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Editors: David G. Fisher &
Richard R. Erickson
July 2009 · 3 volumes
1,056 pages · 8"x10"
The Solar System
Essential coverage of all major aspects of Earth's solar system, from every feature of the major planets to their satellites, small bodies, interplanetary phenomena, and cosmological context.
Designed to meet the needs of both general readers and students, this completely revised and updated edition covers 180 major topics on Earth's solar system as it is understood from the latest perspectives. For this new edition, 58 new topics have been added and every essay has been thoroughly expanded, from the text through bibliographies, to bring it up to date in view of the many interplanetary missions that have expanded our knowledge of the solar system-from Pioneer and Voyager through the missions of Galileo, Cassini-Huygens, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the latest Mars probes as of 2009.
Scope and Coverate
No reference dedicated to the solar system is this detailed or complete and up to date. Coverage is presented in an A-Z format-from "Archaeoastronomy" and "Asteroids" through "Venus's Volcanoes" and "White and Black Dwarfs"-and is supplemented by more than two hundred photos. For those wishing instant access to essays grouped by planetary system, a Category Index appears in the front of every volume. Essays fall into one or more of the following categories: the Cosmological Context, Earth, the Jovian System, Life in the Solar System, Mars, Mercury, Natural Planetary Satellites, Neptune, Planets and Planetology, the Saturnian System, Scientific Methods, Small Bodies, the Solar System as a Whole, the Stellar Context, the Sun, Uranus, and Venus.
Organization and Format
Essays range in length from three to seven pages and offer a complete overview of the topic as well as an assessment of knowledge gained, methods of study, or applications. Each essay begins with standard, ready-reference information, including the title of the essay, the category (or categories) in which the essay falls, and a summary of the importance of the topic and the current state of our knowledge. The essay is then broken down into several subsections. An "Overview" section, generally the longest subsection in the essay, details basic information about the subject and discusses the main facts about the topic. "Knowledge Gained/Methods of Study/Applications" details how the topic is investigated, what scientific knowledge we have accumulated, or the uses of the knowledge we have gained. "Context" addresses the topic from the larger perspective of the history of solar-system science and its relevance for humankind. "Further Reading" is an annotated selection of the most important print resources for further study. Lastly, "See Also" lists cross-references to other essays in The Solar System covering related topics.
The front matter of each volume includes a Complete List of Contents and a Category Index. The set is heavily illustrated, with over 300 photos. At the end of volume three, users will find a general bibliography, a list of web resources, a comprehensive glossary, and a full subject index.