Mr. Suiter is a professional physicist whose avocation is star-gazing with modest amateur astronomical telescopes. His book bridges the gap between amateur and professional on the subject of telescope optics and performance.
This book is NOT for the beginner! It is dense, highly technical, very educational, and really is better suited to advanced amateur with a strong technical affinity. Though it is printed upon high quality paper with some very good computer generated graphics, it remains relatively slim, no more than an inch thick.
The book covers all the theory and practice needed to help align and collimate most amateur telescopes to the peak of their optical potential. He begins with the wave theory of light, and ends with a discourse on interpreting the multi-circular images one often sees of a star in and out of focus.
He creates a wonderful "model" of seeing as a stack of filters between your eye, and the objects you look at. Every sort of optical degradation imaginable is represented by one filter or another - air turbulence, optical misalignment, diffraction, optical imperfections, etc. Beyond this, he manages to sum up the effects of these filters in one all encompassing concept, call the Modulation Transfer Function. Essentially this conveys a sense of how well the telescope will perform varying feats of resolution and contrast. In some cases, a "defective" wavefront may provide superior resolution than is otherwise theoretically possible, though only at the expense of other image properties such as contrast.
Beginners, save your money. Advancing amateurs, this book is for you. This book requires hours of thoughtful study. An excellent tome for the Library, or the continuing ed program at the University of Porcelain.