The Fictioning Horror Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Powell's Q&A | September 3, 2014

Emily St. John Mandel: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel



Describe your latest book. My new novel is called Station Eleven. It's about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$29.95
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
14 Local Warehouse Astronomy- General
25 Remote Warehouse Astronomy- General

From Dust to Life: The Origin and Evolution of Our Solar System

by

From Dust to Life: The Origin and Evolution of Our Solar System Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"As an astrophysicist credentialed in the days before the space era, I figured reading another book on the solar system would be a big yawn. Surprise! I couldn't have been more wrong! Here is an eye-opening up-to-date reconnaissance of what's in our part of the universe and how it has evolved. Along the way, this arresting account reveals how unique our planetary system really is."--Owen Gingerich, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"The origin of our solar system is among the hottest and most fascinating research topics in all of planetary science and astronomy. Chambers and Mitton have produced a compelling and up-to-date survey of this field that reads quickly and authoritatively and leaves no stone unturned in surveying the landscape of this vast and rich topic. I recommend it with gusto!"--Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute

"John Chambers is one of the world's leading authorities on the origin of the solar system, and here, together with Jacqueline Mitton, provides an engaging summary of the new discoveries for a wider audience. This book is unquestionably the most up-to-date and authoritative popular presentation of current thinking on the subject."--Philip J. Armitage, author of Astrophysics of Planet Formation

"There is no other book out there that discusses the origin of the solar system in this much detail yet is still accessible to nonscientists. Chambers and Mitton do an excellent job of keeping abreast of the notable discoveries in recent years."--Jane Luu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"An exciting and rewarding read from cover to cover. You come away feeling well-served and well-educated. This is a great book."--Erik Asphaug, University of California, Santa Cruz

Review:

"Planetary scientist Chambers and astronomy consultant Mitton trace the development of Western theories about the makeup of the solar system, from the Earth-centric model — which couldn't account for such problems as the retrograde movement of the planets — to the current eight-planet model. They admit that 'the jigsaw is not yet complete' (celestial bodies like asteroids, meteors, and comets remain imperfectly understood) but are convinced that science has come far enough to be certain of a great deal. Their painstaking explanations for lay readers outline the methods used for gauging such things as planetary age, as well as major theories about how our moon formed — the most widely accepted being that it broke off from Earth as a result of a collision with a giant meteor. They also briefly address the evolution of life on Earth and why we're not likely to find complex forms on other planets in our vicinity. While the book is intended for general readers, an understanding of basic physics and geology is helpful. Despite the authors' best efforts, some sections are not clearly explained, such as the one on 'resonances' in the asteroid belt. Still, there is much solid information to be gleaned from careful reading." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The birth and evolution of our solar system is a tantalizing mystery that may one day provide answers to the question of human origins. This book tells the remarkable story of how the celestial objects that make up the solar system arose from common beginnings billions of years ago, and how scientists and philosophers have sought to unravel this mystery down through the centuries, piecing together the clues that enabled them to deduce the solar system's layout, its age, and the most likely way it formed.

Drawing on the history of astronomy and the latest findings in astrophysics and the planetary sciences, John Chambers and Jacqueline Mitton offer the most up-to-date and authoritative treatment of the subject available. They examine how the evolving universe set the stage for the appearance of our Sun, and how the nebulous cloud of gas and dust that accompanied the young Sun eventually became the planets, comets, moons, and asteroids that exist today. They explore how each of the planets acquired its unique characteristics, why some are rocky and others gaseous, and why one planet in particular--our Earth--provided an almost perfect haven for the emergence of life.

From Dust to Life is a must-read for anyone who desires to know more about how the solar system came to be. This enticing book takes readers to the very frontiers of modern research, engaging with the latest controversies and debates. It reveals how ongoing discoveries of far-distant extrasolar planets and planetary systems are transforming our understanding of our own solar system's astonishing history and its possible fate.

About the Author

John Chambers is a planetary scientist in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science. Jacqueline Mitton is a writer, editor, and media consultant in astronomy. Her books include "Titan Unveiled: Saturn's Mysterious Moon Explored" (Princeton).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Preface xv

