A student-active introduction to astronomy, emphasizing inquiry learning so students will clearly understand our universe and the scientific method. Within-text and end-of-chapter questions check understanding of concepts and require the student to think critically through astronomy-based problems. 'Nature of Science' and 'Detectives on the Case' sections in each chapter encourage students to take on the role of a scientist and so develop an understanding of how scientific progress is made, leading students through a chain of arguments of forming and testing hypotheses, in the context of specific astronomical topics. By focusing on key topics, the student is able to develop a deeper understanding of the core areas of astronomy. Math is used to make intuitive points and kept simple by using a two-track system to first describe the logic of the calculation followed by a more detailed example. Simple illustrations support the text and step students through concepts visually.
George Greenstein is the Sidney Dillon Professor of Astronomy at Amherst College, Massachusetts. He is an accomplished writer, having written one textbook, three books on science for the general public and numerous magazine articles. One of his books won both the American Institute of Physics/US Steel science-writing award and the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science. Professor Greenstein is a recognized leader in the American Astronomical Society's effort to reform astronomy education in the United States. Some time ago he co-organized a series of workshops for department chairs of the most prestigious universities in the country, which led to a set of proposed goals for reform of introductory astronomy courses nationwide. Professor Greenstein's field of research interest is theoretical astrophysics.
Part I. Steps to Astronomy: 1. The sky; 2. The origins of astronomy; 3. Gravity and orbits; 4. Light; 5. The astronomers' tools: telescopes and space probes; Part II. The Solar System: 6. Introducing the Solar System; 7. The inner Solar System; 8. The outer Solar System; 9. Smaller bodies in the Solar System; 10. Planets beyond the Solar System; Part III. Stars: 11. Our Sun; 12. A census of stars; 13. The formation of stars and planets; 14. Stellar structure; 15. Stellar evolution and death; Part IV. Galaxies and the Universe: 16. The Milky Way galaxy; 17. Galaxies; 18. Cosmology; 19. Life in the Universe; Index.