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The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System

2nd Edition

$74.99 (G)

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521198578

$ 74.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • Richly illustrated with full-color images, this book is a comprehensive, up-to-date description of the planets, their moons, and recent exoplanet discoveries. This second edition of a now classic reference is brought up to date with fascinating new discoveries from 12 recent Solar System missions. Examples include water on the Moon, volcanism on Mercury's previously unseen half, vast buried glaciers on Mars, geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus, lakes of hydrocarbons on Titan, encounter with asteroid Itokawa, and sample return from comet Wild 2. The book is further enhanced by hundreds of striking new images of the planets and moons. Written at an introductory level appropriate for undergraduate and high-school students, it provides fresh insights that appeal to anyone with an interest in planetary science. A website hosted by the author contains all the images in the book with an overview of their importance. A link to this can be found at

    • Presents striking examples of new discoveries through hundreds of captivating, full-color images
    • Includes key discoveries from recent planetary spacecraft and fresh insights into previous explorations, giving an up-to-date description of the planets and moons of our Solar System
    • All the images from the book, together with a description of their importance, can be found at
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '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

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521198578
    • length: 502 pages
    • dimensions: 284 x 229 x 35 mm
    • weight: 1.97kg
    • contains: 200 b/w illus. 225 colour illus. 62 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Changing Views and Fundamental Concepts:
    1. Evolving perspectives: a historical prologue
    2. The new, close-up view from space
    3. The invisible buffer zone with space: atmospheres, magnetospheres and the solar wind
    Part II. The Inner System – Rocky Worlds:
    4. Third rock from the Sun: restless Earth
    5. The Moon: stepping stone to the planets
    6. Mercury: a dense battered world
    7. Venus: the veiled planet
    8. Mars: the red planet
    Part III. The Giant Planets, Their Satellites and Their Rings – Worlds of Liquid, Ice and Gas:
    9. Jupiter: a giant primitive planet
    10. Saturn: lord of the rings
    11. Uranus and Neptune
    Part IV. Remnants of Creation – Small Worlds in the Solar System:
    12. Asteroids and meteorites
    13. Colliding worlds
    14. Comets
    15. Beyond Neptune
    Part V. Origin of the Solar System and Extrasolar Planets:
    16. Brave new worlds

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    The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System

    Kenneth R. Lang

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  • Author

    Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University, Massachusetts
    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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