Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes - A Manual for Optical Evalution and Adjustment
Many observers harbor misgivings about their telescope. The manufacturer may have guaranteed accuracy to "one-quarter wavelength" or as "diffraction-limited" but most telescope users have, at best, only a hazy idea of how to personally verifying such claims. Sure, there are ways to check the accuracy of individual components but for many they are hard to understand or require costly reference optics and other test equipment. Besides, telescope users are interested in the performance of the entire optical train, not just the main optical element.
What is really needed is a test that can be used at the observing site, so that all the problems that impact on a telescope's performance can be diagnosed. Isn't there a simpler and more complete way than the complicated shop tests? Yes, the star test is such a method. It uses the entire working telescope. It is not a poor substitute or a work-around that uses bits and pieces of the optical system. It is the oldest and most sensitive of the optical tests; an inspection of the diffraction image itself.
Star-test results apply to the complete imaging performance of the telescope. The star test is lightning-fast and requires only a good high-power eyepiece. It tests the telescope for precisely what it was meant to do. Bad or poorly-aligned instruments fail the star test unambiguously. The star test often allows you to correct the optical difficulty immediately in the field, when you might be frantic to have your telescope perform well to observe a once in a lifetime event.
While the star test has been around for centuries learning it has often been hampered by messy mathematics and its visual nature. Most people who use it have learned it at the elbow of a patient Master. In this book, Dick Suiter becomes your Master. He carefully shields you from difficult diffraction theory and uses advanced computer generated graphics to show you the appearance of each aberration. Again and again, you will look at Dick's graphics and say "I've seen that before. So that's what it was!" The star test is a powerful but inexpensive way of obtaining better resolution and contrast. With this book most observers will find that they don't need a new telescope because they now can test, diagnose and fix the one they have. Using Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes as a guide, your telescope will perform to the best of it's abilities and perhaps it will show images better than you would have believed possible.
Reviews of "Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes
"Tonight's the night. That $800 telescope you've been waiting for has finally arrived. After excitedly setting it up, you center Jupiter in the eyepiece. Excitement builds. You focus and focus again, switch eyepieces, focus again. The view is horrendous! What's causing it? Is it just unstable atmospheric conditions or are the telescope's optics out of alignment? Is it heat rising off the asphalt parking lot you're observing on or is the telescope too warm? Or, horror of horrors, could it be that your new mirror is not up to specifications? And what kind of flaw is it? Rough surface? Spherical aberration? Astigmatism? Far too many of us have experienced this disturbing scenario. But now, thanks to Star Testing, you can answer these questions easily and probably have the telescope operating in no time. And if there is an optical problem, you will be able to communicate it clearly to the dealer and get prompt action. Chapter One and Two explain basic optics in a fashion that any motivated beginner can follow. Computer-generated illustrations of defocused star images are so realistic that you can learn a great deal by just looking at the pictures . . . Star Testing is bound to have a big impact on our hobby. Harold Suiter wants to help buyers assess optical quality so that it plays a larger role in purchasing decisions. This, he feels, will give manufacturers added incentive to produce superior products. In my opinion Suiter will succeed,if enough of us buy this book and read it. Its cost is a small price to pay for becoming an informed consumer." --Astronomy Magazine
"I'm going to tell you a little-known fact," begins Harold Richard Suiter in his new book . . . "Telescopes are easy to test." It's true. The hard part for most amateurs has been finding out exactly how to do it . . . Now, at last, Suiter has analyzed the star test in book-length thoroughness. He presents a bounty of information and instruction in a clear, practical manner never before available . . . The book displays with perfect clarity all the star test comparison images you'll ever need, illustrating all kinds of telescope aberrations in their pure forms . . . Those are just highlights of this long overdue book. It quantifies almost all the effects it discusses, presents modulation-transfer functions indicating how they affect different types of observing, delves into diffraction theory, and yet is full of advice and experience from real-world amateurdom." --Sky & Telescope magazine
"It is very rare to find a book that has such an immediate appeal to the telescope maker, observational astronomer, and theoretical physicist. A first casual inspection of the book indicates that it should reside on the applied optics book shelf of a Physics Department library. Nothing could be further from the truth. Suiter, who is an experimental physicist, has been very successful in using everyday analogies to explain the fundamentals of diffraction optics. There is a great deal of good practical information for those readers prepared to persevere. For those with a more than casual approach to their telescopes, this book will become in the widest sense, a benchmark in astronomical telescope testing literature. Most importantly, it will give some weight to increasing the quality assurance standards of commercial telescopes, from the viewpoint of a better informed user." --Southern Stars
- Additional Information
SKU 0943396903 Manufacturer Bookstore Author Harold Richard Suiter Publisher Willmann-Bell Cover Type Hard Cover Number of Pages 413 ISBN Number 9780943396903
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