The New Solar System: Ice Worlds, Moons, and Planets Redefined

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Aimed at the popular audience by experienced astronomy author Patricia Daniels with contributions by former editor of Astronomy magazine Robert Burnham and highlighted by 160 photographs, diagrams and maps, this superb guide explores every corner of Earth’s planetary neighborhood, from the fiery sun at its center to the dark, icy realm where interstellar space begins. It’s a state-of-the-art observation of the solar system as we know it today and a knowledgeable forecast of what to expect in the future, from Pluto’s demotion to plutoid to the upcoming Moon mission, the likelihood of a manned expedition to Mars, and much more.

From breathtaking full-color photographs to detailed explanatory diagrams to expert essays, fascinating sidebars, and informative fact boxes, the New Solar System is not just an easy-to-use, solidly reliable reference, but also a visually stunning, invitingly browsable volume guaranteed to fire the imagination of even the most casual reader.

As we celebrate NASA’s first half-century and look outward to exciting new possibilities, public interest in all things interplanetary will only grow more intense—and this wonderfully timely book is poised to launch us once more into the High Frontier.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426204623
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 8/18/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 953,903
  • Product dimensions: 9.52 (w) x 11.08 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Daniels has written extensively on history and science, including National Geographic Pocket Guide to the Constellations and National Geographic Encyclopedia of Space.

Robert Burnham is a science writer at the Mars Space Flight Facility of Arizona State University. He is the author of Great Comets and the Reader’s Digest Children’s Atlas of the Universe.

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Read an Excerpt

Top Ten New Solar System Stories
From the new National Geographic book, The New Solar System: Ice Worlds, Moons, and Planets Redefined

1.Good-bye, Pluto
Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet leaves the solar system with eight major worlds.

2.Hello, dwarf planets
Haumea, Makemake, Eris, and other newly christened dwarf planets expand the solar system family.

3.Water on Mars
The case for life on Mars gets a boost when a flotilla of spacecraft finds not only ice, but evidence of ancient rivers and floods on the red planet.

4.Target: Earth
A large asteroid or comet will strike the Earth: The question is simply “when?” Recently established Near-Earth Asteroid programs are scrambling to find out.

5.Ocean moons
Far from being icy rocks, some big moons of the outer solar system are proving to contain subsurface saltwater oceans, potential havens for life.

6.Titan’s mysteries unveiled
For the first time, a probe has descended through the thick atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan, exposing a world of methane lakes and hydrocarbon dunes.

7.The new frontier
Cutting-edge telescopes have finally seen into the solar system’s third frontier: the Kuiper belt and beyond, filled with peculiar worlds.

8.Closing in on another Earth
No, we’re not alone. Hundreds of planets have been found circling other stars, and we’re closing in on finding one in the crucial “habitable zone.”

9.Life from comets?
The notion that comets brought life to Earth, once scorned, has gained new ground with the discovery of organic chemicals on Halley and other comets.

10.The heat-death of the Earth
The sun, as it turns out, gets just a little brighter each year. This cheerful finding means Earth will become an uninhabitable desert long before the sun dies–unless we manage to move it.

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