Cover image for Astronomer's computer companion
Astronomer's computer companion
Foust, Jeff.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : No Starch Press ; Berkeley, Calif. : Publishers Group West [distributor], [2000]

Physical Description:
474 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm + 1 computer optical disk (4 3/4 in.)
General Note:
Includes index.
A guided tour -- The earth from space -- The moon -- Planets and moons -- Asteroids and comets -- The sun -- Other stars -- Supergiants and supernovae : the deaths of stars -- Neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes -- Galaxies -- Nebulae and clusters -- Quasars and other oddities -- Cosmology : beginnings and endings -- Explorations on your own : offline -- Explorations on your own : online -- Remote astronomy over the Internet -- Computers in amateur astronomy -- Appendix A. Software on the CD-ROM -- Appendix B. Images on the CD-ROM -- Appendix C. Animations on the CD-ROM -- Appendix D. Sources.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB51.3.E43 F68 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Astronomer's Computer Companion , written by a professional and an avid amateur astronomer, is a complete introduction to contemporary astronomy and a guide to the best software, web sites, and other computer resources for astronomers. Whether you have only a passing interest in astronomy or you spend every evening on a mountain top, you'll find something exciting in The Astronomer's Computer Companion .

You'll learn:

What software to use to track the movement of planets, asteroids, satellites, and other celestial bodies-even how to keep a log of your sightings, generate star charts, calculate exposures for astronomical photographs, and more How to use the Internet to access high-powered remote telescopes for personal research projects Where on the Internet to find up-to-the-minute astronomy news or view the latest images How to use the Internet to share discoveries with astronomers around the world through newsgroups and chat rooms Where on the Internet to find answers to your astronomy questions quickly

About the CD-ROM:

