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Planetary Sciences

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This title has free online support material available.



  • 487 b/w illus. 43 colour illus. 48 tables 318 exercises
  • Page extent: 663 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 1.7 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 523.4
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: QB601 .D38 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Planetology

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521853712)

Replaced by 9781107091610


An authoritative introduction for graduate students in the physical sciences, this textbook explains the wide variety of physical, chemical, and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets. The second edition of this award-winning textbook has been substantially updated and improved. It now contains a reorganized discussion of small bodies, including a detailed description of the Kuiper belt and asteroid belt; a significantly expanded chapter on extrasolar planets and what they tell us about planetary systems; and appendixes providing a glossary of acronyms, tables of key spacecraft, a summary of observing techniques, and a sampling of very recent images. With over 300 exercises to help students apply the concepts covered, this textbook is ideal for courses in astronomy, planetary science and earth science, and well suited as a reference for researchers. Color versions of many figures and movie clips supplementing the text are available at


Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Dynamics; 3. Solar heating and energy transport; 4. Planetary atmospheres; 5. Planetary surfaces; 6. Planetary interiors; 7. Magnetic fields and plasmas; 8. Meteorites; 9. Minor planets; 10. Comets; 11. Planetary rings; 12. Extrasolar planets; 13. Planet formation; Appendices; References; Index.


‘The second edition keeps pace with the new discoveries in planetary science. It still has the classic figures and tables, but it also has spectacular new images and new theories. More space is devoted to derivations, so students can learn the material on their own. The book works at many levels, and I will continue to use it in my courses.’ Andrew P. Ingersoll, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology

‘Planetary Sciences presents a comprehensive coverage of this fascinating and expanding field at a level … The book explains the wide variety of physical, chemical and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets … a very useful book … an excellent textbook for anyone studying astronomy and planetary geology … a rich source of knowledge … Highly recommended.’ Richard Taylor, Spaceflight

‘… a comprehensive overview of the planetary science field …’ Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

‘… the book is essentially excellent. Given their formidable task, de Pater and Lissauer have done as good a job as can be imagined, and I can't imagine two other authors doing a better job on a first edition … this book could serve as a valuable introduction to aspects of planetary science that graduate students might never study at all … the discussions are generally so comprehensive and up-to-date that active scientists will find the individual chapters to be excellent 'primers' on subjects outside their formal training. There really is no other book at this level like Planetary Sciences.’ William B. McKinnon, EOS

‘… a massive achievement, and the well-considered problems and exercises at the end of each chapter will be particularly useful to students and to test one's own understanding.’ William B. Hubbard, Physics Today

'The illustrations and images are excellently produced … This hardback volume should serve the degree student well throughout their years of study.' Popular Astronomy

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