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Paperback The New Solar System Book

ISBN: 0521645875

ISBN13: 9780521645874

The New Solar System

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Book Overview

Knowledge of the solar system to the present day is summarized in this book which includes the story of the first decades of space exploration, told by some of the pioneers of the era. In this third... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Warm science

Through its many iterations the editors have managed to tie substantiated facts with brand new discoveries quite seemlessly. The writing avoids the mistake of taking you on a "ride" through the solar system and instead focuses on facts and inferences. It bugs me when writers throw too much opinion your way trying to paint the night sky in your head. Instead, you get to do all that painting yourself. The illustrations and tables are also very good. The tie together the body of text pretty well. I'm not any kind of engineer or photographer, so when the included visual aids bring the words to life like this, it makes the reading time valuable. What I really wanted was an all-encompasing text reference of our home planetary family. What I got was all that and a little more. It's well worth the dollars of initial investment. If we want a greater understanding of who we are and where we come from, careful study of our observable neighborhood qualifies as a good investment of time.

Magnificent Understanding of the Solar System

If you only have one book on your "Solar System" shelf, this must be it.With clearly laid out and beautifully illustrated chapters, the Authors describe our Solar system, both as it is now and how it came to be. A very practical compromise between the rich detail of scientific theory and the basics of how, why and what.There is material here for everyone, from the professional scientist who is looking for some context to the amateur who wants to see pictures with real explanations - not just the broad and innacurate statements we see so often on the internet.You cannot go far wrong by using this book as a foundation stone of your understanding of the solar system.As with any such work, future missions will change our understanding, but this book describes what we have already seen and why we think what we do about the planets. Once you understand this, you will share in the excitement of new missions, especially when they discover new things that change our understanding.Well illustrated and produced, this book will appeal to the scientific reader, whether Amateur or Professional.

A thoroughly enjoyable tour of our neighborhood!

This is a gorgeous and complete treatment of our solar system supported by very recent spacecraft data (Galileo, Pathfinder) in addition to the seminal Voyager flybys and Viking landings. The next edition will likely include Mars Global Surveyor data as well as findings from the Saturnian Cassini mission in 2004. The prose is much more readable than that of most college textbooks, yet coverage of the subject matter is thorough on an amateur level. The artwork and choice of photographs is exquisite and complements the text perfectly, in full color.When I ordered this book I was hoping for a tour of the solar system in the context of the question: "What would it be like to be there?" Well, this book only partially fits that bill but to be fair, it's not designed to! It's more a technical summary of theories scientists are confident in the verity of or have evidence to support. The New Solar System is the best example I've seen of this specific type of text. And there are many others out there, most of which are either too basic or too detailed for the serious amateur astronomer.I'm still looking for the "overactive imagination" version of this book though! :)

Gorgeous New Views and Descriptions

Three books on our solar system have appeared in the past year or so. Each has its own "flavor". I will review them in turn, but browsers should be aware of the other books, so they are listed here: See "Solar System Dynamics," C. D. Murray and S. F. Dermott, and "The Planetary Scientist's Companion," by Katharina Lodders and Bruce Fegley, Jr.The present volume, a tremendously handsome production, is replete with gorgeous and stimulating closeup photographs of planets and their satellites. They give a glimpse of what the earth could have been like --- but thank goodness, isn't!Many scientific theories, physical descriptions, and graphs are given describing geological and atmospheric conditions on the various solar bodies. However, they are not accompanied by a single equation. This will be a boon to some readers, but a bust to others. In my case, seeking as I was a discussion of planet formation and the Titius/Bode Law for planetary positions, it was disappointing not to find mathematical details. But this loss is more than compensated for by the interest generated by what the book does deliver so well --- the fact that "planets are places," as Carl Sagan liked to say, and not just moving dots in the night sky. And it is inspiring to realize that ours is the first generation to get to know them intimately as a result of space probes by Russia and the United States.I can think of no better birthday or Christmas gift for the amateur astronomer or the serious young science student than this stunning and awe-inspiring collection of photographs and scientific descriptions of the oldest objects around us, our "new" solar system.That is not to say that the volume will not also be useful to more advanced scientists. But the scientific content is contained in detailed graphs, tables, and qualitative textual descriptions rather than in the definitive shorthand of mathematical equations. (For the latter, in spades, see Murray and Dermott).

A system whose parts must be studied comparatively.

The explosion of information in the field of planetary science in recent years has made it very difficult for the lay person to keep up with the latest knowledge and theories about the part of the universe in which we live. From the time the space program took off in the late 60's until today, NASA has sent an ever increasing number of missions to study our star and the planets of our Solar System. The first edition of The Solar System, published in 1981, was a way for those interested in planetary science to catch up with a burgeoning amount of research. Since the Third Edition of The New Solar System was published in 1990, there have been so many developments in planetary science, that the new Fourth Edition is nearly twice as large as its predecessor. This book is neither a text book nor a coffee table took. It lies somewhere in between. Its 28 chapters cover every aspect of Solar System research, from the Sun to Pluto, and all the planets, satellites, comets, atmospheres, and asteroids in between. The final chapter gives a census of the rapidly growing number of known worlds around other stars. Up-to-date tables of planetary, satellite, and small-body characteristics, a glossary of terms, suggested readings and references, and an index complete the book. This is not a book by one person or a group of editors. Instead, it is a collection of chapters drawing together the talents of a multitude of planetary experts into one place. The list of luminaries contributing to this edition include David Morrison on Exploring the Solar System, Paul Weissman on Cometary Reservoirs, Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker on The Role of Collisions, and William K. Hartman on Small Worlds: Patterns and Relationships. The theme of the book is that the Solar System is no longer a place of isolated bodies, but is instead an interrelated whole, indeed, a system, whose parts must be studied comparatively. The aim of the editors has been to encourage their authors to make neither sweeping generalizations nor detailed analyses. Instead, they have striven to make this book enjoyable reading for those with either a casual or professional interest. And, it seems, they have succeeded. The chapters are presented in a logical sequence, from an overview of the Solar System, through a discussion of each of the planets and their major features. But this does not mean that the book can only be read from cover to cover. Each chapter is independent, and a reader looking for information on a specific area of interest, say Mars, can easily study only that chapter without feeling that he is missing something. There is a wealth of beautiful NASA and other photos supplementing the text, as well as clearly drawn and colorful diagrams by illustrator Sue Lee. In fact, it is possible to glean an incredible amount of information just by reading the picture captions. And the whole thing is supplemented with the superb paintings and drawings of artist Don Davis,
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