The Astronomer's Computer Companion CD-ROM includes hundreds of megabytes of software (over 100 freeware, shareware, and demo programs)-saving you hours and hours of downloading time and bringing everything together in one place. In addition, the authors include dozens of fascinating astronomical images and animations, as well as a searchable electronic version of the book (in Adobe's PDF format) that you can read as you click the hyperlinks to browse the Web sites referenced throughout the book.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Foust, who holds a Ph.D. in planetary sciences and is editor of SpaceViews (www., and amateur astronomer LaFon cover all the basics, reviewing many online resources, web sites, and software for amateur astronomers. The CD-ROM contains animations, astronomical images, and shareware applications. This will appeal to readers from junior high up to senior citizens. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Within the last few years the Internet has become a Mecca of information for astronomy enthusiasts. One of the problems, however, is that there is so much that it is difficult to find one's way around. Planetary scientist Foust and writer LaFon offer an excellent guide, a gold mine of resources, covering everything from the planets and stars to cosmology. This reviewer liked particularly the material on neutron stars and black holes. Internet addresses are given on every page; overall, there are hundreds. For the uninitiated there are also brief but accurate descriptions of all astronomical phenomena. The accompanying CD-ROM offers astronomical software, images and animations, and a searchable version of the entire book. The latter part of the book contains numerous resources that would be helpful to all amateurs. All in all, an excellent introduction to astronomy, which one could easily spend hours previewing. It covers so much material it would also be useful to those already familiar with the basics. Overall, the best book on science and the Internet that this reviewer has seen. Strongly recommended. General readers; undergraduate and graduate students. B. R. Parker; formerly, Idaho State University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 A Guided Tour
A Quick Tourp. 3
Chapter 2 The Earth from Space
What Does the Weather Look Like?p. 11
Sources for Satellite Imagesp. 11
Tell Me about the Weatherp. 12
Satellites That Monitor the Ozone Layerp. 13
Satellite Pictures of Land and Seap. 14
LANDSAT and SPOT Images Can Be Very Priceyp. 14
Some Sources for Free Imagesp. 15
Pictures of the Earth's Oceansp. 18
And Beneath the Surfacep. 19
Getting the Big Picture--the Earth in Spacep. 19
Software That Simulates Earth Viewsp. 21
Chapter 3 The Moon
Learning about the Moonp. 25
Images of the Moonp. 30
Observing the Moon and Its Effectsp. 32
Chapter 4 Planets and Moons
Basic Resourcesp. 41
The Inner Planets: Mercury and Venusp. 44
Marsp. 47
Jupiter and Saturnp. 53
The Outer Planets: Uranus, Neptune, and Plutop. 57
Chapter 5 Asteroids and Comets
Asteroids and Meteorsp. 62
Cometsp. 72
Halley, Hyakutake, and Hale-Boppp. 77
Chapter 6 The Sun
The Basics of the Sunp. 84
Solar Researchp. 88
Sunspots and Flaresp. 91
Auroraep. 94
Solar Eclipsesp. 96
Chapter 7 Other Stars
Stellar Basicsp. 102
Double and Variable Starsp. 106
Finding Stars and Constellationsp. 108
Other Suns, Other Planetsp. 113
Chapter 8 Supergiants and Supernovae: The Deaths of Stars
Stellar Evolutionp. 121
The Deaths of Normal Starsp. 122
The Death of Giant Stars: Supernovaep. 124
Chapter 9 Neutron Stars, Pulsars, and Black Holes
Neutron Starsp. 134
Pulsarsp. 138
Black Holesp. 142
Chapter 10 Galaxies
The Milky Wayp. 152
Other Galaxiesp. 156
Observing Galaxiesp. 163
Chapter 11 Nebulae and Clusters
Historyp. 169
Nebulaep. 170
Clustersp. 175
Observing Deep Sky Objectsp. 178
Chapter 12 Quasars and Other Oddities
Colliding Galaxiesp. 183
Active Galaxiesp. 185
Quasarsp. 188
Chapter 13 Cosmology: Beginnings and Endings
The Big Bangp. 196
Evidence for the Big Bangp. 201
Alternative Theoriesp. 205
The Fate of the Universep. 206
Chapter 14 Explorations on Your Own: Offline
Planetarium Softwarep. 213
Tours of Some Planetarium Packagesp. 213
Advanced Observing Programsp. 218
Other Planetarium Software Packagesp. 222
Satellite Tracking Softwarep. 225
Weather and Time Softwarep. 228
Astronomical Image Processing Softwarep. 232
Educational and Other Softwarep. 235
Tours of Some Educational and Other Software Packagesp. 235
Other Educational and Astronomy Softwarep. 240
Chapter 15 Explorations on Your Own: Online
Online Servicesp. 246
Usenet Newsgroupsp. 251
Mailing Listsp. 254
Discussions and Chatsp. 256
Finding It on the Webp. 257
Chapter 16 Remote Astronomy over the Internet
Publicly Accessible Automated Telescopesp. 261
Bradford Robotic Telescopep. 261
University of Iowa Robotic Telescopep. 263
Remote Access Astronomy Projectp. 264
Eyes on the Skies Solar Telescopep. 264
Nassau Station Robotic Telescopep. 265
Older Automated Telescopesp. 267
Micro Observatoryp. 267
Telescopes in Educationp. 269
Hands-On Universep. 269
Other Telescopesp. 270
Chapter 17 Computers and Amateur Astronomy
Computer-Controlled Telescopesp. 275
CCD Camerasp. 280
Scientific Resources for Amateursp. 287
Solar, Lunar, and Planetary Observationsp. 287
Asteroids and Cometsp. 288
Occultationsp. 288
Variable Stars and Supernovaep. 289
Appendix A Software on the CD-ROM
Installation Notesp. 295
What If I Have Trouble?p. 297
PC Softwarep. 297
Atmospheric Conditions Programsp. 297
Clocksp. 299
Flight Simulatorsp. 302
Galaxy Programsp. 303
Utility Programsp. 305
Gravity Programsp. 306
Image Analysis Programsp. 310
Multipurpose Programsp. 311
Movie Makersp. 313
Observational Programsp. 313
Photography Toolsp. 332
Planetarium Programsp. 332
Satellite Programsp. 340
Screen Saversp. 348
Solar System Programsp. 350
Star Programsp. 363
Viewersp. 366
Macintosh Softwarep. 368
Galaxy Programsp. 368
Gravity Programsp. 369
Multipurpose Programsp. 370
Utility Programsp. 371
Observational Programsp. 372
Plantarium Programsp. 374
Satellite Programsp. 376
Solar Systemsp. 377
Star Programsp. 380
Viewersp. 381
Appendix B Images on the CD-ROMp. 383
Appendix C Animations on the CD-ROMp. 427
Asteroidsp. 429
Eclipsesp. 429
Jupiterp. 430
Marsp. 431
Moonp. 431
Neptunep. 431
Pathfinderp. 432
Plutop. 432
Saturnp. 432
Shoemaker-Levy 9p. 433
Sunp. 434
Uranusp. 434
Venusp. 434
Appendix D Sources
Telescopes and Accessoriesp. 437
Booksp. 438
Magazinesp. 439
CCDsp. 439
Softwarep. 439
Miscellaneousp. 442
Astronomy Clubs, Planetariums, Science Museums, and Observatoriesp. 443
UseNet News Groupsp. 444
Indexp. 445
Viewing the Electronic Bookp. 473