Ever since Galileo glimpsed the moons of Jupiter through his tiny telescope, astronomers have striven to understand how the universe is constructed and how it evolves. Every increase in the size and power of telescopes has led to new discoveries. Within the last century, telescopes have enabled us to learn about pulsars, quasars, gamma-ray bursters, black holes, and the acceleration of the universe's expansion. An Acre of Glass describes how recent innovations in telescope technology have led to the construction of giant, ground-based observatories and to an explosive development of astronomy. Today, telescopes with mirrors 30, 50, and even 100 meters in diameter are being built. Optical interferometers that cover an acre of ground are observing every night. J. B. Zirker shows us how telescopes past, present, and future are built and describes the exciting science they reveal-from planets beyond our solar system to supermassive black holes at the core of distant galaxies. For every striking image revealed through these enormous telescopes, technicians and scientists must overcome unique and incredible challenges.
How many pack animals does it take to get a telescope to the top of a mountain? How do you make the shape of a 6-foot-wide mirror accurate to within a 1,000th the thickness of a human hair? In clear and accessible language, Zirker answers these questions and more, providing fascinating technical detail about how a telescope is made and what the next generation can hope to see.
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 658 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm
Provides an accessible yet detailed story of how telescopes are made, the science behind their function, and their promise for future astronomical discoveries. Science News 2005 Zirker has succeeded in bringing together the past, present and future in this compact and readable book. Through the telescopes, he tells of the people, the science, the technology, the problems, and the future. If you have only one book on the history of astronomy, this should be it. -- Charles J. Vukotich, Jr. Astrophile 2005 An excellent guide to how modern astronomy has been pushed by telescope advancement. -- James A. Cox Midwest Book Review 2006 Fascinating technical details about how a telescope is made and what the next generation can hope to see. Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin 2005 The book provides an excellent, easy-to-read overview of this and other 20th century telescopes and explains how the major observatories have developed around the world. -- Mark Williamson International Space Review 2006 The first paragraph describing a sunset on Mauna Kea is written more in the style of an introduction to a novel than the start of a textbook on astronomical telescopes... I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to anyone with an interest in how telescopes are built. Journal of the British Astronomical Association 2006 A handsome and well-presented book... There is no doubt that An Acre of Glass deserves a place on the shelves of all astronomical libraries. -- Fred Watson Observatory Magazine 2006 A wonderfully accessible introduction to the field. -- Deborah Jean Warner Technology and Culture 2007