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Books About Optical Systems and Telescope Mechanics

Practical Optical System Layout, Warren J. Smith, McGraw Hill 1997.  This is a nice book about basic optical systems which explains important optical systems with overwhelming mathematics.

Telescope Optics Evaluation and Design, Harrie Rutten and Martin van Venrooij, William Bell 1988.  If you want to understand your telescope optics this is the book to help.  It is a very thorough discussion of telescope optics of all kinds.  It is comprehensive, discussing everything from the most common designs to the more rare types.  Good book.

Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes, Harold Richard Suiter, William Bell 1994.  A manual for optical evaluation and adjustment of telescopes.  This is a very thorough discussion of optical aberrations in telescopes.  It describes in detail how to find out that your telescope is a mess.   These tests are complex and the descriptions are just as complex.  Not a necessary book, but one that will help you understand just how complex a simple telescope optical system really is.

Advanced Telescope Making Techniques Vol. 1, Allan Mackintosh, William Bell 1977, 1986.  A rather incoherent collection of articles about the Optics of telescopes.  I found it confusing and not of much value.

Advanced Telescope Making Techniques Vol 2, Allan Mackintosh, William Bell  1977, 1986.  A companion to the first volume.  All about the mechanics of making optics.  Equally confusing I think.

Telescope Control, Mark Trueblood and Russell Merle Genet, Willmann-Bell 1997.  This is a book that is the first I have seen about telescope control.  It gives the reader a lot of information about existing systems and quite a bit of information about systems that have been built in the past few years.  It is very descriptive and rather wordy I think.  It describes several actual systems for control and has some nice discussion about the kinds of problems that a telescope control system faces. In many ways it is a good book but in many ways a disappointment in that it describes basically obsolete systems.  It is not a waste, but I had hoped for more.  It is simply too wordy and lacks hard case substance.

Reflecting Telescope Optics Vols. I and II, R. N. Wilson, Springer Verlag 1996-1999.  These two volumes contain everything you might want to know about reflecting telescopes. There are sections on the history, development, optical theory, optical production,  mechanics, baffling, attachments, active optics and more about reflecting telescopes. This is an incredible set of books which will be of interest to those who are deeply interested in the details of what makes fine reflecting telescopes work.  Everything from the original telescopes of Newton and Herschel to the most modern Cassegrain telescopes and their variations, even including the ESO, are discussed in detail. The book has extensive references. But be warned if you have problems understanding mathematics and optical theory like the Hamilton-Seidel third order theory of aberrations, there will be sections of the book that are not accessible. Even then there are descriptions of modern telescopes, especially the ESO, that are fascinating. An expensive set ($100 each) but well worth the trouble if you do the digging required to reach an understanding of modern reflecting telescopes.

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