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

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New York, NY, U.S.A. 1998 Hardcover First Edition New in Fine dust jacket 0521481783. New book, unmarked and unread but for merest trace of edgewear.

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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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Editorial Reviews

Nature
Professor Stuart Taylor of the Australian National University is a planetary scientist well qualified to write on this subject, and he has produced a clear account of the complex occurrences over the past 4 to 5 billion years that have led to the formation of the Earth, Moon and planets...an easily readable account of the formation of the Solar System.
From the Publisher
"Professor Stuart Taylor of the Australian National University is a planetary scientist well qualified to write on this subject, and he has produced a clear account of the complex occurrences over the past 4 to 5 billion years that have led to the formation of the Earth, Moon and planets...an easily readable account of the formation of the Solar System." Nature

"This is a book that should be read by anyone who wants to be a scientist, is a scientist, or is interested in science." Geological Magazine

"...a wonderful book....This is not just another descriptive book about the solar system, but a book that explores the implications fo that description....[It] can be profitably be read ... by anyone from motivated high school students to professional scientists." /s Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

"Destiny or Chance offers a friendly, informative read on the origins of our solar system, and is sure to satisfy and delight even the most inquisitive readers." Yale Scientific Magazine

" This is just a wonderful book. This is not just another descriptive book about the solar system, but a book that explores the implications of that description." Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521481786
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 229
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue
Acknowledgements
Time line
1 Setting the stage 1
The place of the solar system in the universe 2
Stars and the Sun 29
The disk around the Sun 39
Building planets 49
2 The giants 65
The yellow and orange gas giants 65
The green and blue ice giants 71
Satellites of the giant planets 76
3 Escapees and survivors 91
Comets 91
The ice dwarfs and the centaurs 99
Planetary rings 104
The asteroids 111
Mars 118
4 The twins 127
Venus 127
The Earth 134
5 Two special cases 147
The Moon 147
Mercury 161
6 Causes and effects 169
The collisions ofasteroids and comets with planets 169
Life and the anthropic principle 183
The unique nature of the solar system 205
Notes 217
Index 222
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