ONE Cosmic Archaeology 1

A fascination with the past 1

A solar system to explain 3

Real worlds 9

Winding back the clock 12

Putting the pieces together 16

TWO Discovering the Solar System 19

Measuring the solar system 19

From wandering gods to geometrical constructions 22

The Sun takes center stage 25

Laws and order 27

Gravity rules 29

The missing planet 31

Asteroids enter the scene 34

Rocks in space 36

Uranus behaving badly 37

Completing the inventory 40

THREE An Evolving Solar System 43

A changing world 43

A nebulous idea begins to take shape 44

The nebular hypothesis in trouble 48

A chance encounter? 50

Nebular theory resurrected 54

FOUR The Question of Timing 56

Reading the cosmic clock 57

Early estimates: ingenious--but wrong 57

Geology versus physics 58

Radioactivity changes everything 61

Hubble and the age of the universe 63

How radioactive timers work 64

Meteorites hold the key 68

Dating the Sun 71

The age of the universe revisited 73

FIVE Meteorites 75

A dramatic entrance 75

Where do meteorites come from? 76

Irons and stones 80

Identifying the parents 83

Lunar and Martian meteorites 86

A rare and precious resource 87

What meteorites can tell us 88

SIX Cosmic Chemistry 92

Element 43: first a puzzle then a clue 92

An abundance of elements 94

The first elements 96

Cooking in the stellar furnace 98

Building heavier elements 104

Supernovae 105

SEVEN A Star Is Born 108

A child of the Milky Way 108

Where stars are born 110

First steps to a solar system 113

The solar system's birth environment 119

Essential ingredients 121

EIGHT Nursery for Planets 123

An excess of infrared 123

Two kinds of disks 125

Inside the solar nebula 129

Getting the dust to stick 131

The influence of gas 134

How to build planetesimals 135

The demise of the disk 137

NINE Worlds of Rock and Metal 140

Sisters but not twins 140

The era of planetesimals 141

Planetary embryos take over 144

The final four 147

Earth 148

Mercury 153

Venus 158

Mars 161

TEN the Making of the Moon 168

The Moon today 169

What the Moon is made of 170

The Moon's orbit 172

The fission theory 174

The capture hypothesis 175

The coaccretion hypothesis 176

The giant impact hypothesis 177

Encounter with Theia 179

Earth, Moon, and tidal forces 181

Late heavy bombardment 183

ELEVEN Earth, Cradle of Life 186

The Hadean era 186

The tree of life 191

The building blocks of life 193

The rise of oxygen 196

A favorable climate 199

Snowball Earth 202

Future habitability 204

TWELVE Worlds of Gas and Ice 205

Giants of the solar system 205

Building giants by core accretion 211

The disk instability model 214

Spin and tilt 215

Masters of many moons 217

Formation of regular satellites 219

The origin of irregular satellites 220

Rings 221

THIRTEEN What Happened to the Asteroid Belt? 225

The asteroid belt today 225

Ground down by collisions? 226

Emptied by gravity? 229

Asteroid families 231

The missing mantle problem 233

Asteroids revealed as worlds 236

FOURTEEN The Outermost Solar System 242

Where do comets come from? 242

Centaurs 246

Looking beyond Neptune 247

The Kuiper belt 248

Sedna 251

The nature of trans-Neptunian

objects 252

Where have all the Plutos gone? 256

The Nice model 259

FIFTEEN Epilogue: Paradigms, Problems, and Predictions 263

The paradigm: solar system evolution in a nutshell 264

Unsolved puzzles 267

Searching the solar system for answers 268

Other planetary systems 271

Future evolution of the solar system 273

Glossary 277

Sources and Further Reading 291

Index 293

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691145228
Author:
Chambers, John
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Mitton, Jacqueline
Subject:
Astronomy
Subject:
Astronomy - General
Subject:
Astronomy and Cosmology
Subject:
Popular science
Subject:
Physics
Subject:
Earth Sciences
Series Volume:
The Origin and Evolu
Publication Date:
20131131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
41 halftones. 19 line illus. 7 tables.
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Astronomy » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Earth Sciences
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Astrophysics
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Meteorology

From Dust to Life: The Origin and Evolution of Our Solar System New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$29.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691145228 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Planetary scientist Chambers and astronomy consultant Mitton trace the development of Western theories about the makeup of the solar system, from the Earth-centric model — which couldn't account for such problems as the retrograde movement of the planets — to the current eight-planet model. They admit that 'the jigsaw is not yet complete' (celestial bodies like asteroids, meteors, and comets remain imperfectly understood) but are convinced that science has come far enough to be certain of a great deal. Their painstaking explanations for lay readers outline the methods used for gauging such things as planetary age, as well as major theories about how our moon formed — the most widely accepted being that it broke off from Earth as a result of a collision with a giant meteor. They also briefly address the evolution of life on Earth and why we're not likely to find complex forms on other planets in our vicinity. While the book is intended for general readers, an understanding of basic physics and geology is helpful. Despite the authors' best efforts, some sections are not clearly explained, such as the one on 'resonances' in the asteroid belt. Still, there is much solid information to be gleaned from careful reading." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , The birth and evolution of our solar system is a tantalizing mystery that may one day provide answers to the question of human origins. This book tells the remarkable story of how the celestial objects that make up the solar system arose from common beginnings billions of years ago, and how scientists and philosophers have sought to unravel this mystery down through the centuries, piecing together the clues that enabled them to deduce the solar system's layout, its age, and the most likely way it formed.

Drawing on the history of astronomy and the latest findings in astrophysics and the planetary sciences, John Chambers and Jacqueline Mitton offer the most up-to-date and authoritative treatment of the subject available. They examine how the evolving universe set the stage for the appearance of our Sun, and how the nebulous cloud of gas and dust that accompanied the young Sun eventually became the planets, comets, moons, and asteroids that exist today. They explore how each of the planets acquired its unique characteristics, why some are rocky and others gaseous, and why one planet in particular--our Earth--provided an almost perfect haven for the emergence of life.

From Dust to Life is a must-read for anyone who desires to know more about how the solar system came to be. This enticing book takes readers to the very frontiers of modern research, engaging with the latest controversies and debates. It reveals how ongoing discoveries of far-distant extrasolar planets and planetary systems are transforming our understanding of our own solar system's astonishing history and its possible fate.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.