Chapter 7 Other Worlds: An Introduction to the Solar System
For Further Exploration
Davidson, K. “Carl Sagan’s Coming of Age.” Astronomy. (November 1999): 40. About the noted popularizer of science and how he developed his interest in astronomy.
Garget, J. “Mysterious Microworlds.” Astronomy. (July 2005): 32. A quick tour of a number of the moons in the solar system.
Hartmann, W. “The Great Solar System Revision.” Astronomy. (August 1998): 40. How our views have changed over the past 25 years.
Kross, J. “What’s in a Name?” Sky & Telescope. (May 1995): 28. How worlds are named.
Rubin, A. “Secrets of Primitive Meteorites.” Scientific American. (February 2013): 36. What meteorites can teach us about the environment in which the solar system formed.
Soter, S. “What Is a Planet?” Scientific American. (January 2007): 34. The IAU’s new definition of a planet in our solar system, and what happened to Pluto as a result.
Talcott, R. “How the Solar System Came to Be.” Astronomy. (November 2012): 24. On the formation period of the Sun and the planets.
Wood, J. “Forging the Planets: The Origin of our Solar System.” Sky & Telescope. (January 1999): 36. Good overview.
Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature: http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/. Outlines the rules for naming bodies and features in the solar system.
Planetary Photojournal: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/index.html. This NASA site features thousands of the best images from planetary exploration, with detailed captions and excellent indexing. You can find images by world, feature name, or mission, and download them in a number of formats. And the images are copyright-free because your tax dollars paid for them.
The following sites present introductory information and pictures about each of the worlds of our solar system:
- NASA/JPL Solar System Exploration pages: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/index.cfm.
- National Space Science Data Center Lunar and Planetary Science pages: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/.
- Nine [now 8] Planets Solar System Tour: http://www.nineplanets.org/.
- Planetary Society solar system pages: http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/compare/.
- Views of the Solar System by Calvin J. Hamilton: http://www.solarviews.com/eng/homepage.htm.
Brown Dwarfs and Free Floating Planets: When You Are Just Too Small to Be a Star: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXCDsb4n4KU. A nontechnical talk by Gibor Basri of the University of California at Berkeley, discussing some of the controversies about the meaning of the word “planet” (1:32:52).
In the Land of Enchantment: The Epic Story of the Cassini Mission to Saturn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx135n8VFxY. A public lecture by Dr. Carolyn Porco that focuses mainly on the exploration of Saturn and its moons, but also presents an eloquent explanation of why we explore the solar system (1:37:52).
Origins of the Solar System: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/origins-solar-system.html. A video from PBS that focuses on the evidence from meteorites, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson (13:02).
To Scale: The Solar System: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=84&v=zR3Igc3Rhfg. Constructing a scale model of the solar system in the Nevada desert (7:06).