Optical astronomy

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  • This book is dedicated to the memory of Gisèle Mersch whose life ended prematurely in June 2002. Back in the 1970s, when few people were using them, Gisèle introduced me to the arcane secrets of then advanced multivariate statistical methodologies. I was already involved in more classical statistical studies undertaken at Paris Observatory with Jean Jung: developing and applying maximumlikelihood algorithms to stellar photometric and kinematic data in order to derive absolute luminosities, distances and velocities in the solar neighborhood....

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  • For over four decades there has been continuous progress in adaptive optics technology, theory, and systems development. Recently there also has been an explosion of applications of adaptive optics throughout the fields of communications and medicine in addition to its original uses in astronomy and beam propagation. This volume is a compilation of research and tutorials from a variety of international authors with expertise in theory, engineering, and technology.

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  • Traditionally astrophysics has concerned itself with minimum time-scales measured in hours rather than seconds. This was understandable as the available recording media were slow; e.g. chart recorders and photographic plates. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s wavebands away from the optical were developed; from ground based radio studies to space and balloon borne high energy work. In contrast to optical wavelengths instrumentation in these (high and low energy) regimes was capable of time resolutions of less than a second....

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  • Astronomy is a difficult science and it is a challenge to understand even the stars that compose the brightest system on the night sky: Sirius (α Canis Majoris=α CMa). This is one of the nearest stars and the brightest one as seen from Earth, with the exception of our Sun. At present, perhaps unfortunately, stellar astronomy and in particular the study of the very bright stars are not part of the mainstream astronomy research. The professional attention is now focused on the cutting-edge of cosmology, the early Universe, extremely distant galaxies, the “origins” theme, etc.

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  • Lasers and electro-optics is a field of research leading to constant breakthroughs. Indeed, tremendous advances have occurred in optical components and systems since the invention of laser in the late 50s, with applications in almost every imaginable field of science including control, astronomy, medicine, communications, measurements, etc.

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