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The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals is the briefest introduction to astronomy in the Bennett series. It is carefully crafted to engage readers and motivate them to learn about astronomy and scientific inquiry.
This book covers the key topics found in other one-semester astronomy books, but treats them with less detail, giving professors the opportunity to supplement the book with outside readings, articles, videos, and activities of their choice.
For those concerned about the price of books, The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals is the most affordable book on the market, without sacrificing the quality of its content or art program.
Key Topics: A Modern View of the Universe, Understanding the Sky, Changes in Our Perspective, Origin of the Solar System, Terrestrial Planets, The Outer Solar System, Planets Around Other Stars, Our Sun and the Stars, Stellar Lives, The Bizarre Stellar Graveyard, Galaxies, Galaxy Distances and Hubble's Law, The Early Universe, Dark Matter and Energy, Life in the Universe
Market: Intended for those interested in a brief introduction to astronomy
Chapter 1: A Modern View of the Universe
1.1 Our Place in the Universe
• What is our place in the universe?
• How big is the universe?
Tools of Science: Doing the Math
1.2 A Brief History of the Universe
• How did we come to be?
• ... MORE How do our lifetimes compare to the age of the universe?
1.3 The Process of Science in Action: Defining Planets
• What is a planet?
Chapter 2: Understanding the Sky
2.1 Understanding the Seasons
• What causes the seasons?
• Why do the constellations we see depend on the time of year?
Tools of Science: Angular Sizes and Distances
2.2 Understanding the Moon
• Why do we see phases of the Moon?
• What causes eclipses?
2.3 The Process of Science in Action: The Puzzle of Planetary Motion
• Why did the ancient Greeks reject the real explanation for planetary motion?
Chapter 3: Changes in Our Perspective
3.1 From Earth-centered to Sun-centered
• How did the Greeks explain planetary motion?
• How did the Copernican revolution change our view of the universe?
Tools of Science: Telescopes
3.2 Hallmarks of Science
• How can we distinguish science from nonscience?
• What is a scientific theory?
3.3 The Process of Sience in Action: The Fact and Theory of Gravity
• How does the fact of gravity differ from the theory of gravity?
Chapter 4: Origin of the Solar System
4.1 Characteristics of the Solar System
• What does the solar system look like?
• What features of our solar system provide clues to how it formed?
Tools of Science: Conservation Laws
4.2 The Birth of the Solar System
• What theory best explains the orderly patterns of motion in our solar system?
• How does our theory account for the features of planets, moons, and small bodies?
4.3 The Process of Science in Action: The Age of the Solar System
• How do we determine the age of Earth and the solar system?
Chapter 5: Terrestrial Planets
5.1 Terrestrial surfaces and atmospheres
• What determines a world’s level of geological activity?
Tools of Science: Basic Properties of Light
• How does an atmosphere affect conditions for life?
5.2 histories of Terrestrial Worlds
• Why did the terrestrial worlds turn out so differently?
• What unique features of Earth make life possible?
5.3 The Process of Science in Action: Global Warming
• What is the evidence for global warming?
Chapter 6: The Outer Solar System
6.1 Jovian Planets, RINGS and Moons
• What are jovian planets like?
Tools of Science: Newton’s Version of Kepler’s Third Law
• Why are the jovian moons so geologically active?
6.2 Asteroids, Comets, and the Impact Threat
• Why are asteroids and comets grouped into three distinct regions?
• Do small bodies pose an impact threat to Earth?
6.3 The Process of Science in Action: Extinction of the Dinosaurs
• Did an impact kill the dinosaurs?
Chapter 7: Planets Around Other Stars
7.1 Detecting extrasolar planets
• Why is it so difficult to detect planets around other stars?
• How do we detect planets around other stars?
Tools of Science: The Doppler Effect
7.2 Characteristics of Extrasolar Planets
• What have we learned about extrasolar planets?
• How do extrasolar planets compare with planets in our solar system?
7.3 The Process of Science in Action: Revising the Nebular Theory
• Do extrasolar planets require us to modify our theory of solar system formation?
Chapter 8: Our Sun and the Stars
8.1 properties of the SUn
• What is the Sun like?
Tools of Science: Spectroscopy
• How does energy escape the Sun?
8.2 Properties of other stars
• How do we measure the properties of stars?
• What patterns do we find in the properties of stars?
8.3 The Process of Science in Action: Visualizing Patterns Among Stars
• How did we discover the patterns in stellar properties?
Chapter 9: Stellar Lives
9.1 Lives in Balance
• Why do stars shine so steadily?
• Why do a star’s properties depend on its mass?
Tools of Science: Quantum Laws and Astronomy
9.2 star death
• What will happen when our Sun runs out of fuel?
• How do high-mass stars end their lives?
9.3 The Process of Science in Action: Testing Stellar Models With Star Clusters
• What do star clusters reveal about the lives of stars?
Chapter 10: The Bizarre Stellar Graveyard
10.1 White Dwarfs & Neutron Stars
• How do white dwarfs behave?
• How do we know that neutron stars exist?
10.2 Black Holes
• What are black holes?
Tools of Science: Einstein’s Theories of Relativity
• What happens to space and time near a black hole?
10.3 The Process of Science in Action: Searching for Black Holes
• Do black holes really exist?
Chapter 11: Galaxies
11.1 The Milky Way
• What does our galaxy look like?
