on 18 August 2014
I bought this to get an update on the solar system, specifically with regards to the trans-Neptunian worlds that have been discovered in the last 2 or 3 decades (thanks to the invention of the charged coupled device.) There was only one chapter out of fifteen devoted to this outer region of the solar system, however this was an appropriate proportion and I was very pleased with the content.
The early part of this book was used to set both the historical context by with the planets have been understood and cosmological background by which the reader can make sense of the later chapters i.e. The book was well structured and the brief discussion of radioactivity was very necessary. The subject matter of the book mainly related to the non-living cosmic events which a made a suitable cradle for life, rather than any detailed discussion of primitive life.
Two minor criticisms relating to editing of the text (hopefully not my misunderstanding) : (1) p74 "The universe is 13.75 billion years old with an uncertainty of 0.13 billion years. One of the oldest known stars in the Milky way has an age of 13.82 billion years." - Are stars in our galaxy (which itself took time to form) really older than the likely age of the universe? (2) p244 " If Kuiper were correct, the region beyond Neptune would be empty today except for Pluto." I think this should read "not be empty".
All said, I was well pleased with the other 273 pages of this book and the authors were clear in distinguishing the borderline between well established theories and plausible speculations. I have a long time interest in cosmology, but was glad to learn plenty from this book.
Excellent book describing the birth, evolution and future of our solar system. Drawing on the most current theories and evidence, the authors give a detailed but accessible account of how our Sun formed along with the planets their moons as well as other objects such as asteroids.
Overall, a very well written and presented account. Definitely a must for anyone interested in learning about this particular aspect of our history.