Encyclopedia of the Solar System

2nd Edition

Editors: Lucy-Ann McFadden Torrence Johnson Paul Weissman
Hardcover ISBN: 9780120885893
eBook ISBN: 9780080474984
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 14th December 2006
Page Count: 992
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Long before Galileo published his discoveries about Jupiter, lunar craters, and the Milky Way in the Starry Messenger in 1610, people were fascinated with the planets and stars around them. That interest continues today, and scientists are making new discoveries at an astounding rate. Ancient lake beds on Mars, robotic spacecraft missions, and new definitions of planets now dominate the news. How can you take it all in? Start with the new Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Second Edition.

This self-contained reference follows the trail blazed by the bestselling first edition. It provides a framework for understanding the origin and evolution of the solar system, historical discoveries, and details about planetary bodies and how they interact—and has jumped light years ahead in terms of new information and visual impact. Offering more than 50% new material, the Encyclopedia includes the latest explorations and observations, hundreds of new color digital images and illustrations, and more than 1,000 pages. It stands alone as the definitive work in this field, and will serve as a modern messenger of scientific discovery and provide a look into the future of our solar system.

Key Features

· Forty-seven chapters from 75+ eminent authors review fundamental topics as well as new models, theories, and discussions · Each entry is detailed and scientifically rigorous, yet accessible to undergraduate students and amateur astronomers · More than 700 full-color digital images and diagrams from current space missions and observatories amplify the chapters · Thematic chapters provide up-to-date coverage, including a discussion on the new International Astronomical Union (IAU) vote on the definition of a planet · Information is easily accessible with numerous cross-references and a full glossary and index


Scientists, teachers, interested laypeople, and students of planetary science, astronomy, astrophysics, planetary geology, meteorology, and atmospheric and magnetospheric sciences.

Table of Contents



The Solar System and Its Place in the Galaxy
Paul R. Weissman
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA

The Origin of the Solar System
Alex N. Halliday
University of Oxford, UK
John E. Chambers
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, California, USA

A History of Solar System Studies
David Leverington
BAE Systems, UK (Retired)

The Sun
Markus J. Aschwanden
Lockheed-Martin ATC, Palo Alto, California, USA

The Solar Wind
John T. Gosling
University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Robert G. Strom
University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

Venus: Atmosphere
Donald M. Hunten
University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

Venus: Surface and Interior
Suzanne E. Smrekar
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Ellen R. Stofan
Proxemy Research, Bowie, Maryland, USA

Earth as a Planet: Atmosphere and Oceans
Timothy E. Dowling
University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Adam Showman
University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

Earth as a Planet: Surface and Interior
David C. Pieri
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Adam M. Dziewonski
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA <BR id=""CRL


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© Academic Press 2007
Academic Press
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About the Editor

Lucy-Ann McFadden

Lucy McFadden is a planetary scientist at the University of Maryland. She was the founding director of the College Park Scholars Program, Science, Discovery and the Universe. She has published over 75 articles in refereed journals and has been co-investigator on NASA’s NEAR, Deep Impact and Dawn missions exploring asteroids and comets. She has served on committees on solar system exploration for the National Academy of Sciences, and on the editorial board of Icarus.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Maryland, College Park, U.S.A.

Torrence Johnson

Torrence V. Johnson is a specialist on icy satellites in the solar system. He has written over 130 publications for scientific journals. He received a Ph.D. in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology and is now the Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was the Project Scientist for the Galileo mission and is currently an investigator on the Cassini mission. He is the recipient of two NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medals and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Padua, where Galileo made his first observations of the solar system.

Affiliations and Expertise

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA

Paul Weissman

Paul R. Weissman is a Senior Research Scientist at JPL, specializing in comets. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers and 30 popular articles. He is also the co-author, with Alan Harris, of a children’s book on the Voyager mission. Dr. Weissman received his doctorate in planetary and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles. His work includes both theoretical and observational studies of comets, investigating their orbital motion, their physical make-up, and the threat they pose due to possible impacts on the Earth. Dr. Weissman is an Interdisciplinary Scientist on ESA’s Rosetta mission to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Affiliations and Expertise

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A.


"Encyclopedia of the Solar System, as a title, is almost on a par with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and, come to the think of it, the content is almost as mind-blowing." -Satellite Evolution Group, September 2007 "The editors have brought together an awesome amount of information authored by a Who's Who of planetary science." -Sky and Telescope, July 2007 "The book is a delight to hold and view, printed in glorious colour on quality paper. This is one of those books you just have to own. ...The editors of this work have made a commitment to keep it current... It is a tome I would recommend to any with a love of information on our neighborhood -- the Solar System." --David O'Driscoll, AAQ Nesletter "Everything you want to know about the solar system is here. Let your fingers be the spacecraft as you thumb through this book visiting all the planets, moons and other small objects in the solar system. This is the perfect reference book, lavishly illustrated and well-written. The editors and authors have done a magnificent job." -From the Foreword by WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, JR., Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institute of Washington "The Encyclopedia offers remarkably clear descriptions of the diverse objects that comprise the solar system. The authors succeed brilliantly at combining the latest results from spacecraft missions and Earth-based observations with thoughtful interpretations of the processes that have shaped solar system evolution." -MARIA T. ZUBER, E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology "I expect members of the planetary science community will use this book to brush up on subjects outside their own specialty. This book reminds me how rapidly planetary science is evolving. This second edition comes