This book is not so much about the Sun, but about the opportunities for amateur astronomers, Middle or High School and College students to observe the Sun. Compared with other areas of astronomy solar observing has a number of advantages: |
- Observation can be carried out during the day. You do not have to stay up all night and
arrive at work the next day exhausted!
- There is an abundance of light. Unlike "Deep Sky" astronomy you actually have to discard much of the light reaching your telescope.
- You can set up your observatory in your own backyard - even in the city -there is no
need to escape light pollution at remote locations.
- Observations can be made practically every clear day and some simple programs like
sunspot counts can be done in just a few minutes.
- You do not need a monster telescope, even a small telescope will show an amazing amount
- The view is constantly changing, the Sun's appearance has never been, nor will it ever
be exactly the same as today.
This book was conceived and written by a group of German amateur observers. Each
section was the responsibility of the amateur who had made that aspect of solar astronomy
his specialty. The emphasis was on the practical and covers the kind of solar astronomy
within the reach of most amateurs. Soon after publication it was declared by many
reviewers as the "standard work" and much correspondence reached the authors
from abroad requesting an English translation. In terms of content the basic information
in the original German edition will be found here. Where necessary, updating has taken
place and errors have been corrected. Numerous passages were revised taking into account
the larger, inter-national circle of readers, many pictures have been added and references
to German-language literature have been changed, where possible, to appropriate
The book is divided into four major parts. Part A describes
instruments used in solar astronomy, offers help in making decisions with regard to
buying, and provides instructions for those who might build their own instrument. Part B
deals with the many different amateur observation possibilities. Part C gives
encouragement and help in planning and carrying out expeditions to observe solar eclipses
and gives details on observation. Part D is an extensive bibliography especially tailored
for the amateur solar astronomer. Each chapter of the book is self-contained in terms of
contents and the reader can turn to those subjects which interest him or her the most.
Numerous cross-references are embedded within the text to point the reader to related
This book does cover a lot of material, and the subjects are well supported with diagrams, formulae, and illustrations."Solar Astronomy Handbook" is a the best single publication about the subject matter. This book does "name names" regarding particular accessories; this is the best reference about hardware including our own DayStar Hydrogen Alpha and Calcium K-Line filters. Since the book has not really been revised since it was written in 1995, there is no real discussion about some of the more recent developments such as the popular Baader Planetarium AstroSolar polymer. And so, you may wish to contact Company Seven for a bit more advice about the latest hardware after reading about the general techniques in this book.