Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals, The, 2nd edition

  • Jeffrey O. Bennett
  • Megan O. Donahue
  • Nicholas Schneider
  • Mark Voit

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For one-semester college courses in Introductory Astronomy.

This package includes MasteringAstronomy.

Teaching the Process of Science through Astronomy

Inspired by an activities-based classroom approach, The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals is the briefest introduction to astronomy in the Bennett series. By focusing on the process of science and fundamental concepts of astronomy, The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals allows time for the use of other instructional tools in the course. Each concisely written chapter is formatted into two main sections followed by a Process of Science section, making learning targeted and expectations clear for students.


The Second Edition of The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals presents recent dramatic advances in astronomy and how they change our understanding of the cosmos. This new editionfocuses on essential subjects of astronomy chosen for their importance to the field, interest, and engagement level, using goal-oriented lessons and practical tools tobring astronomy to life. The textbook is now supported in MasteringAstronomy to create an unrivalled learning suite for students and instructors.


Personalize Learning with MasteringAstronomy

MasteringAstronomy is the leading online homework, tutorial, and assessment system, designed to improve results by engaging students before, during, and after class with powerful content. Instructors ensure students arrive ready to learn by assigning educationally effective content before class, and encourage critical thinking and retention with in-class resources. Students can further master concepts after class through traditional and adaptive homework assignments that provide hints and answer-specific feedback. The Mastering gradebook records scores for all automatically graded assignments in one place, while diagnostic tools give instructors access to rich data to assess student understanding and misconceptions. Mastering brings learning full circle by continuously adapting to each student and making learning more personal than ever—before, during, and after class.

 0133858642 / 9780133858648 The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals Plus MasteringAstronomy with eText,  Access Card Package:

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  • 0133889564 / 9780133889567 Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals, The
  • 0133905306 / 9780133905304 MasteringAstronomy with Pearson eText -- ValuePack Access Card -- for The Cosmic Perspective Fundamentals
  • 0321712951 / 9780321712950 Starry Night College Student Access Code Card
  • 0321765184 / 9780321765185 SkyGazer 5.0 Student Access Code Card (Integrated component)

Table of contents

Chapter 1: A Modern View of the Universe

1.1 The Scale of the Universe

  • What is our place in the universe?
  • How big is the universe?

Tools of Science: Doing the Math

1.2 The History of the Universe

  • How did we come to be?
  • How do our lifetimes compare to the age of the universe?

1.3 The Process of Science in Action: Defining Planets

  • What is a planet?


Chapter 2: Understanding the Sky

2.1 Understanding the Seasons

  • What causes the seasons?
  • Why do the constellations we see depend on the time of year?

2.2 Understanding the Moon

  • Why do we see phases of the Moon?
  • What causes eclipses?

Tools of Science: Angular Sizes and Distances

2.3 The Process of Science in Action: The Puzzle of Planetary Motion

  • Why did the ancient Greeks reject the real explanation for planetary motion?


Chapter 3: Changes in Our Perspective

3.1 From Earth-centered to Sun-centered

  • How did the Greeks explain planetary motion?
  • How did the Copernican revolution change our view of the universe?

3.2 Hallmarks of Science

Tools of Science: Telescopes

  • How can we distinguish science from nonscience?
  • What is a scientific theory?

3.3 The Process of Science in Action: The Fact and Theory of Gravity

  • How does the fact of gravity differ from the theory of gravity?


Chapter 4: Origin of the Solar System

4.1 Characteristics of the Solar System

  • What does the solar system look like?
  • What features of our solar system provide clues to how it formed?

Tools of Science: Conservation Laws

4.2 The Birth of the Solar System

  • What theory best explains the orderly patterns of motion in our solar system?
  • How does our theory account for the features of planets, moons, and small bodies?

4.3 The Process of Science in Action: The Age of the Solar System

  • How do we determine the age of Earth and the solar system?


Chapter 5: Terrestrial Planets

5.1 Terrestrial surfaces and atmospheres

  • What determines a world’s level of geological activity?
  • How does an atmosphere affect conditions for life?

Tools of Science: Basic Properties of Light

5.2 Histories of the Terrestrial Worlds

  • Why did the terrestrial worlds turn out so differently?
  • What unique features of Earth are important for life?

5.3 The Process of Science in Action: Global Warming

  • What is the evidence for global warming?


Chapter 6: The Outer Solar System

6.1 Jovian Planets, Rings and Moons

  • What are Jovian planets like?

