4th Edition

Michael A. Seeds, Dana Backman, Eric Wegryn

ISBN-13: 9780357976753
Copyright 2025 | Not Yet Published (2024-05-01)
544 pages | List Price: USD $95.00

Seeds/Backman/Wegryn's ASTRO: EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE, 4th EDITION, helps you understand your place in the universe and how scientists work. Chapter-opening "Guideposts" and a conversational writing style make the content accessible and help you acquire an understanding of the universe and your place in it, rather than just memorizing basic facts. Online resources let you study where and when you want to help you get the grade you want.


1. Here and Now.
Where Are We?
When Is Now?
Why Study Astronomy?
2. A User's Guide to the Sky.
The Stars.
The Sky: Its Motions and Cycles.
3. Cycles of the Sun and Moon.
Cycles of the Sun.
Astronomical Influences on Earth's Climate.
The Changeable Moon.
4. The Origin of Modern Astronomy.
Prehistoric Astronomy.
Classical Astronomy.
The Copernican Revolution.
Planetary Motion.
Galileo Galilei.
Isaac Newton and Orbital Motion.
5. Light and Telescopes.
Radiation: Information from Space.
Telescopes. Observatories on Earth: Optical and Radio.
Airborne and Space Observatories.
Astronomical Instruments and Techniques.
6. Atoms and Spectra.
Interactions of Light and Matter.
Understanding Spectra.
7. The Solar System: A Cosmic Family Portrait
The Great Chain of Origins.
A Family Portrait of the Solar System.
A Recipe for Planets.
8. Earth and Moon: Bases for Comparative Planetology.
A Travel Guide to the Terrestrial Planets.
Planet Earth.
The Moon.
9. Mercury, Venus, and Mars.
10. The Giant Planets
A Travel Guide to the Outer Solar System.
11. Comets, Asteroids, Meteorites
Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites.
Asteroid and Comet Impacts.
12. The Sun.
The Solar Atmosphere.
Solar Activity.
Nuclear Fusion in the Sun.
13. The Family of Stars.
Star Distances.
Apparent Brightness, Intrinsic Brightness, and Luminosity.
Stellar Spectra.
Star Sizes.
Star Masses--Binary Stars.
A Census of the Stars.
14. The Formation of Stars and Planets.
The Interstellar Medium.
Making Stars from the Interstellar Medium.
Young Stars and Disks.
15. Stellar Structure and Evolution.
Stellar Structure and Nuclear Fusion.
Main-Sequence Stars.
After the Main Sequence
Lower-Main-Sequence Stars.
The Evolution of Binary Systems.
16. Supernovas, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes.
The Deaths of Massive Stars.
Neutron Stars.
Black Holes.
Power Unleashed.
17. The Milky Way Galaxy.
Discovery of the Galaxy.
Structure of the Galaxy.
Spiral Arms and Star Formation.
The Nucleus of the Galaxy.
Origin and History of the Milky Way Galaxy.
18. Galaxies: Normal and Active.
The Family of Galaxies.
Measuring the Properties of Galaxies.
The Evolution of Galaxies.
Active Galactic Nuclei.
Supermassive Black Holes.
19. Modern Cosmology.
Introduction to the Universe.
The Big Bang Theory.
Space and Time, Matter and Energy.
Twenty-First-Century Cosmology.
20. Extrasolar Planets: Worlds Around Other Suns
Properties and Formation of the Solar System, Reprise
Discovering Extrasolar Planets
Extrasolar Planets Zoology
21. Astrobiology: Life on Other Worlds.
The Nature of Life.
Life in the Universe.
Intelligent Life in the Universe.
Appendix A Units and Astronomical Data.
Appendix B Observing the Sky.
Answers to Even-Numbered Problems.

  • Michael A. Seeds

    Mike Seeds was a professor of physics and astronomy at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1970 until his retirement in 2001. In 1989 he received F&M College’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Mike’s love for the history of astronomy led him to create upper-level courses on archaeoastronomy and on the Copernican Revolution (“Changing Concepts of the Universe”). His research interests focused on variable stars and automation of astronomical telescopes. Mike is coauthor with Dana Backman of Horizons: Exploring the Universe, 12th edition (2012); Universe: Solar Systems, Stars, and Galaxies, 7th edition (2012); Stars and Galaxies, 8th edition (2013); The Solar System, 8th edition (2013); and ASTRO, 2nd edition (2013), all published by Cengage. He was senior consultant for creation of the 20-episode telecourse accompanying his book Horizons: Exploring the Universe.

