Author Topic: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources  (Read 11563 times)


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Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« on: July 03, 2009, 08:01:04 pm »
This should be considered a work in progress.  I have requested that each of the scientists involved with Galaxy Zoo provide two recommendations for this reading list.  My intent is to build a list of suggested reading materials that will appeal to the wide ranging interests of the membership while retaining a general relevancy to astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.  

This listing is not, nor could it be exhaustive.

Please post comments in Discussion of Suggested Reading List.

Subject Topics on this list, in order of their appearance:

Modern Theory for a general audience
Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy
History and Philosophy of Science
General Physics
Amateur Telescope Making
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Popularizations of Physics and Astronomy


'Subtle is the Lord...':  The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, by Abraham Pais, Oxford University Press (1982).
ISBN:  0-19-853907-X

Never at Rest:  A Biography of Isaac Newton, by Richard S. Westfall, Cambridge University Press (1980).
ISBN:  0-521-23143-4

Chandra:  A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar, by Kameshwar C. Wali, The University of Chicago Press (1991).
ISBN:  0-226-87054-5

Niels Bohr:  A Centenary Volume, edited by A. P. French and P. J. Kennedy, Harvard University Press (1985).
ISBN:  0-674-62415-7

Walter Baade: A Life in Astrophysics, by Donald E. Osterbrock, Princeton University Press (2001).
ISBN13: 978-0-691-04936-6

Modern Theory for a general audience:

The Elegant Universe:  superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory, by Brian Greene, W. W. Norton & Company (1999).
ISBN:  0-393-04688-5

The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene, Alfred A. Knopf (2004).
ISBN:  0-375-41288-3

Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, by Lee Smolin, Basic Books (2001).
ISBN:  0-465-07835-4

Black Holes & Time Warps:  Einstein's Outrageous Legacy, by Kip S. Thorne, W. W. Norton & Company (1994).
ISBN:  0-393-03505-0

A Brief History of Time, by Stephen W. Hawking, Bantam Books (1988).
ISBN:  0-553-05340-X

QED:  The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, by Richard P. Feynman, Princeton University Press (1985).

General Relativity from A to B, by Robert Geroch, The University of Chicago Press (1978).

The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design, by Leonard Susskind, Little, Brown & Company (2006).
ISBN-13: 9780316013338

Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy:

Atomic Spectra and Atomic Structure, by Gerhard Herzberg, Dover Publications (1944).
ISBN:  0-486-60115-3

Atomic and Laser Spectroscopy, by Alan Corney, Oxford University Press (1977).
ISBN:  0-19-851148-5

Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure, I. Spectra of Diatomic Molecules, by Gerhard Herzberg, D. Van Nostrand (1950).

Microwave Spectroscopy by C. H. Townes and A. L. Schawlow, McGraw-Hill (1955).
ISBN:  0-486-61798-X

History and Philosophy of Science:

The Ascent of Man, by J. Bronowski, Little, Brown and Company (1973).
ISBN:  0-316-10930-4

The Discoverers:  A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself, by Daniel J. Boorstin, Random House (1983).

The World of Physics:  A Small Library of the Literature of Physics from Antiquity to the Present, by Jefferson Hane Weaver, Simon and Schuster (1987).
     Volume I:  The Aristotelian cosmos and the Newtonian system.
     Volume II:  The Einstein universe and the Bohr atom.
     Volume III:  The Evolutionary cosmos and the limits of science.

Reflections of a Physicist, by Anatole Abragam, Oxford University Press (1986).
ISBN:  0-19-851964-8

An Introduction to Science:  Scientific Thinking and the Scientific Method, by Steven D. Schafersman (1994).

Theory and Reality:  An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, by Peter Godfrey-Smith, The University of Chicago Press (2003).
ISBN:  0-226-30063-3

The Logic of Scientific Discovery (Routledge Classics), by Karl Popper, Routledge (2002).
ISBN:  0-415-27844-9

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second Edition, by Thomas S. Kuhn, The University of Chicago Press (1970).
ISBN:  0-226-45803-2


Gravitation, by Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne, John Archibald Wheeler, W. H. Freeman and Company (1973).
ISBN:  0-7167-0334-3
Advanced treatment.

General Physics:

Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher, by Richard P. Feynman,  Edited by Robert B. Leighton and Matthew Sands, Basic Books (1996).
ISBN-13: 9780201408256

The Feynman Lectures on Physics, by Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands, Addison-Wesley (1963).
     Volume I:  Mainly Mechanics, Radiation, and Heat.
     Volume II:  Mainly Electromagnetism and Matter.
     Volume III:  Quantum Mechanics.

