Surveying the Skies

How Astronomers Map the Universe

  • Gareth Wynn-Williams

Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 1-5
  3. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 7-19
  4. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 21-36
  5. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 37-46
  6. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 47-68
  7. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 69-86
  8. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 87-96
  9. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 97-103
  10. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 105-115
  11. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 117-127
  12. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 129-133
  13. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 135-145
  14. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 147-163
  15. Gareth Wynn-Williams
    Pages 165-166
  16. Back Matter
    Pages 167-187

About this book


Since the time of Galileo, astronomy has been driven by technological innovation. With each major advance has come the opportunity and enthusiasm to survey the sky in a way that was not possible before.  It is these surveys of discovery that are the subject of this book.

In the first few chapters the author discusses what astronomers learned from visible-light surveys, first with the naked eye, then using telescopes in the seventeenth century, and photography in the nineteenth century. He then moves to the second half of the twentieth century when the skies started to be swept by radio, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray and gamma ray telescopes, many of which had to be flown in satellites above the Earth’s atmosphere. These surveys led to the discovery of pulsars, quasars, molecular clouds, protostars, bursters, and black holes. 

He then returns to Earth to describe several currently active large-scale projects that methodically collect images, photometry and spectra that are then stored in vast publicly-accessible databases.  Dr. Wynn-Williams also describes several recent “microsurveys” – detailed studies of small patches of sky that have led to major advances in our understanding of cosmology and exoplanets.



Electromagnetic Spectrum Observations Far Infra-red Surveys Gamma-ray Astronomy Surveys Invisible forms of Light Near-infrared Surveys Overview Astronomical Sky Surveys Radio Astronomy Surveys Ultraviolet Astronomy Surveys X-ray Astronomy Surveys

Authors and affiliations

  • Gareth Wynn-Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.KailuaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-28508-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-28510-8
  • Series Print ISSN 1614-659X
  • Series Online ISSN 2197-6651
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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