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Surveying the Skies : How Astronomers Map the Universe (Paperback) (Gareth Wynn-Williams)

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Amateur astronomy is almost entirely conducted using visible light. This book intends to broaden amateur astronomers’ horizons (and those of the growing number of ‘armchair astronomers‘) by describing how other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum have been opened up to observation. The book also provides a look at astronomical research in the twentieth century whose aim was to find new kinds of objects in the sky.  Seven separate chapters comprise the "meat" of the book, each looking at one of the wavelength bands that have been opened up to astronomers over the last few decades. These chapters consider the searches (and results) of radio astronomy, near- and far- infrared astronomy, ultraviolet astronomy, X-ray astronomy and finally gamma-ray astronomy. There are two to four sky surveys described in detail in each chapter, which also includes a pioneering survey as well as a current state of the art overview. Each survey also includes at least one interesting technical aspect of the work, plus at least one astronomical discovery that arose as a result.  There is also a section on ‘Gigasurveys’ – very large ground-based surveys whose data go straight into vast publicly accessible databases. These surveys are a major trend in present day astronomy. Finally, the author offers guidance to those who wish to guides carry out original astronomy research using state-of-the-art professional telescopes.

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