About this book
The main purpose of this book is to serve as a university textbook for a first course in astronomy. However, we believe that the audience will also include many serious ama teurs, who often find the popular texts too trivial. The lack of a good handbook for am ateurs has become a problem lately, as more and more people are buying personal com puters and need exact, but comprehensible, mathematical formalism for their programs. The reader of this book is assumed to have only a standard high-school knowledge of mathematics and physics (as they are taught in Finland); everything more advanced is usually derived step by step from simple basic principles. The mathematical background needed includes plane trigonometry, basic differential and integral calculus, and (only in the chapter dealing with celestial mechanics) some vector calculus. Some mathematical concepts the reader may not be familiar with are briefly explained in the appendices or can be understood by studying the numerous exercises and examples. However, most of the book can be read with very little knowledge of mathematics, and even if the reader skips the mathematically more involved sections, (s)he should get a good overview of the field of astronomy. This book has evolved in the course of many years and through the work of several authors and editors. The first version consisted of lecture notes by one of the editors (Oja).
Astronomical Observation Celestial mechanics astronomy astrophysics instruments positional astronomy quasar