Books  Physical Sciences  Cosmology & Astronomy 

Alien Skies: Planetary Atmospheres from Earth to Exoplanets

  • Only book placing Climate Change in the global context of planetary atmospheres, including exoplanets
  • Transforms the reader's view of the Earth's atmosphere
  • and its relation to life
  • Provides an overview and explanation of the first observations of the atmospheres of exoplanets

By: Frédéric J Pont(Author)

151 pages, 131 colour photos and illustration, 9 b/w illustrations


Paperback | Apr 2014 | #223757 | ISBN-13: 9781461485537
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1 week Details
NHBS Price: £16.95 $23/€19 approx

About this book

Planetary atmospheres are complex and evolving entities, as mankind is rapidly coming to realise whilst attempting to understand, forecast and mitigate human-induced climate change. In the Solar System, our neighbours Venus and Mars provide striking examples of two endpoints of planetary evolution, runaway greenhouse and loss of atmosphere to space.

The variety of extra-solar planets brings a wider angle to the issue: from scorching "hot jupiters'' to ocean worlds, exo-atmospheres explore many configurations unknown in the Solar System, such as iron clouds, silicate rains, extreme plate tectonics, and steam volcanoes. Exoplanetary atmospheres have recently become accessible to observations.

Alien Skies puts our own climate in the wider context of the trials and tribulations of planetary atmospheres. Based on cutting-edge research, it uses a grand tour of the atmospheres of other planets to shine a new light on our own atmosphere, and its relation with life.

"This is a beautiful, well-written book. With glossy pages, plenty of arresting graphics, and color photographs, it is a very nice introduction to the basic physics and chemistry of the objects populating Earth's solar system, including planets and moons. [...] Pont (astrophysics, Univ. of Exeter, UK) explores in detail each planet's atmospheric composition structure and chemistry, and weather and climate. [...] Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers."
- T. N. Chase, Choice, Vol. 52 (7), March, 2015


- Earth's atmosphere: A new look at an old friend
- Venus and Mars
- Titan and life without water
- Gas giant planets: from Jupiter to hot Jupiters
- Exotic worlds
- Back to Earth

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Frédéric Pont teaches astrophysics at the University of Exeter (UK). He has lived and worked in Switzerland, Japan, Chile and France, and has participated in the discovery of many extra-solar planets with fellow researchers in Europe and the US. He now studies the atmosphere of some of these planets, using the Hubble Space Telescope and the largest ground-based telescopes available. He has also worked as a science writer for the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in Geneva. Born Swiss, Pont loves mountains, cheese and, somewhat less predictably, books. He now spends most of his time on planet Earth (because he quite likes its atmosphere) and currently resides in the United Kingdom.

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