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An Introduction to the Solar System


By: David A Rothery(Editor), Neil McBride(Editor), Iain Gilmour(Editor)

434 pages, 328 colour photos and colour illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jan 2018 | Edition: 3 | #237796 | ISBN-13: 9781108430845
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £44.99 $59/€51 approx

About this book

Ongoing advances in Solar System exploration continue to reveal its splendour and diversity in remarkable detail. This undergraduate-level textbook presents fascinating descriptions and colour images of the bodies in the Solar System, the processes that occur upon and within them, and their origins and evolution. It highlights important concepts and techniques in boxed summaries, while questions and exercises are embedded at appropriate points throughout the text, with full solutions provided. Written and edited by a team of practising planetary scientists, this third edition has been updated to reflect our current knowledge. It is ideal for introductory courses on the subject, and is suitable for self-study. The text is supported by online resources, which include selected figures from An Introduction to the Solar System, self-assessment questions and sample tutor assignments, with outlines of suggested answers.

Reviews of previous editions:

"An Introduction to the Solar System is clearly written, accurate, up-to-date, well-produced and a pleasure to read. It is a first rate production by a team of professionals, clearly designed for teaching and up to the high standards of The Open University. The many questions that are posed throughout the text (with answers at the back) make it an ideal teaching text. As a beginning text at an undergraduate level, it is hard to fault this book and I suspect that it will be widely used in introductory courses.
– Professor S. Ross Taylor, Australian National University

"Of all the planetary science textbooks on my shelf, this is my new favourite. It is up to date, lavishly illustrated and engagingly written at a level that would challenge but not overwhelm the typical undergraduate. It is comprehensive and well-written. Undergraduates will find it educational and senior researchers will find topics outside their fields of expertise lucidly explained."
– Dr Alan Rubin, University of California, Los Angeles

"This textbook gives a comprehensive review of the various objects and processes of the Solar System. It succeeds very well in conveying and explaining all the basic information and concepts on the planetary system, and it is as up to date as can be expected in this rapidly evolving field. The layout is clear and intuitive, the writing style is accessible, and calculations are given while avoiding complex mathematics. I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to have an up-to-date introduction to the planetary sciences."
– Professor Christian Koeberl, University of Vienna

"5/5 stars: A must-have for anyone interested in learning more about planetary science."
BBC Sky at Night Magazine

"The rapid increase in knowledge of the Solar System, mostly from space missions, well merits the present revision after only seven years. This is an excellent textbook, well up to the standard of other Open University texts, and could well be used at other universities. It also provides a valuable reference book for specialists in other fields."
The Observatory

"[...] engaging and well-structured [...] ideal for introductory courses on the subject and is suitable for self-study."



1. A tour of the Solar System
2. The internal structure of the terrestrial planets
3. Planetary volcanism
4. Planetary surface processes
5. Atmospheres of terrestrial planets
6. The giant planets
7. Minor bodies of the Solar System
8. The origin of the Solar System
9. Meteorites: a record of formation

Answers and comments
Further reading
Figure references

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David A. Rothery is a volcanologist and planetary scientist at The Open University, with a background in geological remote sensing and a special fascination for the satellites of the outer planets.

Neil McBride joined the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, at The Open University, in 2000 as Lecturer in Planetary and Space Science. He now works in acoustics supporting sustainable building design.

Iain Gilmour is Head of the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute at The Open University where he undertakes research on meteorites and large scale planetary impacts.

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