They're not just boring number-crunching, but rather something that you might want to solve even when you come across them after midnight.

Something that I also enjoyed a lot, was the extensive set of tables. Yes, you can find all of that information online, but it's so much nicer to look it up in a book and be led to something else that catches your eye.


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