Features and Benefits

Pedagogical features enhance learning

  • Conceptual Understanding
    • Concept Checks are critical-thinking questions throughout each chapter that prompt students to reflect on the material just presented and to test their mastery of key concepts.
    • The Big Picture in each chapter explains how the chapter’s content fits in with an overall perspective on introductory astronomy, helping students see how each chapter is connected to a broad understanding of the universe. Big Pictures now tie to end of chapter questions.
    • Concept Link icons refer students back to previous sections in the text to help them understand how concepts are related, allowing them to more easily see the “big picture.”
    • The Big Question at the end of each chapter mirrors The Big Picture at the beginning by piquing student interest about current research. It identifies a critical unanswered question relating to chapter content, reinforcing that astronomy is still an evolving science.
    • Learning Outcomes, which are consistent with the AAS outcomes, are reinforced with helpful labels.
  • Skill Building
    • Process of Science Check questions throughout every chapter prompt students to consider how astronomers use various aspects of the process of science in their research.
    • Discovery boxes explore a wide variety of interesting supplementary topics, providing students with insight into how scientific knowledge evolves while emphasizing the process of science.
    • More Precisely boxes present mathematical information that the instructor can include or exclude in class discussions.
    • Spectrum icons accompany each photo in the text, identifying the wavelength used to capture the image and reinforcing for students how light influences the way we see things.
    • End-of-chapter sections include both collaborative and individual activities.

Art and visual aids supplement the material

  • Compound art employs multiple-part images to capture all aspects of a complex subject wherever possible, including images from various wavelengths, interpretive line drawings paired with astronomical photographs, and breakouts that zoom in or out from astronomical objects and phenomena.
  • Annotated art, newly introduced in this edition and appearing in at least half of the book’s figures, employs a proven educational research tool by integrating written and visual information to enhance student understanding of photos and diagrams.
  • Annotations are included for half of the figures in this text. Informed by education research, these annotations function much like the professor’s voice, interpreting and explaining the art for the student.
  • Additional scale markers have been added to visually help students understand the difficult-to-comprehend scale of the universe.

New features and updates in the 9th Edition

  • UPDATED! Updated science reflects current research and discoveries from the New Horizon mission on Pluto, the Mars Maven mission on Mars, to new discovery of a potentially habitable planet around Proxima Centauri.
  • NEW! New Big Picture emphasis prompts students to put topics in context throughout each chapter with a revised Big Picture chapter opener, revised end of chapter Big Question, and new end of chapter questions indicated by a BP icon.
  • REVISED! Learning Outcomes have been tightened and are now more concise, measurable, and testable.
  • NEW! New Data Points feature alerts students to the mistakes that students statistically make most often, and why.
  • REVISED! Individual chapters have been significantly revised to reflect new scientific content. In particular, Chapter 15 on Exoplanets, Chapters 10-12 on Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, Chapter 14 on Solar System Debris, and Chapter 22 on Neutron Stars and Black Holes have all been revised. Many chapters also include substantially improved imagery illustrating the text.
  • REVISED! End-of chapter material in all chapters has been significantly revised with restructured discussion sections, Big Picture questions, new conceptual questions, and new collaborative and individual activities.