Our Celestial Neighbors: An Exploration of the Solar System

Product Details
Author(s): David Allen Wood
ISBN: 9781644960271
Edition: 1
Copyright: 2021
Available Formats
Format: GRLContent (online access)



Overview of
Our Celestial Neighbors: An Exploration of the Solar System


Human beings have always been fascinated by the lights in the sky. Most of these lights are stars and they appear to be fixed with respect to each other. Seven objects do appear to move against the background stars: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Occasionally meteors and bright comets offer a temporary change of scenery. All of these objects appear to move because of their proximity to Earth. Today, we characterize the Sun and everything that orbits it as a single star system; or more colloquially, the Solar System.


In this textbook, you will explore the Solar System from several different vantage points. First, you will see the Solar System from a wide view, placed in context within the Milky Way galaxy and the universe. Later you will explore its motions from the perspective of ancient astronomers confined to Earth. Finally, you will explore it in detail through the eyes of our robotic spacecraft, visiting each major planet, several of the important minor moons, and the Sun. By the time you finish this textbook, it is my fervent hope that you will have developed a deeper appreciation of our celestial neighborhood and humanity’s place within it.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Solar System

Chapter 2 The Scientific Method

Chapter 3 History of Astronomy

Chapter 4 Motions of the Sun

Chapter 5 Motions of the Moon

Chapter 6 Motions of the Planets

Chapter 7 Energy and Gravity

Chapter 8 Light and Spectroscopy

Chapter 9 Terrestrial Planet Atmospheres

Chapter 10 Terrestrial Planet Surfaces

Chapter 11 Terrestrial Planet Interiors

Chapter 12 The Moon

Chapter 13 Jovian Planets

Chapter 14 Moons of the Solar System

Chapter 15 Small Worlds

Chapter 16 The Sun

Chapter 17 Formation of the Solar System

Chapter 18 Life in the Solar System and Beyond