Compendium of Practical Astronomy: Volume 2: Earth and Solar System

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It is a pleasure to present this work, which has been well received in Gennan-speaking countries through four editions, to the English-speaking reader. We feel that this is a unique publication in that it contains valuable material that cannot easily-if at all-be found elsewhere. We are grateful to the authors for reading through the English version of the text, and for responding promptly (for the most part) to our queries. Several authors have supplied us, on their own initiative or at our suggestion, with revised and updated manuscripts and with supplementary English references. We have striven to achieve a translation of H andbuch flir Sternfreunde which accurately presents the qualitative and quantitative scientific principles con- tained within each chapter while maintaining the flavor of the original Ger- man text. Where appropriate, we have inserted footnotes to clarify material which may have a different meaning and/or application in English-speaking countries from that in Gennany. When the first English edition of this work, Astronomy: A Handbook (translated by the late A. Beer), appeared in 1975, it contained 21 chapters. This new edition is over twice the length and contains 28 authored chap- ters in three volumes. At Springer's request, we have devised a new title, Compendium of Practical Astronomy, to more accurately reflect the broad spectrum of topics and the vast body of infonnation contained within these pages.