Reading List

General physics and astronomy discussions not directly related to Celestia
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chris
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Reading List

Post #1by chris » 01.07.2003, 07:28

In case anyone's interested . . . Here's a list of books that I've found useful or inspirational in the development of Celestia:

Solar System Dynamics C. D. Murray and S. F. Dermott, 1999, Cambridge University Press
A graduate level text on planetary dynamics and celestial mechanics; provides numerical methods for understanding orbital resonances, tidal evolution, ring system dynamics, and a lot more. Dense and math-heavy, not for the casual reader.

Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac ed. P. Kenneth Seidelmann, 1992, University Science Press
A companion to the USNO's annual Astronomical Almanac, but more importantly, a gold mine of information on time and coordinate systems and ephemerides.

Fundamental Ephemeris Computations Paul J. Heafner, 1998, Willmann-Bell
This text explains how to use JPL's DE405 ephemerides . . . At some point, Celestia will be able to use these. There's also a chapter devoted to the Laguerre-Conway method for solving Kepler's Equation.

Astronomical Algorithms (2nd edition) Jean Meeus, 1998, Willmann-Bell
Jean Meeus is the king of popular computational astronomy. This book contains explanations and programs (in BASIC) for calculating all manner of useful astronomical calculations, from Julian calendar computations to the positions of the Galilean satellites.

Mathematical Astronomy Morsels Jean Meeus, Wllmann-Bell
More Mathematical Astronomy Morsels Jean Meeus, 2002, Wllmann-Bell
Two more books by Meeus, focusing on celestial phenomena such as planetary alignments and occultations.

Astrophysical Data: Planets and Stars Kenneth R. Lang, 1991, Springer-Verlag
A compendium of catalogs and data. Need a list of millisecond pulsars in globular clusters? Then this is your book. (Thanks to Grant for this one . . .)

I'll be adding more books to this topic . . . Feel free to add your own favorites.

--Chris

Topic author
chris
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Post #2by chris » 01.07.2003, 07:58

Here are a few more . . . Whereas the books above were textbooks or compendia, the following are all very readable popularizations:

Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe Peter Douglas Ward and Donald Brownlee, 2000, Copernicus Books
If the science of astrobiology can have a classic yet, I think that this would be it. Ward and Brownlee's thesis is that while simple unicellular life may be abundant in the universe, more complex life requires requires conditions that are extremely uncommon. It's a very fascinating and well-written book, and I also happen to think that most of the authors' speculation will prove to be correct.

Planet Quest: The Epic Discovery of Alien Solar Systems Ken Croswell, 1998, Harvest Books
This book is a very accessible summary of the discovery of planets beyond our solar system, with a lot space devoted to accounts from the planet hunters. There are several similar books out there; this is the first one I read, and I still think it's the best. Expect some missing information however as it was published in 1998.

Lifting Titan's Veil: Exploring the Giant Moon of Saturn Raph Lorenz and Jacqueline Mitton, 2002, Cambridge University Press
As the title suggests this is an entire book on Titan. Lorenz worked on the Cassini spacecraft, which in 2004 will lift Titan's veil and make Lifting Titan's Veil a lot less interesting. The historical account of the discovery and exploration of Titan will still be relevant, but much of the book is devoted to speculation that will be supplanted by real data.

--Chris


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