Encyclopedia of the Solar System

Encyclopedia of the Solar System

3rd Edition - April 24, 2014

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  • Editors: Tilman Spohn, Doris Breuer, Torrence Johnson
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124160347
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124158450

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The Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Third Edition—winner of the 2015 PROSE Award in Cosmology & Astronomy from the Association of American Publishers—provides a framework for understanding the origin and evolution of the solar system, historical discoveries, and details about planetary bodies and how they interact—with an astounding breadth of content and breathtaking visual impact. The encyclopedia includes the latest explorations and observations, hundreds of color digital images and illustrations, and over 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. New additions to the third edition reflect the latest progress and growth in the field, including past and present space missions to the terrestrial planets, the outer solar systems and space telescopes used to detect extrasolar planets.

Key Features

  • Winner of the 2015 PROSE Award in Cosmology & Astronomy from the Association of American Publishers
  • Presents 700 full-color digital images and diagrams from current space missions and observatories, bringing to life the content and aiding in the understanding and retention of key concepts.
  • Includes a substantial appendix containing data on planetary missions, fundamental data of relevance for planets and satellites, and a glossary, providing immediately accessible mission data for ease of use in conducting further research or for use in presentations and instruction.
  • Contains an extensive bibliography, providing a guide for deeper studies into broader aspects of the field and serving as an excellent entry point for graduate students aiming to broaden their study of planetary science.


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

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    I: The Solar System
    1. The Solar System and its Place in the Galaxy
      Paul Weissmann
    2. The Origin of the Solar System
      Alex Halliday and John Chambers
    3. Solar System Dynamics: Regular and Chaotic Motion
      Jack Lissauer and Carl Murray

    II: Fundamental Planetary Processes and Properties
    4. Planetary Impacts
      Richard Grieve, Gordon Osinski and Leonardo Tornabene
    5. Planetary Volcanism
      Lionel Wilson
    6. Magnetic Field Generation
      Sabine Stanley
    7. Planetary Magnetospheres
      Margaret Kivelson and Fran Bagenal
    8. Solar System Dynamics: Rotation of the Planets
      Veronique Dehant
    9. Evolution of Planetary Interiors
      Nicola Tosi
    10. Astrobiology
      Chris McKay and Wanda Davis

    III: The Sun
    11. The Sun
      Markus Aschwanden
    12. The Solar Wind
      John T. Gosling

    IV: Earthlike Planets
    13. Mercury
      Robert Strom, Scott Murchie, Ronald Vervack and Carolyn Ernst
    14. Venus Atmosphere
      Fred W. Taylor
    15. Venus: Surface and Interior
      Suzanne Smrekar and Ellen Stofan
    16. Mars Atmosphere: History and Surface Interactions
      David Catling
    17. Mars: Surface and Interior
      Michael Carr and Jim Bell
    18. Mars Interior
      Tim Van Hoolst
    19. Mars: Landing Site Geology, Minerology, and Geochemistry
      Matthew Golombeck and Harry McSween

    V: Earth and Moon as Planets
    20. Atmosphere and Oceans
      Adam Showman and Timothy Dowling
    21. Surface and Interior
      David Pieri and Adam Dziewonski
    22. Space Weather
      Janet Luhman and Stanley C. Solomon
    23. The Moon
      Harald Hiesinger and Ralf Jaumann
    24. Lunar Interior
      Renee Weber
    25. Lunar Exploration
      Ian Crawford, Mahesh Anand and Katherine Joy

    VI: Asteroids and Comets
    26. Main-Belt Asteroids
      Daniel Britt and Guy Consolmagno
    27. Near-Earth Objects
      Alan William Harris and Line Drube
    28. Meteorites
      Michael Lipschutz and Ludolf Schultz
    29. Solar System Dust
      Eberhard Grün and Harald Krüger
    30. Physics and Chemistry of the Comets
      John Brandt
    31. Comet Populations and Cometary Dynamics
      Harold Levision and Luke Dones

