The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System / Edition 1

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Overview

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
'Journeys deep into space have revealed dozens of distinctive worlds of unexpected diversity. Ken Lang presents a richly illustrated and remarkably thorough guide to the new view of the Solar System that has emerged, a view that beckons us on further journeys of discovery.' Edward Stone, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

'... exceptionally good ... so clearly written that it is within the cope of even the complete newcomer to astronomy, but there are also sections, usually in boxes, that will be useful to the serious student ... this is a well-written and splendidly illustrated book, suitable for readers of all kinds. it may be recommended without hesitation and will be a welcome addition to any astronomical library.' Patrick Moore, The Times Higher Education Supplement

'In Ken Lang's brilliant guide, he shows us how to read the character of the worlds of our solar system and how to understand not only the distinctive nature of each one but how they relate as families. I came away from the book with my mind liberated from gravity and the bounds of a human lifespan, images of the development of other worlds over their 4 billion year history crowding through my imagination.' Paul Murdin, University of Cambridge

'... a very readable and informative volume ... it is a fascinating read because the author focuses on the development of ideas about the planets, on the basis of observations available at the time. This gives a strong narrative quality to the text, which enlivens the arguments and allows the reader to appreciate the significance of key new observations.' Astronomy Geophysics

'Competitively priced in hardback, the book should be a best seller.' The Observatory

'... very browseable ... for those wishing for a well documented guide to our present knowledge of the Solar system this is very good value ... Recommended ...'. Astronomy Now

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521813068
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 468
  • Product dimensions: 8.62 (w) x 10.87 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth R. Lang is a Professor of Astronomy at Tufts University. He is a well-known author and has published 25 books. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun (Cambridge University Press, 2001) was recommended by the Library Journal as one of the best reference books published that year. He has extensive teaching experience, and has served as a Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA headquarters.

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Table of Contents

Preface
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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