Horizons: Exploring the Universe,
14th Edition

Michael A. Seeds, Dana Backman

ISBN-13: 9781305960961
Copyright 2018 | Published
512 pages | List Price: USD $205.95

Focusing on two central questions -- "What are we?" and "How Do We Know?" -- HORIZONS: EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE, 14th Edition, helps you understand our 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 (rather than just memorize basic facts); and online resources let you study where and when you want, to best meet your individual learning style.


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 and Its Motion.
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.
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.
Atoms. Interactions of Light and Matter. Understanding Spectra.
7. The Sun.
The Solar Atmosphere. Solar Activity. Nuclear Fusion in the Sun.
8. 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.
9. The Formation and Structure of Stars.
The Interstellar Medium. Making Stars from the Interstellar Medium. Young Stellar Objects and Protostellar Disks. Stellar Structure and Nuclear Fusion. Main-Sequence Stars.
10. The Deaths of Stars.
Giant Stars. The Deaths of Lower-Main-Sequence Stars. The Evolution of Binary Systems. The Deaths of Massive Stars.
11. Neutron Stars and Black Holes.
Neutron Stars. Black Holes. Compact Objects with Disks and Jets.
12. 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.
13. Galaxies: Normal and Active.
The Family of Galaxies. Measuring the Properties of Galaxies. The Evolution of Galaxies. Active Galactic Nuclei. Supermassive Black Holes.
14. Modern Cosmology.
Introduction to the Universe. The Big Bang Theory. Space and Time, Matter and Energy. Twenty-First-Century Cosmology.
15. Origin of the Solar System and Extrasolar Planets.
The Great Chain of Origins. A Survey of the Solar System. The Story of Planet Building. Planets Orbiting Other Stars.
16. Earth and Moon: Bases for Comparative Planetology.
A Travel Guide to the Terrestrial Planets. Planet Earth. The Moon.
17. Mercury, Venus, and Mars.
Mercury. Venus. Mars.
18. The Outer Solar System.
A Travel Guide to the Outer Solar System. Jupiter. Saturn. Uranus. Neptune. Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
19. Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets.
Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites. Asteroids. Comets. Asteroid and Comet Impacts.
20. 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.

  • Every chapter has been reviewed and updated with new discoveries and images.

  • The lunar and solar eclipse tables in Chapter 3 have been updated to include eclipses through the year 2024.

  • The Mars retrograde loop figure in Chapter 4 (“The Origin of Modern Astronomy,” Concept Art 4A, “An Ancient Model of the Universe”), is updated to 2018.

  • New and planned observatory facilities, including the Thirty Meter Telescope, are featured in Chapter 5 (“Light and Telescopes”).

  • Solar cycle plots in Chapter 7 (“The Sun”) have been updated to 2016, and implications of the late start and weak maximum of the most recent solar activity cycle are discussed.

  • Chapter 11 (“Neutron Stars and Black Holes”) includes a description of the discovery of gravity waves from distant black hole mergers by the LIGO interferometer.

  • Chapter 12 (“The Milky Way Galaxy”) includes a new image of the galaxy’s circumnuclear ring orbiting a central supermassive black hole, obtained by an infrared camera onboard NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

  • Chapter 14 (“Modern Cosmology”) contains a discussion of the claimed detection of cosmological gravity waves in 2014 and subsequent careful reanalysis of the data by several research teams, as an object lesson in the care that professional scientists take to check their results and avoid wishful thinking.

  • Chapter 15 (“Origin of the Solar System and Extrasolar Planets”) has been updated with new information regarding the wide and wonderful variety of extrasolar planets discovered and studied by the Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes plus ground-based research programs.

  • Chapter 17 (“Mercury, Venus, and Mars”), Chapter 18 (“The Outer Solar System”), and Chapter 19 (“Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets”) are updated with new findings and images regarding Mercury, Mars, Ceres, Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and Pluto from the MESSENGER, Curiosity, Dawn, Rosetta-Philae, and New Horizons space missions, respectively.

  • Text-specific "Socratic" tutorials authored by Mike Seeds are consistent with the pedagogy and overall approach of the Seeds/Backman texts.

  • Mike Seeds' and Dana Backman's conversational and student-friendly writing style, places an emphasis on helping students acquire an understanding of the universe over rote memorization of basic facts.

  • Chapter opener "Guideposts" connect previous and future chapters to the material the students are about to read, highlighting "important questions" within that chapter to help motivate students to read.

  • "Guided Discovery Figures" lead students through several frames of art to demonstrate processes that occur over time, providing brief guiding comments as though the authors were explaining each frame to the student themselves.

  • "Concept art spreads" combine several ideas over two pages, providing an opportunity for students to process information visually and synthesize individual understanding.

  • Introductions to the Concept Art spreads alert students that there are a certain number of points and new terms to look for in both the introduction and in the art spreads themselves.

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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