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Kedvenc

Good Spectroscopy books

24 posts in this topic

I recently bought the book by Ken Harrison and didn't really think much of the book. Any other recommendations? I'm a computational neuroscientist so scientific/technical/mathematical books are fine. Cheers.

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Kedvenc,

I'm sorry you didn't find my book much help....

What aspect(s) of spectroscopy do you want to explore?

Instrument making?

Observational techniques?

Spectral processing?

Astronomical spectroscopy - the stars/ stellar classification/ stellar atmosphere modelling/ Supernova/ variable stars/ Be or WR stars?

There are many varied aspects to spectrometry....

I could recommend basic level (ie pre graduate level) or advanced (post graduate level) books on all these subjects. Let me know what your looking for, I can help...

A good couple of reference books to begin with would be:

"Stellar Spectral Classification" by Gray and Corbally

"The Observation and Analysis of Stellar Atmospheres" by D.F. Gray

"Spectrophysics - Principles and Applications" by A. Thorne et al

Hope this helps......

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Hi Ken,

I'm still reading your book and it's very useful for the practical side of amateur spectroscopy, so saying I didn't think much of it was a tad unfair and perhaps premature! My understanding of astronomical spectroscopy is still infantile so was hoping for more background theory.

I'm looking for more info on the stellar classification, stellar atmosphere modelling area (variable stars etc). I'm interested in stellar evolution but want something from the observational/spectroscopy end, probably looking at graduate level texts at this moment in time.

For my own purposes I was probably going to start with the Star Analyser grating and a DSLR to see how things go. I'm a scientist and while I enjoy visually observing the sights in the night sky I also have need to be doing things of a more scientific nature!

Cheers,

Scott

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Kedvenc,

As Ken says it depends what you want to know as I don't know of a single book that covers all aspects equally well.

For spectroscopes, spectrographes etc. then I go for

Astronomical Optics Daniel J Schroeder if I want to understand the equations

I also have Soectrograph Design Fundamentals John james which covers more of the practical design issues.

Astronomical Spectrographs and the history John Hearnshaw for ideas and perspective.

I think Ken has covered spectral clasification etc.

I also have Astronomical Sectrography for Amateurs Ed Rozelot & Neiner which is a good introduction covering theory, design and use via Shelyak.com

Also this site has a lot of info Spectroscopy, CCD and Astronomy

I also have Kens book & most of the others he mentioned - mad quite mad.

Hope this helps Andrew

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Thanks, Andrew....

Check out the link on p235 to Olivier Thizy's "recommended reading list"

(The problem with "heavy" spectroscopy books is that they are seen as 'post graduate' text books - and priced accordingly!!!)

If you can swing a subscription the the ESO Messenger magazine - you'll be impressed with the cutting edge work being done in spectroscopy - I figure more than 50% of each issue is based on spectroscopic observations......(BTW Scott, I think you'll get more out of the book when you start to play with a grating and collecting raw spectra data......;-) )

Edited by Merlin66

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Scott - Given your build I would go for Stars & Their Spectra James B Kaler.

It cover all star spectral types and their evolution. Andrew

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I agree, the current 2nd Edition is even better than the original...there's always space on the bookshelf for Kaler!!!

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Just had look at Kalers book and think I will give it a read. Thanks for the info and friendly advice etc I'm just itching to get my hands on a grating. Get excited, get frustrated, bang my head on the desk and then try again. As you said Ken, at that point I'll probably find your book a god send lol and I'll be back here with my tail between my legs begging for more

advice and tips! Cheers

Edited by Kedvenc

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Hi kedvenc,

There are some excellent books out there on spectroscopy in addition to those already mentioned:

stellar spectral classification - corbally - tells you everything you'll probably want to know about classifying stars

vitense - introduction to astrophysics vol II stellar atmospheres, grey - stellar photospheres, mihalas - stellar atmospheres - tell you the physics of how spectra are formed at increasing levels of technicality

If you want to find out everthing that is published about a particular star then what i do is go to simbad SIMBAD Astronomical Database and perform a query on the star and in the query results I then get the list of references to the object which gives you links to the actual papers :0)

You mentioned interest in stellar modelling.

You can download and install a version of Kurucz Atlas software from here:

Documentation (note this does not run under windows but under linux etc - I got the software working using virtual PC on a windows machine)

Atlas is ok for LTE systems for non-LTE you would have to go for something like tlusty which can be found here:

Tlusty Home Page

...but you'll need a powerful machine to run this.

A series of suberb video lectures online by Ivan Hubeny on stellar atmosphere modelling and spectroscopy is here:

:::Observatrio Nacional:::

Have fun

John

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Hi John,

Thanks for all the info. I run my machine under linux so will take a look at the stellar modelling links. The database looks excellent as do the references you mention. To much I want to learn and not enough time.....

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Kedvenc,

I bought a copy of Ken's book at Astrofest its excellent and contains a wealth of Knowledge and information. As an author I know whats involved in writing a book.

Thanks for your efforts Ken.

Professor Jim Kaler writes a good book too I have some of them.

Regards,

Jack

Edited by Jack Martin

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I'm also an author so I'm happy to keep my own opinion.

