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Moons and Planets 5th Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0534493936
ISBN-10: 0534493939
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Editorial Reviews


1. Introduction: Planetary Science and the Cosmic Perspective. 2. The Solar System: An Overview. 3. Celestial Mechanics. 4. The Formation of Stars and Planetary Material. 5. The Formation of Planets and Satellites. 6. Meteorites and Meteoritics. 7. Interplanetary Worldlets: Asteroids and Comets. 8. Planetary Interiors. 9. Planetary Surfaces I: Petrology, Primitive Surfaces, and Cratering. 10. Planetary Surfaces II: Volcanism and Endogenic Processes of Surface Evolution. 11. Planetary Atmospheres. 12. Life: Its History and Occurrence. 13. Martian Epilogue: Applying Planetary Science on a New Frontier. Appendix: Planetary Data Table. References. Index.

About the Author

William K. Hartmann is known internationally as a planetary astronomer, writer, and painter. He is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. His research has involved the origin and evolution of planets and studies of the surfaces of Mars, the moon, asteroids, and comets. Asteroid 3341 is named after him in recognition of this work, and in 1998 he was named first recipient of the Carl Sagan medal of the American Astronomical Society for communicating planetary science to the public. In 2002 he was awarded a medal from the European Geophysical Society for his work on planetary cratering. He has authored three other astronomy books for Thomson, Brooks-Cole, several popular astronomy books, and two novels, MARS UNDERGROUND and CITIES OF GOLD.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Brooks Cole; 5 edition (June 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0534493939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0534493936
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 7.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The first time I read this book was when one of my graduate teachers asked me to review it. While he thought it to basic for graduate-level work, I have used this book ever since, for students of all ages. Well written and illustrated with black-&-white pictures as well as the author's own well-respected artwork, it covers so much in such a small book it's hard to believe. The appendix of plantary data is up-to-date & comprehensive, lacking only some of the more esoteric elements (like the moment of inertia factor and J2 moment - if you don't know what those are, you won't miss them). Best at an undergraduate level, no math is required; all the math is set aside in boxes from the text, ready to use when the reader is ready but not required for a firm understanding of the subject at hand. And while it's clearly written as a textbook, it's far better reading than your average college text on the subject. While there are many "overview" books on the market, this is one of the best in my opinion; while I like and use more flashy texts like "The New Solar System", this is the one that I go back to again & again to review the basics or perform a simple calculation.
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Format: Hardcover
The fact that the publishers can charge students $200 for a one semester black and white textbook is outrageous, and borderline unethical in my opinion. Though it looks like the price is coming down a bit. Having said that, this is the only acceptable textbook I know of that teaches Planetary Astronomy at a level that is above introductory astronomy, but below the graduate level. The textbook is reasonably thorough, although there are the noticeable omissions, given all of the advances made in the last five years since the textbook's publishing. The author is clearly knowledgable on the subject matter, though he shows an obvious bias arising from his growing up in the 60s and 70s when putting people on the moon and envisioning human colonies in space was the forefront of astronomy technology. Overall, the content of the book is decent. The chapters consist of text on planetary physics facts and theories, with intermittent math sections that explain the physics in more quantitative terms. There are a few typos and factual errors. In summary, there is effectively no competitive textbook out there that can match this one, despite all of its drawbacks, including the obscene price tag.
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Format: Hardcover
The book "Moons and Planets" by William K. Hartmann has been around a long time and I have the Fourth Edition. I've been teaching a university course in Planetary Geology from 1987 to 2010 and I was in need of a textbook. As such, I asked the various companies about available books and this is one that I turned up. I asked the company representative I might have a copy as a reference book in that the organization of the book was such that I couldn't use it as a text. The lady reluctantly sent me a copy, and I am thankful.

This is an interesting book, without question. I've been aware of Hartmann for several decades, at least. He is not only a planetary geologist, but an accomplished artist and has turned out some superb illustrations of space-related things. I've used them in classes and in giving public talks. His book is a massive compendium of information and, as such, is one of the most useful planetary reference books that I have. However, I found that the structure and organization of the book is such that I would be totally unable to use it as a text book in the way that I teach and, I suspect, that most other professors would have the same difficulties. Also, as a book, I find it both interesting and informative, but I could never sit down and read it cover to cover. The organization just won't allow it. I use it as a reference. If I'm interested it Titan (a large satellite of Saturn), for example, I go to his index, look up Titan and see what categories of information he might have and go the the referred spots for information. In this way, it's a very interesting and useful book and I recommend it, if that fits your needs.

Note that my comments apply to the fourth edition and this is a sales page for the fifth edition.
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