  • Dana Backman

    Dana Backman taught in the physics and astronomy department at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1991 until 2003. He invented and taught a course titled “Life in the Universe” in F&M’s interdisciplinary Foundations program. Dana now teaches introductory Solar System astronomy at Santa Clara University and introductory astronomy, astrobiology, and cosmology courses in Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. His research interests focus on infrared observations of planet formation, models of debris disks around nearby stars, and evolution of the solar system’s Kuiper belt. Dana is employed by the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, as director of education and public outreach for SOFIA (the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Dana is coauthor with Mike Seeds of Horizons: Exploring the Universe, 14th edition (2018); Universe: Solar Systems, Stars, and Galaxies, 7th edition (2012); Stars and Galaxies, 8th edition (2013); The Solar System, 8th edition (2013); and ASTRO, 2nd edition (2013), all published by Cengage.

  • Eric Wegryn

  • Expanded from 15 to 21 chapters and reorganized to follow a Solar System, then Stars and Galaxies order.

  • Reviewed and updated with new discoveries, images, figures and exhibits. A new chapter (Chapter 20) has been added regarding extrasolar planets, including new information from the Kepler and TESS space telescopes, plus ground-based research programs.

  • Chapter Four (The Origin of Modern Astronomy) contains an introductory subsection 4-1, Prehistoric Astronomy, regarding archaeoastronomy and non-European astronomy. The Mars retrograde loops figure in "Concept Art" 4A is updated through the year 2027.

  • Chapter Five (Light and Telescopes) features new and planned observatory facilities, including the James Webb Space Telescope and the Tianyan radio telescope.

  • Chapter Seven (The Solar System) includes a discussion of planet orbital migration.

  • Chapter Eight (Earth and Moon) contains an expanded treatment of fundamental geological processes.

  • Chapter Nine (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) contains a new "Concept Art" spread regarding space exploration.

  • "Concept Art" in Chapter 10 (The Giant Planets), regarding rings of the Jovian planets, is consolidated into one two-page spread, and a new "Concept Art" regarding the Galilean satellites of Jupiter and several active satellites of Saturn is included. Content regarding Pluto and the Kuiper Belt has moved from Chapter 10 to Chapter 11 (Comets, Asteroids, and Meteorites).

  • Chapter 16 (Supernovas, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes) contains a subsection 16-4, Power Unleashed. consolidating text and figures regarding accretion disks, jets, gamma-ray bursts and magnetars.

  • Chapter 17 (The Milky Way Galaxy) includes a new image and accompanying text regarding the Event Horizon Telescope image of Sgr A* in "Concept Art" 17A. In-text calculations of the Galaxy’s mass and end-of-chapter homework problems employ the most recent value for the distance to the center of the Galaxy.

  • Chapter 19 (Modern Cosmology) includes a discussion of a claimed detection of cosmological gravity waves, and subsequent careful reanalysis of the data by several research teams. The discussion serves as an object lesson of the care that professional scientists take to check their results and avoid wishful thinking.

  • The "Guidepost" feature on the opening page of each chapter helps students see the organization of the book by connecting the chapter with the preceding and following chapters. The short list of important questions highlights the learning objectives of the chapter.

  • "How Do We Know?" boxes help students understand how science works. Topics include the difference between hypothesis and a theory, the use of statistical evidence, the construction of scientific models and more.

  • "Concept Art" features are student-friendly means of covering topics that are strongly visual. They combine several ideas over two pages, providing an opportunity for students to process information visually and synthesize individual understanding. In-text Introductions to the "Concept Art" features alert students that there are a certain number of points and new terms to look for in both the introduction and in the features themselves. Color and numerical keys guide the student to the main concepts.

  • Common Misconceptions are highlighted to address and rectify popularly held misconceptions about astronomy.

  • "Practicing Science" boxes at the end of most chapter sections begin with questions designed to put students into the role of scientists considering how best to proceed as they investigate the cosmos. These questions serve a second purpose as a further review of how we know what we know. Many of the "Practicing Science" boxes end with a second question that points the student-as-scientist in a direction for further investigation.

  • "Celestial Profiles" directly compare planets with each other. Planetary scientists understand the planets not as isolated, unrelated bodies, but as siblings -- they have noticeable differences but many characteristics and a family history in common.

  • "What Are We?" features at the end of each chapter show how the chapter content helps explain our place in the cosmos.

  • "End-of-Chapter Summaries" review the key concepts of the chapter, highlighting key terms and equations to aid student study.

  • "End-of-Chapter Review Questions" are designed to help students review and test their understanding of the material. "Discussion Questions" go beyond the text and invite students to think critically and creatively about scientific questions. "End-of-Chapter Problems" promote quantitative understanding of the chapter contents. "Learning to Look" questions prompt students to answer questions based on observations of visual evidence shown in diagrams or photographs. The "End -of-Chapter Review Questions," "Discussion Questions," "End-of-Chapter Problems" and "Learning to Look" questions in each chapter have been renumbered in a single continuous series.

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.

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