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InStAR Books

Astronomy Research Seminar Textbook
Small Telescope and Astronomical Research (STAR) Handbook

Published by the Institute for Student Astronomical Research (InStAR), 2018. 224 page book containing 15 chapters.

Small telescope astronomical research has grown in the last few decades, due in large part to the development of low cost, yet high quality, telescopes and instruments, as well as their detectors and remote access over the Internet. Today, many professional, amateur, undergraduate and high school student astronomers are conducting their research in partnerships referred to as "Communities of Practice."

This handbook describes how these communities are formed and how everyone can contribute to science through published research. Although this book focuses on student-led small telescope research, the same principles apply to professional- and amateur-led research. Two specific examples, double star astrometry and exoplanet transit photometry, are used to illustrate how small telescope science research projects can be completed and submitted for publication within a modest timeframe.

This book is the primary resource that is used in the Astronomy Research Seminar. The book is available in hardcover, softcover, and as an e-book. Click on the appropriate link below to purchase the textbook of choice. If you have any questions or difficulties, please write to InStAR at:

Hardcover • $49.95

Softcover • $44.95

This link takes the purchaser to an email where they can indicate they would like to purchase the eBook.

About the Editors

Russell M. Genet is the founder of the Astronomy Research Seminars. He is a Research Scholar in Residence at California Polytechnic University, an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, CA, and an Editor of the Journal of Double Star Observations.

Jolyon Johnson is a physics teacher at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, Washington and also an Editor of the Journal of Double Star Observations. He was also a participant and long-time assistant instructor in the original Astronomy Research Seminars.

Robert Buchheim is the President of the Society for Astronomical Sciences (SAS).

Richard Harshaw is a professional developer of self-paced learning units and has studied double stars for decades.

Rachel Freed is a consultant for science education and educational technology, Vice President of InStAR and a doctoral student at Edith Cowen University.

STAR Handbook Chapters

I. Team-Oriented Research

    1. Team Research within Communities of Practice
    2. Planning Projects
    3. Managing Projects
    4. Writing and Editing Papers
    5. Giving Talks
    6. Presenting Posters

II. Astronomical Research

    7. Small Telescope Research
    8. Operator-Attended vs. Robotic Telescopes
    9. Precision and Accuracy
  10. Astronomical Cameras
  11. Double Star Astrometry
  12. Exoplanet Transit Photometry

III.   Astronomical Research Seminar

  13. Seminar Historical Introduction
  14. Seminar Evolution and Future Possibilities
  15. Cuesta College Seminar Example

IV. Selected Published Papers

  16. Visual Eyepiece Astrometry
  17. CCD Camera Astrometry
  18. Speckle Interferometry


   A. Speckle Tool Box
   B. Displaying Orbital Plots
   C. Publication Formatting Guide

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