Editors: Rainer Beck, Heinz Hilbrecht, Klaus Reinsch and Peter Völker
Hardcover: 546 pages
This book is not so much about the Sun, but about the opportunities for amateur astronomers to observe the Sun. Compared with other areas of astronomy solar observing has a number of advantages:
• Observation can be carried out during the day. You do not have to stay up all night and arrive at work the next day exhausted!
•There is an abundance of light. Unlike "Deep Sky" astronomy you actually have to discard much of the light reaching your telescope.
• You can set up your observatory in your own backyard - even in the city -there is no need to escape light pollution at remote locations.
• Observations can be made practically every clear day and some simple programs like sunspot counts can be done in just a few minutes.
• You do not need a monster telescope, even a small telescope will show an amazing amount of detail.
• The view is constantly changing, the Sun's appearance has never been, nor will it ever be exactly the same as today.
This book was conceived and written by a group of German amateur observers. Each section was the responsibility of the amateur who had made that aspect of solar astronomy his specialty. The emphasis was on the practical and covers the kind of solar astronomy within the reach of most amateurs. Soon after publication it was declared by many reviewers as the "standard work" and much correspondence reached the authors from abroad requesting an English translation. In terms of content the basic information in the original German edition will be found here. Where necessary, updating has taken place and errors have been corrected. Numerous passages were revised taking into account the larger, inter-national circle of readers, many pictures have been added and references to German-language literature have been changed, where possible, to appropriate English-language works. The book is divided into four major parts. Part A describes instruments used in solar astronomy, offers help in making decisions with regard to buying, and provides instructions for those who might build their own instrument. Part B deals with the many different amateur observation possibilities. Part C gives encouragement and help in planning and carrying out expeditions to observe solar eclipses and gives details on observation. Part D is an extensive bibliography especially tailored for the amateur solar astronomer. Each chapter of the book is self-contained in terms of contents and the reader can turn to those subjects which interest him or her the most. Numerous cross-references are embedded within the text to point the reader to related sections.