See also:  The Feynman Lectures on Physics


Galactic Astronomy, by James Binney and Michael Merrifield, Princeton University Press (1998).
ISBN13: 978-0-691-02565-0
Advanced treatment.

Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei, Second Edition, by by Donald E. Osterbrock, Gary J. Ferland,  University Science Books (2005).
ISBN-13:  9781891389344
Advanced treatment.

Active Galactic Nuclei:  From the Central Black Hole to the Galactic Environment by Julian H. Krolik, Princeton University Press (1998).
ISBN-13: 9780691011516
Advanced treatment.

Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction, Second Edition, by Linda S. Sparke and John S. Gallagher III, Cambridge University Press (2007).
ISBN-13: 9780521855938

The de Vaucouleurs Atlas of Galaxies by Ronald J. Buta, Harold G. Corwin, and Stephen C. Odewahn, Cambridge University Press (2006).
ISBN-13: 9780521820486


Science Cartoons Plus:  The Cartoons of S. Harris
For those times that you really need a laugh.


Modern Cosmology, Second Edition, by Scott Dodelson, Elsevier Science & Technology Books (2003).
ISBN-13: 9780122191411
Advanced treatment

Introduction to Cosmology, by Barbara Ryden, Benjamin Cummings (2002).
ISBN-13: 9780805389128
Advanced treatment

An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, by Andrew Liddle, #John Wiley & Sons (2003).
ISBN-13: 9780470848357
Advanced treatment

Cosmological Physics by John A. Peacock, Cambridge University Press (1999).
ISBN-13: 9780521422703
Advanced treatment

Principles of Physical Cosmology, by P.J.E. Peebles, Princeton University Press (1993).
ISBN13: 978-0-691-01933-8
Advanced treatment

Your Cosmic Context: Introduction to Modern Cosmology, by Todd Duncan, Craig Tyler, and Todd L. Duncan, Benjamin Cummings (2008).
ISBN-13: 9780132400107

Foundations of Modern Cosmology, by John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, Oxford University Press (2005).
ISBN-13: 9780198530961

The Physics of Microwave Background Anisotropies, by Professor Wayne Hu (Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics), The University of Chicago.

Amateur Telescope Making:

Standard Handbook of Telescope Making, Second Edition, by Neal E. Howard, Harper and Row (1984).
ISBN: 0-06-181394-X

Build Your Own Telescope, Second Edition, by Richard Berry, Willmann-Bell (1994).
ISBN: 0-943396-42-5

Amateur Telescope Making (Vols. 1-3), edited by Albert G. Ingalls, Willmann-Bell Inc. (1996).
ISBN:  0-943396-48-4 (V1), 0-943396-49-2 (V2), 0-943396-50-6 (V3)

Radio Astronomy Projects, Third Edition by William Lonc, Radio Sky Publishing (2003).

Astronomy and Astrophysics

The New Cosmos: An Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics, Fifth Edition by Albrecht Unsöld and Bodo Baschek,  translated by  W.D. Brewer, Springer-Verlag (2005).
ISBN-13: 9783540678779

Frontiers of Astrophysics, edited by Eugene H. Avrett, Harvard University Press (1976).
ISBN-13: 9780674326590

Atoms, Stars, and Nebulae, Third Edition, by Lawrence H. Aller, Cambridge University Press (1991).
ISBN-13: 9780521310406

Interstellar Chemistry, by W. W. Duley and D. A. Williams, Academic Press (1984).
ISBN:  0-12-223360-3

Molecules in the Galactic Environment, edited by Mark A. Gordon and Lewis E. Snyder, Wiley-Interscience (1973).
ISBN:  0-471-31608-3

Searching Between the Stars (Silliman Milestones in Science), by Lyman Spitzer, Jr.,  Yale University Press (1982).
ISBN-13: 978-0300027099

Popularizations of Physics and Astronomy

Bang!:  The Complete History of the Universe, by Brian May, Patrick Moore, and Chris Lintott,  Johns Hopkins University Press (2008).
ISBN13:  9780801889851

Magic Furnace: The Search for the Origins of Atoms, by Marcus Chown, Oxford University Press (2001).
ISBN13:  9780195143058

The Time and Space of Uncle Albert, by Russell Stannard, Faber and Faber (2005).
ISBN 0571226159

Black Holes and Uncle Albert, by Russell Stannard, Faber and Faber (2005).
ISBN 0571226140

Uncle Albert and the Quantum Quest, by Russell Stannard, Faber and Faber (2005).
ISBN 0571226809