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Hi - some more books [that may not have been mentioned:rolleyes:]

Optical astronomical spectroscopy by Prof Chris Kitchin [ioP]

Astronomical spectroscopy by A.D.Thackeray [Eyre & Spottiswoode 1961!]

Practical amateur spectroscopy by S.F.Tonkin [springer]

PS; my 1st post on SGL:hello2:

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Good to see you on board!

Hopefully many more posts to come.

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Hi all - I've been following some of the threads in this section, and this one caught me eye.

I have been reading Keith Robinson, "Spectroscopy: The Key to the Stars: Reading the Lines in Stellar Spectra".

I am not a mathematician (archaeologist/classicist by training), but am struggling on and making my way through :)... . I have to keep rereading sections to make sure I understand them, but I have found it really interesting. If someone had told me that I could do this sort of stuff when I was in physics/maths classes 30 years ago...maybe I'd have paid more attention:evil6:.

As I am coming to the end of that book, do you have any suggestions on where to go next? I am interested in obtaining and making my own spectra - so I guess something practical with first easy targets/projects might be good. Also some basic reading materials on identifying emission/absorbtion lines for specific stars (or would the Kaler book mentioned above cover this, bearing in mind my "build")?

Anyway, I hope to learn some more about this fascinating subject! I find that an appreciation of the physics behind the lights that I see in my 'scope makes me full of wonder and enjoy the beauty of the night sky even more.

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"Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs" covers the basics as well as spectroscope design.

Kaler's book is a great source of information and data on "real" spectra.

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Hi Mark,

I think Merlin is right that probably his book on Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs is the best next one for you to read.

I am not surprised you are having to read and reread Keith Robinsons book - a lot of the physics in there is not intuitive eg all the stuff on black bodies and quantum physics - thats not Keiths fault it is just the nature of the subject.

In my experience the practice of doing spectroscopy will help you understand things more. And to be frank you don't need to know any of the physics to do spectroscopy you just need to have the relevant equipment and have the relevant skills in using your equipment and processing your data which anyone can pick up with a little effort.

I see you have a nice Celestron scope.

Before doing any spectroscopy with the scope are you able to:

1) take pictures using your telescope?

2) in particular take long exposures using some form of guiding with your telescope?

If you can do the above then you have the relevant mastery of your current equipment.

Next you have to decide on what spectroscope to get - Ken's books has details on this - you could start with a star analyser - which is relatively cheap and is easy to get spectra with for starters. Or build your own spectroscope or buy one - eg from shelyak, dados etc again Ken's book has details.

Also buy a neon bulb and bulb holder to use as a calibration lamp if the spectroscope does not come with one. Its good to practice taking spectra with bulbs. Just shine them into your telescope from the front and capture the spectra.

Then its just a case of getting out there and taking spectra. Start with the brightest stars and when you have mastered this go to the forums such as

spectro-aras.com • Index page

which list current campaigns you can take part in to help professional astronomers.

Note amateur astronomer spectroscopists are definitely not armchair observers :)

For processing spectra once they have been captured I have already created a short youtube video:

cheers

John

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Thanks for the great responses, Jack, John and Merlin (I've ordered your book via amazon:) ). Plenty to think about and reading to follow-up on!

I've recently bought an Equinox 80 APO pro, and a Starwave 102ED for photographic work so would probably use one or other of those, unless aperture is critical?

Will be motorising my eq5 mount (or getting an HEq5 with synscan if that doesn't work) for purposes of longer tracked exposures - the celestron mount just seems a bit wobbly for the 8" tube and the tracking is not so great.

Thanks for all the advice - I'll do some more reading and keep following the threads here. Hopefully I'll soon have something to show...in the meantime, I apologise in advance for all the questions I'm bound to be asking soon!

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Marki,

In order to get bright and useful spectra you will need as much apeture as possible. Stars etc are a long way away.

Regards,

Jack

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Ah, thanks Jack (ordered your book too :)) - useful to know - I sort of assumed it'd be like photography with long tracked exposures being key.

I can always mount the 8SE on the eq then!

Thanks,

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As the stellar spectrum is really an image of all the starlight spread out across the CCD, the rule of thumb is that you need to allow 5 magnitudes difference for spectroscopy. ie if your limiting magnitude is 14 mag, then expect to be able to record the spectra from 9 mag stars.....

Such is life!

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Marki,

Thanks for buying the book. It took me 10 years of imaging and 2 years to write. The spectra were taken on black and white film. Shame I can't sign it for you.

Regards,

Jack

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No worries, Jack. Thanks for the thought. Used to live not far from your neck of the woods - spent 10 years in E15 and E17 before moving to Sheffield!

Clouded over here for now - fortunately I have a load of reading to do courtesy of an Amazon delivery! Got Ken's book, Jack's book, and the 2nd edition of Kaler's book too (shame the photos in that are B/W).

Ordered a motor upgrade kit for my EQ5 plus a star analyser 100 from Lee at Green-witch. Hopefully I can abosrb some of all the good info I've got so far and actually put it to some use in the next few weeks.

I must admit, hard-going as it has been for me, ploughing through the Keith Robinson book has made understanding some of what I'm seeing in the other books much more easy...!

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