Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe

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9780131047631: Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe

With Astronomy Today, Sixth Edition, trusted authors Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan communicate their excitement about astronomy and awaken students to the universe around them. Thoroughly updated, the revised edition focuses on the process of scientific discovery and scientific method, making “how we know what we know” a more integral part of the text with attention to clearly and concisely presenting scientific terms to the non-science student. In addition, the authors have taken great care to identify places where they could clarify or simplify an explanation, better define a term, and discuss the process used in making a discovery.  This edition offers the most complete and innovative learning package available for one- or two-semester introductory courses in astronomy.


Alternate Versions

  • Astronomy Today, Volume 1:  The Solar System, 5/e – Focuses primarily on planetary coverage for a 1-term course.  Includes Chapters 1-16, 28.
  • Astronomy Today, Volume 2:  Stars and Galaxies, 5/e – Focuses primarily on stars and stellar evolution for a 1-term course.  Includes Chapters 1-5 and 16-28.


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*The"Process of Science" is integrated into the text narrative. In particular the focus on scientific discovery and scientific method, or "how we know what we know", is now a much more integral part of the text (e.g. p. 6-8, 121-22, 160-65, 596-97, 611-12).*Part-opening essays emphasize the human endeavor aspect of science. Each part opener introduces a discovery and provides a historical context to the chapters that follow (e.g. p. 1, 140, 402, 600). "What role does your textbook play in your course?"*Student perspective--For this revision, the text's development editor read the text from a student perspective, helping the authors identify places they could clarify or simplify an explanation, better define a term, and discuss the process used in making a discovery. The result is a text that is truly accessible and useful resource for all students. *Expanded Glossary--200+ terms added, including definitions of words students may not know, but are not necessarily "scientific" terms (e.g. "flyby" now defined within chapter 6 Mariner 10 discussion on p. 152). "How can you involve your students in class and make large lectures more interactive?"*Lecture Tutorials -- Developed by Jeffrey Adams, Edward Prather, Timothy Slater and the Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education Research (CAPER) team, class-tested lecture tutorials challenge students with thought-provoking questions that spark classroom discussion. Designed for large classes (300+) and scaleable for smaller sections. *Classroom Response Systems enhances the interactivity of a lecture course by asking students questions and providing instant feedback on key concepts from the chapter. "Do you have an observation component in your course?"*Starry Night Pro 4.0.5 provides everything the amateur astronomer or hobbyist needs to explore the heavens. Content Changes: *Thoroughly updated Chapter 5-- Reflects recent discoveries and innovations, such as Telescope Design in Section 5.1 *Introduction to solar system formation added to Chapter 6--Sets the stage for the planetary chapters (p. 144-45). *Reorganized Chapter 22--Expands the historical development of Special and General Relativity. *More contemporary coverage in Chapters 24 and 25--Reorganizes material to emphasize the connection between normal and active galaxies, and expands the discussion of black holes in galactic nuclei. *Updates include new discoveries and data, including: *New material in Chapter 7 on the Ozone Hole and Global Warming. *Expanded coverage in Chapters 6 and 10 of the most recent missions to Mars. *Updates in Chapter 10 on Martian oppositions, gullies, oceans, and ice. *Final update on the Galileo/GEM mission in Chapter 11. *Updated discussion of solar system formation in Chapter 15; expanded coverage of competing theories, planet migration, planetesimal ejection, plutinos, and the angular momentum problem. *Latest results in Chapter 23 on Sgr A* and the Galaxy's central black hole. This chapter also includes a new discussion of the Shapley-Curtis debate giving historical context to the "Measuring the Milky Way" section. *Extensive revision of Chapters 26 and 27 to include the most recent observations of cosmic acceleration and discussion of "dark energy" *Revised discussions of the cosmological constant and the age of the universe; results from the CBI and WMAP experiments suggesting a flat universe. *Updated coverage of Europa, Mars, interstellar organic molecules, extra solar planets, and SETI in Chapter 28.

About the Author:

Eric Chaisson. Eric holds a doctorate in astrophysics from Harvard University, where he spent ten years on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. For five years, Eric was a Senior Scientist and Director of Educational Programs at the Space Telescope Science Institute and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Johns Hopkins University. He then joined Tufts University, where he is now Professor of Physics, Professor of Education, and Director of the Wright Center for Innovative Science Education. He has written nine books on astronomy, which have received such literary awards as the Phi Beta Kappa Prize, two American Institute of Physics Awards, Harvard's Smith-Weld Prize for Literary Merit, and the Walter P. Kistler Book Award. He has published more than 100 scientific papers in professional journals, and has also received Harvard's Bok Prize for original contributions to astrophysics.


Steve McMillan. Steve holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University and a doctorate in Astronomy from Harvard University. He held post-doctoral positions at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University, where he continued his research in theoretical astrophysics, star clusters, and numerical modeling. Steve is currently Distinguished Professor of Physics at Drexel University and a frequent visiting researcher at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study and the University of Tokyo. He has published more than 50 scientific papers in professional journals.

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Chaisson, Eric; McMillan, Steve
Published by Prentice Hall College Div (2003)
ISBN 10: 0131047639 ISBN 13: 9780131047631
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
The Book Bin
(Salem, OR, U.S.A.)

Book Description Prentice Hall College Div, 2003. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0131047639 Still in plastic wrapping. 487pp. Chaisson/McMillan's writing style and pedagogically driven art program are recognized as being scientifically accurate yet accessible to non-science majors. Topics covered include Astronomy and the Universe, Our Planetay System, Stars and Stellar Evolution, Galaxies and Cosmology, and more. For one or two-semester introductory astronomy course. Includes Star and Planet Locator. OVERSIZE VOLUME MAY REQUIRE ADDITIONAL SHIPPING CHARGES. > Language: English | > Size: 4to | > Media/Binding: Soft cover |. Bookseller Inventory # CORV-BBC-0K59048

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