The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System / Edition 2

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The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System provides a comprehensive and up-to-date description of the planets and their moons. Writing at an introductory level appropriate for high school and undergraduate students. Professor Lang leads the reader on a fascinating journey of exploration to the worlds beyond our home planet Earth. The book begins with a short introduction to the history of planetary observation and discovery. The major planets and their moons are then introduced by presenting common properties, processes, and themes. This is followed by chapters which focus on individual planets and other solar-system objects, including a comprehensive treatment of the various space missions: from the Apollo missions to the Moon, to recent missions to Jupiter and Mars. Filled with vital facts and information, and lavishly illustrated in colour throughout, this book will appeal to professionals as well as general readers with an interest in planetary science.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two volumes serve very different purposes: one is a compact, fact-packed field guide, while the other takes a more in-depth look at the solar system. In The Solar System, edited by science journalist Caprara, chapters on the sun, planets, and minor bodies discuss the physical characteristics of these objects as well as the history of their exploration. Several asides explain relevant physical processes extremely well. The entire text is amplified by high-quality images and graphics. The index is brief but useful, and both a bibliography and a short list of web sites are included. Despite the book's small size, it provides a great deal of well-organized information, making it a good addition to any ready-reference collection. [An Astronomy Book Club and Discovery Book Club selection.] In contrast, The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System is a cross between an encyclopedia and an introductory textbook. Beginning with in-depth conceptual chapters that cover our historical and current scientific understanding of the solar system, Lang (astronomy, Tufts Univ.; The Sun from Space) continues with chapters on the Moon, the Earth, and various other planets, and "Remnants of Creation," e.g., comets and asteroids. There is one minor flaw that detracts from this volume's utility as a reference tool (although it does not hamper its value as a textbook): Pluto does not appear anywhere in the table of contents. The author's discussion of Pluto can be accessed only by use of the index. On the other hand, the work overall is very well done, following in the tradition of the author's well-received The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun, with readable, high-quality articles supplemented with excellent pictures and graphics. A directory of web sites and a bibliography for further reading enhance the volume. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.-Barbarly Korper McConnell, California State Univ. Lib., Fullerton Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"I would recommend this book to anyone generally interested in space science and exploration." Meteoritics & Planetary Science

"...a comprehensive and up-to-date description of the planets and their moons..." Astronomical Society of the Pacific

"Lang answers the age-old question 'Why does the sun shine?' in this clearly written, up-to-date, informative text...this is a wonderful current, comprehensive companion to the study of the sun that would be a solid addition to any academic reference collection, lower-division through graduate." Choice

"A good modern summary and reference for professionals." Choice

"Anyone with a need for information on the solar system should find fulfillment in the pages of this handsome work, and it is a beautiful browsing book." Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521198578
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/3/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 502
  • Sales rank: 600,024
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Lang is an award-winning astronomy and planetary science writer, having published ten books which have been translated into seven languages.
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Table of Contents

Principal units
Pt. 1 Changing views and fundamental concepts
1 Evolving perspectives - a historical prologue 1
2 The new, close-up view from space 36
3 The invisible buffer zone with space - atmospheres, magnetospheres, and the solar wind 73
Pt. 2 The inner system - rocky worlds
4 Third rock from the Sun - restless Earth 106
5 The Moon: stepping stone to the planets 156
6 Mercury: a dense battered world 193
7 Venus: the veiled planet 208
8 Mars: the red planet 235
Pt. 3 The giant planets, their satellites and their rings - worlds of liquid, ice, and gas
9 Jupiter: a giant primitive planet 286
10 Saturn: lord of the rings 316
11 Uranus and Neptune 337
Pt. 4 Remnants of creation - small worlds in the solar system
12 Comets 358
13 Asteroids and meteorites 384
14 Colliding worlds 410
App. 1: Further reading 430
App. 2: Directory of web sites 436
Index 438
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