Tools of Science: Newton’s Version of Kepler’s Third Law

Why are Jovian moons so geologically active?

6.2 Asteroids, Comets, and the Impact Threat

  • Why are asteroids and comets grouped into three distinct regions?
  • Do small bodies pose an impact threat to Earth?

6.3 The Process of Science in Action: Extinction of the Dinosaurs

  • Did an impact kill the dinosaurs?


Chapter 7: Planets Around Other Stars

7.1 Detecting planets around other stars

  • How do we detect planets around other stars?

Tools of Science: The Doppler Effect

  • What properties of extrasolar planets can we measure?

7.2 Characteristics of Extrasolar Planets

  • How do extrasolar planets compare with planets in our solar system?
  • Are Earth-like planets common?

7.3 The Process of Science in Action: Planets and the Nebular Theory

  • Do we need to modify our theory of solar system formation?


Chapter 8: The Sun and Other Stars

8.1 Properties of the Sun

  • Why does the Sun shine?
  • How does energy escape from the Sun?

Tools of Science: Spectroscopy

8.2 Properties of other stars

  • How do we measure the properties of stars?
  • What patterns do we find in the properties of stars?

8.3 The Process of Science in Action: Visualizing Patterns Among Stars

  • How did we discover the patterns in stellar properties?


Chapter 9: Stellar Lives

9.1 Lives in Balance

  • Why do stars shine so steadily?
  • Why do a star’s properties depend on its mass?

9.2 Star death

Tools of Science: Quantum Laws and Astronomy

  • What will happen when our Sun runs out of fuel?
  • How do high-mass stars end their lives?

9.3 The Process of Science in Action: Testing Stellar Models With Star Clusters

  • What do star clusters reveal about the lives of stars?


Chapter 10: The Bizarre Stellar Graveyard

10.1 White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars

  • What are white dwarfs?
  • What are neutron stars?

10.2 Black Holes

  • What are black holes?

Tools of Science: Einstein’s Theories of Relativity

  • What happens to space and time near a black hole?

10.3 The Process of Science in Action: Searching for Black Holes

  • Do black holes really exist?


Chapter 11: Galaxies

11.1 Our Galaxy: The Milky Way

  • What does our galaxy look like?

Tools of Science: Observing Different Kinds of Light

  • How did the Milky Way form?

11.2 GALAXIES beyond the Milky Way

  • What are the major types of galaxies?
  • Why do galaxies differ?

11.3 The process of science in action: Seeking Supermassive Black Holes

  • What is the evidence for supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies?


Chapter 12: Galaxy Distances and Hubble's Law

12.1 Measuring cosmic distances

  • How do we measure the distances to galaxies?

Tools of Science: Measuring Distances with Standard Candles

  • What is Hubble’s law?

12.2 The Implications of Hubble’s Law

  • In what sense is the universe expanding?
  • How do distance measurements tell us the age of the universe?

12.3 The Process of Science in Action: Observing galaxy evolution

  • What do we see when we look back through time?


Chapter 13: The Birth of the Universe

13.1 The Big Bang Theory

  • What were conditions like in the early universe?

Tools of Science: Particle Accelerators

  • How did the early universe change with time?

13.2 Evidence for the Big Bang

  • How do observations of the cosmic microwave background support the Big Bang Theory?
  • How do the abundances of elements support the big bang theory?

13.3 The Process of Science in Action: Inflation

  • Did the universe undergo an early episode of inflation?


Chapter 14: Dark Matter and Energy

14.1 Evidence for dark matter

  • What is the evidence for dark matter?

Tools of Science: The Orbital Velocity Law

  • What might dark matter be made of?

14.2 Gravity versus expansion

  • How did structures like galaxies form?
  • Will the universe continue expanding forever?

14.3 The Process of science in Action: Evidence for dark energy

  • What is the evidence for dark energy?


Chapter 15: Life in the Universe

15.1 The Search for Life in the Solar System

  • What are the necessities of life?
  • Could there be life elsewhere in our solar system?

15.2 The Search for Life Among the Stars

  • How can we identify habitable planets?

Tools of Science: Planetary Spacecraft

  • Is there intelligent life beyond Earth?

15.3 The Process of Science in Action: The Evolution of Earth and Beyond

  • What is the evidence for evolution?


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Published by Pearson (October 26th 2015) - Copyright © 2016