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

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Overview

Written by a leading planetary scientist, this engaging book tells the remarkable story of how our solar system came into existence and provides an expert tour of the Earth, its planetary neighbors and other planetary systems. In a whirlwind adventure, we explore how the formation of mighty 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 the role of chance events in shaping the course of the history of our solar system. Dramatic collisions, for example, 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 harboring 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. Stuart Taylor is the recipient of numerous academic awards, including the Norman L. Bowen Award from the American Geophysical Union for his important contributions to our understanding of the origins and early history of the Earth and Moon. In 1997, Asteroid 5670 was named Rosstaylor in his honor. He is the author of Solar System Evolution (Cambridge, 1992).

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Editorial Reviews

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

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521785211
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 PBK ED
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Setting the stage; 2. The giants; 3. Escapees and survivors; 4. The twins; 5. Two special cases; 6. Causes and effects; Appendix.

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