Using SI Units in Astronomy

Using SI Units in Astronomy

by Richard Dodd


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A multitude of measurement units exist within astronomy, some of which are unique to the subject, causing discrepancies that are particularly apparent when astronomers collaborate with researchers from other disciplines in science and engineering. The International System of Units (SI) is based on seven fundamental units from which other units may be derived, but many astronomers are reluctant to drop their old and familiar systems. This handbook demonstrates the ease with which transformations from old units to SI units may be made. Using worked examples, the author argues that astronomers would benefit greatly if the reporting of astronomical research and the sharing of data were standardized to SI units. Each chapter reviews a different SI base unit, clarifying the connection between these units and those currently favoured by astronomers. This is an essential reference for all researchers in astronomy and astrophysics, and will also appeal to advanced students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521769174
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2011
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Richard Dodd has spent much of his astronomical career in New Zealand, including serving as Director of Carter Observatory, Wellington, and as an honorary lecturer in physics at Victoria University of Wellington. Dr Dodd is past president of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. An introduction to SI units; 3. Dimensional analysis; 4. Unit of angular measure (radian); 5. Unit of time (second); 6. Unit of length (metre); 7. Unit of mass (kilogram); 8. Unit of luminous intensity (candela); 9. Unit of thermodynamic temperature (kelvin); 10. Unit of electric current (ampere); 11. Unit of amount of substance (mole); 12. Astronomical taxonomy; Index.

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