The New World of Mr. Tompkins: George Gamow's Classic Mr. Tompkins in Paperback, by George Gamow and Russell Stannard , Cambridge University Press (2001).
ISBN 0521639921


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Re: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 04:44:01 pm »
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics

Astronomical Spectroscopy Authors: Philip Massey
arXiv:1010.5270v1 [astro-ph.IM] 25 Oct 2010

Title: Astronomical Spectroscopy
Authors: Philip Massey, Margaret M. Hanson
Comments: An abridged version of a chapter to appear in Planets, Stars and Stellar Systems, to be published in 2011 by Springer
Spectroscopy is one of the most important tools that an astronomer has for studying the universe. This chapter begins by discussing the basics, including the different types of optical spectrographs, with extension to the ultraviolet and the near-infrared. Emphasis is given to the fundamentals of how spectrographs are used, and the trade-offs involved in designing an observational experiment. It then covers observing and reduction techniques, noting that some of the standard practices of flat-fielding often actually degrade the quality of the data rather than improve it. Although the focus is on point sources, spatially resolved spectroscopy of extended sources is also briefly discussed. Discussion of differential extinction, the impact of crowding, multi-object techniques, optimal extractions, flat-fielding considerations, and determining radial velocities and velocity dispersions provide the spectroscopist with the fundamentals needed to obtain the best data. Finally the chapter combines the previous material by providing some examples of real-life observing experiences with several typical instruments.


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Re: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 04:31:03 am »
On this forums clearly and able readers even member to know the importnce of celestial bodies ,the galaxy!


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Re: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 06:46:14 pm »
On line book
Norton, J., 2008, Einstein for Everyone
in particular chapter Black Holes and next  ;D

graham d

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Re: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 09:07:40 am »
The Role of the Crucial Experiment by Byron Jennings

A more striking example was the discovery of the three-degree kelvin cosmic microwave background. Before then, there were two models, both with strong support: the steady-state model and the big bang model. While the microwave background was a big boost for the big bang model, the solid state model did not give up without a struggle. There were various attempts to describe the microwave background in the solid state model but they were too little too late. Like the Michelson–Morley experiment, the discovery of the microwave background started a chain reaction that led to the acceptance of one model and the rejection of another.
Correction- the solid state model is infact the steady state model.

From where cometh the CMB radiation? Those tiny with mass neutrinos could play a crucial and  so important a role never before imagined


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Re: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2013, 08:25:46 am »
Secular evolution of galaxies
XXIII Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics

arXiv:1304.3529v1 [astro-ph.CO] 12 Apr 2013
Galaxy morphology
by Ronald J. Buta (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama)

Quote from: Ronald J. Buta
Galaxy morphology has many structures that are suggestive of various processes or stages of secular evolution. Internal perturbations such as bars can drive secular evolution through gravity torques that move gas into the central regions and build up a flattened, disk-like central bulge, or which may convert an open spiral pseudoring into a more closed ring. Interaction between individual components of a galaxy, such as between a bar and a dark halo, a bar and a central mass concentration, or between a perturbation and the basic state of a stellar disk, can also drive secular transformations. In this series of lectures, I review many aspects of galaxy morphology with a view to delineating some of the possible evolutionary pathways between different galaxy types.


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Re: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2014, 05:57:03 pm »
Atomic Astrophysics and Spectroscopy, by Anil K. Pradhan and Sultana N. Nahar, Cambridge University Press (2011).
ISBN 978-0-521-82536-8
Advanced treatment


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Re: Suggested Astronomy Reading List & Resources
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2014, 02:09:37 pm »
Statistics, Data Mining, and Machine Learning in Astronomy, by Ivezic, Connolly, VanderPlas and Gray (2014, Princeton Univ. Press, ISBN 978-0-691-15168-7).

It's available as an e-book from Amazon (and maybe other sources too).

JohnF introduced GZ zooites to it, here in this forum: Review of "Statistics, Data Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy":

Just read a review of "Statistics, Data Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy" (In "Journal of the British Astronomical Association", April 2014).  In it, the reviewer believes that data mining (of internet data) is a "Step up, from the Galaxy Zoo type of project".  Another quote - "Hanny's Voorwerp is a prime example of a truly significant amateur discovery made in the Galaxy Zoo project".

The review mentions SDSS and also a big software project - AstroML (, on which the book is based.  The different software which the book mentions, is free to download.

And there's a thread here in the GZ which some zooites may be interested in: Shared learning: Statistics, Data Mining, and Machine Learning in Astronomy.