- Series: Cosmic Perspective
- Paperback: 832 pages
- Publisher: Pearson; 7 edition (January 14, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0321839552
- ISBN-13: 978-0321839558
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.2 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 490 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cosmic Perspective (7th Edition) 7th Edition
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About the Author
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 observatories (including 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 Voyage Scale Model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In addition to this astronomy textbook, he is also lead author of college-level textbooks in astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics (all from Pearson); of critically acclaimed two books for the general public including , On the Cosmic Horizon (Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2001) and Beyond UFOs (Princeton University Press, 2008/2011) and Math for Life (Roberts & Co, 2012); and an of the award-winning series of children’s books that includes Max Goes to the Moon, Max Goes to Mars, Max Goes to Jupiter, and Max’s Ice Age AdventureThe Wizard Who Saved the World. 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 Web site is www.jeffreybennett.com.
Megan Donahue is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. Her current research is mainly about using X-ray, UV, infrared, and visible light to study 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 an S.B.. 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. Her Ph.D. thesis on theory and optical observations of intergalactic and intracluster gas 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 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 trails, 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 A.B. 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 helped design NASA’s award-winning 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 cooks terrific meals for her and their three children. Mark likes getting outdoors whenever possible and particularly enjoys running, mountain biking, canoeing, orienteering, and adventure racing. He is also author of the popular book Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe.
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Be careful ordering, though - there are what seems like a billion different editions of this book in addition to a textbook called "The Cosmic Perspective" (no essential) and many places will get ISBN numbers confused, so double check your syllabus to make sure the title matches. Additionally, do NOT depend on the access code enclosed to actually match whatever your online lab is; I wound up having to order one separately because they were not the same.
Anyways, I used this textbook for my Introduction to Astronomy course. This textbook is great in explaining concepts with only basic math (for a simple derivation of Einstein's Special Relativity, you only need to remember highschool geometry). The 1st chapter of the book is absolutely mindblowing as it ventures into the vast scale of the universe. The 3rd chapter, which address the nature of science, is well-written to give you a feel for how the scientific method works (everyone should read this section because there are so many misconceptions about the scientific method). The 2nd part of the book goes into key concepts mandatory for astronomy. These sections will be harder for people without a scientific background (i.e. those not in a science or engineering major). A lot of the students in the class struggled during these chapters not due to the mathematics, but due to the amount of information present in these chapters. What I learned during 3 years of physics and engineering is shrunken down to 3 compact chapters. But the authors do their best job to simplify concepts, and these sections were really fun to read. These chapters will show you how beautiful physics really is, and more importantly will set the foundation for the rest of the book.
Parts 3-7 will be the most interesting parts of the book (about 20 chapters total), depending on which subfield you enjoy. These parts include planets (and exoplanets), stars, galaxies, cosmology, and a few other topics like quantum mechanics, special/general relativity, and exobiology. I would sit and read these chapters in awe. It's not worth getting into detail about each chapter, but I can't express enough how great these chapters were written. There are a ton of pictures, graphs, and tables to help with the concepts. I read this book word for word from front to back. For anyone without a strong mathematical background, but wants to learn about astronomy, I would highly recommend this textbook.
Edit: I used this textbook last school year. This year I've began my 3-course astronomy minor and I keep this introductory book by my desk because the picture references are great. My professor even uses the diagrams in our astrophysics class because they are so colorful and, more importantly, informative (the HR diagram included is color-coded and merges the theorist's and observer's diagrams together. I have yet to see a better HR diagram than the one in this book).