    VII: Giant Planets and their Satellites
    32. Atmospheres of the Giant Planets
      Robert West
    33. Interiors of the Giant Planets
      Mark Marley and Jonathan Fortney
    34. Planetary Satellites
      Bonnie Buratti and Peter Thomas
    35. Io: The Volcanic Moon
      Rosaly M.C. Lopes
    36. Europa
      Louise Prockter and Robert T. Pappalardo
    37. Ganymede and Callisto
      Geoffrey Collins and Torrence Johnson
    38. Titan
      Athena Coustenis
    39. Enceladus
      Carolyn Porco and Francis Nimmo
    40. Triton
      William B. McKinnon and Randolph Kirk
    41. Planetary Rings
      Matthew S. Tiscareno and Matt Hedman

    VIII: Beyond the Planets
    42. Pluto
    43. Kuiper Belt: Dynamics
      Alessandro Morbidelli and Harold Levision
    44. Kuiper Belt Objects: Physical Studies
      Steven Tegler
    45. Extra Solar Planets
      Michael Endl

    IX: Exploring the Solar System
    46. Strategies of Modern Solar System Exploration
      Berndt Feuerbacher and Bernhard Hufenbach
    47. A History of Solar System Studies
      Ulrich Koehler
    48. X-Rays in the Solar System
      Anil Bhardwaj and Carey Lisse
    49. The Solar System at Ultraviolet Wavelenghts
      Amanda Hendrix, Robert Nelson and Deborah Domingue
    50. Infrared Views of the Solar System from Space
      Mark Sykes
    51. New Generation Ground-Based Optical/Infrared Telescopes
      Alan Tokunaga and Robert Jedicke
    52. The Solar System at Radio Wavelengths
      Imke de Pater
    53. Planetary Radar
      Catherine Neish and Lynn Carter
    54. Remote Chemical Sensing Using Nuclear Spectroscopy
      Thomas H. Prettyman
    55. Probing the Interiors of Planets with Geophysical Tools
      William Bruce Banerdt, Suzanne Smrekar, Veronique Dehant, Philippe Lognonne and Matthias Grott
    56. Planetary Exploration Missions
      James Burke
    57. Stereophotogrammetry
      Jürgen Oberst, Klaus Gwinner and Frank Preusker
    Mission Table
      Tilman Spohn
    Physical Constants
      Tilman Spohn
    Planetary Data
      Tilman Spohn
    List of Satellites
      Tilman Spohn


Product details

  • No. of pages: 1336
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2014
  • Published: April 24, 2014
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124160347
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124158450

About the Editors

Tilman Spohn

Tilman Spohn
Tilman Spohn is director of the Institute of Planetary Research of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin, Germany and Professor of Planetology at theWestfa¨lische Wilhelms-University Mu¨nster, Germany. He specializes in the Thermodynamics of Planetary Interiors and in physical problems of Astrobiology and has written 140 papers for scientific journals and books. He is a Principal Investigator (PI) for MUPUS on the Rosetta Lander Philae, for BELA on BepiColombo, and the instrument PI for HP3 on the InSight mission. Spohn has served as member and chairperson of ESA scientific working and advisory groups and is presently a member of ESA’s HISPAC. He is the chairman of the science committee of the international Space Science Institute and has served as editor for Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Reviews of Geophysics, and the Treatise on Geophysics. He is the recipient of the 2013 EGU Runcorn-Florensky Medal and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Affiliations and Expertise

DLR Institut fur Planetenforschung, Berlin, Germany

Doris Breuer

Doris Breuer
Doris Breuer is Head of the Department of Planetary Physics at the Institute of Planetary Research of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin, Germany and an Associate Professor at the Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris, France. She specializes in the interior dynamics, thermo-chemical evolution and interior structure of terrestrial bodies. She has published over 60 articles in refereed journals, has been coinvestigator on ESA’s BepiColombo mission and has served on several ESA science definition teams and on the ESA Solar System Working Group.

Affiliations and Expertise

Institut für Planetenforschung, Berlin, Germany

Torrence Johnson

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

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  • Jan R. Mon Nov 26 2018


    Very comprehensive overview of our solar system