Destiny or Chance: Our Solar System and its Place in the Cosmos / Edition 1

Destiny or Chance: Our Solar System and its Place in the Cosmos / Edition 1

by Stuart Ross Taylor, Cambridge Univ Prtrade Sigs Books
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521481783

ISBN-13: 9780521481786

Pub. Date: 09/28/1998

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Written by a leading planetary scientist, this book tells the remarkable story of how our solar system came into existence. It provides a fast-paced and expert tour of our new understanding of the Earth, its planetary neighbours and other planetary systems.

In a whirl-wind adventure, we are shown how the formation of mightly Jupiter dominated the solar system, why

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Overview

Written by a leading planetary scientist, this book tells the remarkable story of how our solar system came into existence. It provides a fast-paced and expert tour of our new understanding of the Earth, its planetary neighbours and other planetary systems.

In a whirl-wind adventure, we are shown how the formation of mightly Jupiter dominated the solar system, why Mars is so small, where comets come from, how rings form around planets, why asteroids exist and why Pluto isn't a planet at all. En route we discover that chance events have shaped the course of the history of our solar system. Dramatic collisions, for example, have caused the tilts and spins of the planets, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of man. Finally, we look at how suitable Earth is for harbouring life, what other planetary systems look like and whether we are alone in the cosmos.

For all those interested in understanding our solar system and its place in the cosmos, this is a lucid and compelling read.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521481786
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Pages:
229
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue
Acknowledgements
Time line
1Setting the stage1
The place of the solar system in the universe2
Stars and the Sun29
The disk around the Sun39
Building planets49
2The giants65
The yellow and orange gas giants65
The green and blue ice giants71
Satellites of the giant planets76
3Escapees and survivors91
Comets91
The ice dwarfs and the centaurs99
Planetary rings104
The asteroids111
Mars118
4The twins127
Venus127
The Earth134
5Two special cases147
The Moon147
Mercury161
6Causes and effects169
The collisions ofasteroids and comets with planets169
Life and the anthropic principle183
The unique nature of the solar system205
Notes217
Index222

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