Book Review:Hirshfeld's "Astronomy Activity and Laboratory Manual"

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mikemarotta
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Book Review:Hirshfeld's "Astronomy Activity and Laboratory Manual"

Post by mikemarotta »

You can find Astronomy Activity and Laboratory Manual by Alan W. Hirshfeld (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury MA 01776, First Edition. 2009, Second Edition 2018) for sale new and used all over the Internet. Even if you are completely math-phobic, you can still get a lot out this by at least reading through the exercises to appreciate how the Greeks, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and the astronomers of the 19th and 20th centuries came to their conclusions. If all of the arithmetic and algebra is “digital” then “Activity 15: Picturing the Universe—How Photography Revolutionized Astronomy” is “analog.”

This guide to hands-on learning instilled me with a sense of confidence about my ability to perform the basic mathematics of astronomy. The exercises start with measuring shadows to track the sun as evidenced by stone age monuments. Before the last one, you estimate the expansion rate of the universe according to Hubble’s Law. The learning does not end there. Prof. Hirshberg is a good instructor, and the assignments come full circle. Having started with the Sun and Moon, the book ends by assigning the same formulas to estimate the relative masses of Sirius and its dwarf companion.
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Michael E. Marotta
Explore Scientific 102 mm Refractor
National Geographic 70 mm Refractor
Ploessl oculars 40mm to 6mm 2X Barlow
mike49mercury@gmail.com
RMSteele
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Re: Book Review:Hirshfeld's "Astronomy Activity and Laboratory Manual"

Post by RMSteele »

Michael, this author also wrote an interesting book on the history of astronomy in the search for stellar distances: it’s called “Parallax”. I enjoyed it. Bob
mikemarotta
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:04 pm
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
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Re: Book Review:Hirshfeld's "Astronomy Activity and Laboratory Manual"

Post by mikemarotta »

Yes, Bob, I have read Parallax, and I wrote a review of it that I posted to other forums. It is also on my blog. I just did not find a good place here to post it.
Michael E. Marotta
Explore Scientific 102 mm Refractor
National Geographic 70 mm Refractor
Ploessl oculars 40mm to 6mm 2X Barlow
mike49mercury@gmail.com
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