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Encyclopedia of the Solar System Hardcover – 21 Jul 2014


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"Everything you want to know about the solar system is here. ...This is the perfect reference book, lavishly illustrated and well-written." -From the Foreword by WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, JR., Carnegie Institute of Washington "The authors succeed brilliantly at combining the latest results from spacecraft missions and Earth-based observations with thoughtful interpretations of the processes. --" -MARIA T. ZUBER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

About the Author

Torrence V. Johnson is a specialist on icy satellites in the solar system. He has written over 130 publications for scientific journals. He received a Ph.D. in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology and is now the Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was the Project Scientist for the Galileo mission and is currently an investigator on the Cassini mission. He is the recipient of two NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medals and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Padua, where Galileo made his first observations of the solar system.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding resource for students seeking a broad overview of many planetary science topics 2 Dec. 2014
By Francis Nimmo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This Encyclopedia provides an outstanding resource for a student (upper-level undergrad or beginning grad student) seeking a broad overview of a planetary science topic. Each article is written by one or more leading experts in the field, providing an accessible summary of the current state of knowledge, accompanied by a few key figures. Technical terms are defined in a glossary, and selected suggestions for further reading listed. The quality of the illustrations is uniformly high. The 3rd edition has added ten extra chapters over the 2nd edition (2007) - reflecting our new knowledge of bodies like the active ice-moon Enceladus - while other chapters (such as Exoplanets) have been updated to incorporate the latest mission findings.

Nothing else like this Encyclopedia exists. It can go into more depth than textbooks, but is more accessible than the articles published by Annual Reviews, or book chapters in the Cambridge or University of Arizona Planetary Science series. As such, it represents perhaps the most natural jumping-off point for entering a new sub-field of planetary sciences.

This edition displays the issues common to all Encyclopedias. Some topics (most notably Pluto) will be out of date almost before the book is published. Balancing the length of different chapters is a challenge - should Triton receive as much attention as (say) Mars or the Earth, given how much more we know about the latter? And of course, individual chapters are subject to the quirks of individual authors - for instance, I would like to have seen more discussion of the enigmatic Martian magnetic anomalies. Nonetheless, overall this Encyclopedia is a superb achievement: the articles are clear, of uniformly high quality and well-illustrated. For someone wanting to get a rapid and authoritative summary of an unfamiliar field, it is hard to think of a better option.
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