© 2002

Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Astronomy

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. A
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 1-21
  3. B
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 22-30
  4. C
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 31-56
  5. D
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 57-70
  6. E
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 71-87
  7. F
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 88-101
  8. G
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 102-111
  9. H
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 112-121
  10. I
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 122-129
  11. J
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 130-131
  12. K
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 132-135
  13. L
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 136-145
  14. M
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 146-157
  15. N
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 158-166
  16. O
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 167-174
  17. P
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 175-195
  18. Q
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 196-196
  19. R
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 197-208
  20. S
    Chris Kitchin
    Pages 209-233

About this book


The purpose of this book is two-fold. Firstly to provide a handy quick source of ref­ erence of the terms, techniques, instruments, formulas, processes, etc. , for practising observers, whether it is their first look through someone else's small telescope, or whether they have spent decades building their own instruments, observing with them and are regularly producing results to rival those of the professionals. It is not principally aimed at professional observers, but in order to be sufficiently compre­ hensive for its intended audience, many entries have been included which will be relevant at that level. In particular though, the more esoteric parts of spectroscopy have not been included. References to specific observatories are included if their instrumentation includes optical telescopes over 1 m in diameter or radio dishes over 20 m. Individual entries for telescopes of 4 m or over are included, and for the larger radio instruments, plus other telescopes that may be of interest for historical or other reasons (for example the 1m Yerkes refractor). Spacecraft have generally not been included (apart from the Hubble space telescope) because their short working lives mean that most current spacecraft will no longer be operating by the time that this book is published. Also the names of spacecraft are frequently changed after launch making it difficult to identify which mission is which. References to commercial organisations, and to some widely available commercial products have been includ­ ed, but an intending purchaser should always obtain up-to-date information.


astronomy dictionary instruments observatory spectroscopy telescope

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Astronomy
  • Authors C. R. Kitchin
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag London 2002
  • Publisher Name Springer, London
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-85233-559-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4471-0175-8
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VIII, 280
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Astronomy, Observations and Techniques
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors


From the reviews:

"This publication is wide-ranging with over 1,800 entries and 273 illustrations. It also provides web addresses for relevant organizations … . There are extensive appendices including the Messier and Caldwell catalogues, relevant addresses of organizations and even the Greek alphabet. … it is undoubtedly an invaluable reference tool for the dedicated practical astronomer." (Sharon Hough, Astronomy & Space, April, 2004)

"This book is primarily aimed at the practicing amateur observer. There is most certainly a need for a reference work of this sort, and the author has managed to go some way towards filling a glaring gap in the market. … this dictionary is a mandatory addition to the practical astronomer’s bookshelf." (T. J. Mahoney, The Observatory, Vol. 124 (1179), 2004)

"It does an excellent job of covering the basics and many not so basic aspects of astronomy. In fact, it provides more depth than would be considered normal for a dictionary in most cases, and nicely bridges the gap between a pure dictionary and an encyclopaedia. … A worthwhile addition to one’s reference library … . for an advanced amateur, this might just be the eclectic mix for which they yearn." (Roger Feasey, Auckland Astronomical Society Journal, May, 2003)

"The emphasis in this dictionary is very much on the word ‘practical’ contained in the title. … many practical astronomers will find the book useful. It deals in some detail with techniques and instrumentation, offering many useful charts and diagrams. … The book is well cross-referenced and includes a number of useful appendices. … The dictionary finishes with a listing of astronomical societies worldwide and a bibliography which covers major journals, yearbooks, star catalogues, reference books, introductory books on astronomy and practical guides." (L. J. Anthony, Reference Reviews, Vol. 17 (1), 2003)