© 2009

Measure Solar System Objects and Their Movements for Yourself!

  • Authors

Part of the Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series book series (PATRICKMOORE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. John D. Clark
    Pages 21-27
  3. John D. Clark
    Pages 29-56
  4. John D. Clark
    Pages 81-96
  5. John D. Clark
    Pages 127-132
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 133-173

About this book


Instead of taking somebody's word about the basic size and distances for the solar system's objects, this book shows amateur astronomers how to measure these things for themselves. This is an enriching experience for any amateur astronomer - to understand and personally measure fundamental astronomical quantities and distances.

A basic knowledge of geometry is required, but it is amazing how simple the ideas can be. Readers are led through the details as gently as possible - and in a light-hearted way - presuming that most will have half-forgotten most of the mathematics.

The practical astronomical equipment recommended is no more than a typical commercially-made amateur telescope and a camera of some sort - these days a webcam works very well. Apart from that all the reader will need is access to a computer with internet service, the know-how to download free software, and an enthusiasm to expand his knowledge of the basics of scientific astronomy.


Astrometry at home Astronomical Quantities Astronomical Unit Astrophysical Calculations How Far is the Moon How Far is the Sun Measuring Orbits Measuring Solar System Distances Planet Planetary Masses Solar Solar System Sun

About the authors

John Clark holds a Bachelor of Science, first class honors, in Physics, from London University, England, and a Ph. D. in Physics from Warwick University, England. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher at Case Western Reserve University in the USA. Currently he is Managing Director of Fine R and D Limited. He has been an active amateur astronomer for many years.

Bibliographic information


From the reviews: “This delightful book … is really a breath of fresh air in popular science publishing, taking us back to astronomical basics and starting from the beginning. With the help of very clear diagrams and graphics, the text takes you through fully-worked examples, asking questions about sizes, distances and motions within the Solar System. It then sets about, always with simple, readily available and inexpensive equipment, to show you how to answer those questions for yourself. … Overall, this is a very worthwhile text … .” (John Rowlands, Astronomy Now, January, 2010)