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Kenneth R. Lang
The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System

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 also appeal to professionals as well as general readers with an interest in planetary science.

Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Principal units
  • 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. Comets
    • 13. Asteroids and meteorites
    • 14. Colliding worlds
  • Appendix 1. Further reading
  • Appendix 2. Directory of web sites
  • Index


"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."
(Dr Edward Stone, former Director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

"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."
(Prof. Paul Murdin, University of Cambridge)

Cambridge University Press, 2003, 468 S.
46,00 Euro
Hardcover, w. 157 col. plates, 159 photos and 114 line diagrams
ISBN: 978-0-521-81306-8

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