Tools of Science: Observing Different Kinds of Light
• How did the Milky Way form?
11.2 GALAXIES beyond the milky way
• What are the major types of galaxies?
• Why do galaxies differ?
11.3 The process of science in action: solving the mystery of quasars
• What is the energy source for quasars?
Chapter 12: Galaxy Distances and Hubble's Law
12.1 measuring cosmic distances
• How do we measure the distances to galaxies?
Tools of Science: Measuring Distances with Standard Candles
• What is Hubble’s law?
12.2 The Implications of Hubble’s Law
• In what sense is the universe expanding?
• How do distance measurements tell us the age of the universe?
12.3 The Process of Science in Action: Observing galaxy evolution
• What do we see when we look back through time?
Chapter 13: The Early Universe
13.1 The Origin of Matter
• What were conditions like in the early universe?
Tools of Science: Particle Accelerators
• How did the early universe change with time?
13.2 Evidence for the Big Bang Theory
• How do we observe the radiation left over from the big bang?
• How do the abundances of elements support the big bang theory?
13.3 The Process of Science in Action: Inflation
• Did the universe undergo an early episode of inflation?
Chapter 14: Dark Matter and Energy
14.1 Evidence for dark matter
• What is the evidence for dark matter?
Tools of Science: The Orbital Velocity Law
• What might dark matter be made of?
14.2 Gravity versus expansion
• What is the role of dark matter in structure formation?
• Will the universe continue expanding forever?
14.3 The Process of science in Action: Evidence for dark energy
• What is the evidence for dark energy?
Chapter 15: Life in the Universe
15.1 The Search for Life in the Solar System
• What are the necessities of life?
• Could there be life elsewhere in our solar system?
Tools of Science: Planetary Spacecraft
15.2 The Search for Life Among the Stars
• Are habitable planets likely?
• Is there intelligent life beyond Earth?
15.3 The Process of Science in Action: The Evolution of Life on Earth
• What is the evidence for evolution?
Jeffrey Bennett holds a B.A. (1981) in biophysics from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.S. and Ph.D.(1987) in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has taught at every level from preschool through graduate school, including more than 50 college classes in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and education. He served 2 years as a visiting senior scientist at NASA headquarters, where he created NASA's "IDEAS" program, started a program to fly teachers aboard NASA's airborne bservatories (including the hopefully soon-to-be-flying SOFIA), and worked on numerous educational programs
for the Hubble Space Telescope and other space science missions. He also proposed the idea for and helped develop
both the Colorado Scale Model Solar System on the CU-Boulder campus and the VoyageScale Model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (He is pictured here with the model Sun.) In addition to this astronomy textbook, he has written college-level textbooks in astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics; two books for the general public, On the Cosmic Horizon (Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2001) and Beyond UFOs (Princeton University Press, 2008); and an award-winning series of children's books that includes Max Goes to the Moon, Max Goes toMars, Max Goes to Jupiter (coming soon), and Max's Ice Age Adventure. When not working, he enjoys participating in masters swimming and in the daily adventures of life with his wife, Lisa; his children, Grant and Brooke; and his dog, Cosmo. His personal Website is www.jeffreybennett.com < http://www.jeffreybennett.com/ > .
Megan Donahue is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. Her current research is mainly on clusters of galaxies: their contents-dark matter, hot gas, galaxies, active galactic nuclei-and what they reveal about the contents of the universe and how galaxies form and evolve. She grew up on a farm in Nebraska and received a B.A. in physics from MIT, where she began her research career as an X-ray astronomer. She has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, for a thesis on theory and optical observations of intergalactic and intracluster gas. That thesis won the 1993 Trumpler Award from the Astronomical Society for the Pacific for an outstanding astrophysics doctoral dissertation in North America. She continued postdoctoral research in optical and X-ray observations as a Carnegie Fellow at Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, and later as an STScI Institute Fellow at Space Telescope. Megan was a staff astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute until 2003, when she joined the MSU faculty. Megan is married to Mark Voit, and they collaborate on many projects, including this textbook and the raising of their children,Michaela, Sebastian, and Angela. Between the births of Sebastian and Angela, Megan qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon. These days,Megan runs, orienteers, and plays piano and bass guitar whenever her children allow it.
Nicholas Schneider is an associate professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University
of Colorado and a researcher in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. He received his B.A. in physics and astronomy from Dartmouth College in 1979 and his Ph.D. in planetary science from the University of Arizona in 1988. In 1991, he received the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award. His research interests include planetary atmospheres and planetary astronomy, with a focus on the odd case of Jupiter's moon Io. He enjoys teaching at all levels and is active in efforts to improve undergraduate astronomy education. Off the job, he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his family
and figuring out how things work.
Mark Voit is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. He earned his B.A. in astrophysical sciences at Princeton University and his Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in 1990. He continued his studies at the California Institute of Technology, where he was a research fellow in theoretical astrophysics, and then moved on to Johns Hopkins University as a Hubble Fellow. Before going to Michigan State,Mark worked in the Office of Public Outreach
at the Space Telescope, where he developed museum exhibitions about the Hubble Space Telescope and was the scientist behind NASA's HubbleSite. His research interests range from interstellar processes in our own galaxy to the clustering of galaxies in the early universe. He is married to coauthor Megan Donahue, and they try to play outdoors with their three children whenever possible, enjoying hiking, camping, running, and orienteering.Mark is also author of the popular book Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe.