Earth, Moon, and Planets

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Harvard University Press, 1968 - Science - 297 pages
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The increase in our knowledge of the solar system during the five years since the author last revised this book (1963) greatly exceeds that in the previous two decades. The program of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the space program of the U.S.S.R. have been prime contributors to this rapid progress, but the impetus has carried over to groundbased studies of the Moon and planets as well. The advances in radio and radar astronomy alone are striking, and are continuing at an accelerating pace.

This third edition of Mr. Whipple's popular and authoritative book is thoroughly revised in light of this new knowledge. The most extensive revisions are in the chapters on the Moon, Mars, and Venus--the members of the solar system on which the various space programs have concentrated. The author has included many new and dramatic illustrations in this third edition, among them photographs taken from U.S. and Russian space craft. There are striking photographs of the Moon, with close-up views of its surface texture, pictures of Mars taken from Mariner IV, and radar pictures of Venus that "see through" that planet's obscuring cloud layer.

The book is written in nontechnical language and with a lucid, witty style that is readily understandable to the interested layman. Mathematics has been avoided, and scientific methods and processes are described in simple terms. In presenting the latest information about the planets and their moons, Mr. Whipple discusses their origin and evolution, motions, atmospheres, temperatures, surface conditions, the environment essential for life as we know it, and the possibilities of life outside the Earth. He concludes with a discussion of current theories about the origin of the solar system.

  

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Contents

Introducing the Planets
1
How the System Holds Together
17
The Discoveries of Neptune and Pluto
33
Weights and Measures
41
The Earth
55
The Earth as an Abode for Life
69
The Moons Influence on the Earth
91
Observing the Moon
111
Jupiter the Dominating Planet
159
The Other GiantsSaturn Uranus and Neptune
179
The Terrestrial PlanetsPluto Mercury and Venus
195
Mars
213
Bodes Law
263
The Star Chart
269
The Moons Age
281
Index
287

The Nature of the Moon
131

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About the author (1968)

Fred L. Whipple was Phillips Professor of Astronomy, Emeritus, Harvard University, and Senior Scientist, Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory.

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