Astronomy Today, 9th Edition © 2018

Astronomy Today, published by Pearson. combines up-to-date scientific findings with innovative pedagogical tools. The authors’ genuine excitement about the subject keeps students engaged as they make continuous discoveries about the inner workings of the universe.

  • Big Pictures and Big Questions broaden students’ understanding
  • Emphasis on the process of discovery
  • This program is accompanied by the Pearson Mastering® platform with eText.

High School Astronomy Program with Digital Integration

Astronomy Today delivers interesting ideas through powerful tools built for today’s learners


Pedagogical Features Pique Student Interest

Concept Checks and Big Questions encourage students to think critically about what they are learning and show how astronomy is still a developing science with more to discover.


Updated Scientific Findings

Recent findings from the New Horizon’s flyby of Pluto and Mars Maven’s atmospheric studies, plus the discovery of a potentially habitable planet near Proxima Centauri have been added into the program.


Art and Visual Aids Reinforce the Textbook

Compound and Annotated Artworks appear regularly to clarify complex ideas and enhance students’ understanding.


Build Skills in Scientific Thinking

Process of Science Check Questions presented throughout the chapters help students practice fundamental scientific principles and show their broad applications in astronomy.

High School Astronomy Teaching Solutions

  • New Features and Updates in the 9th Edition
  • Building a Scientific Mindset
  • Visual Aids Help Students Understand the Material
  • Learning Outcomes
    The Learning Outcomes have been made more concise, measurable, and testable for easier use as part of the course.
  • New Data Points Feature
    A new Data Points feature harnesses the power of big data to show students common mistakes and why they are made.
  • Revisions
    Significant revisions to individual chapters reflect new scientific findings. Many chapters also feature substantially improved imagery illustrating the text.
  • Updated Discussions and Questions
    We revised the discussion sections and Big Picture questions at the end of each chapter to better serve the students.
  • Improved Understanding
    New conceptual questions and collaborative and individual activities guide students to improved understanding of the material.
  • Process of Science Questions
    Process of Science Check questions in every chapter ask students to consider how astronomers use the scientific method in research.
  • Discovery Boxes
    Discovery boxes explore interesting supplementary topics to emphasize the process of science and show how the field evolves.
  • More Precisely Boxes
    More Precisely boxes present mathematical information instructors could include in class discussions.
  • Spectrum Icons
    Spectrum icons accompany each photo in the text to identify the wavelength that captured the image and reinforce how light influences the way we see things.
  • Compound Art
    Compound art uses multiple-part images to capture all aspects of a complex subject if possible. These can include pictures from various wavelengths, interpretive line drawings paired with astronomical photographs, and breakouts that zoom in or out from astronomical objects and phenomena.
  • Annotated Art
    New to this edition, annotated art dives deep into the material through a synthesis of written and visual information.
  • Annotated Figures
    Annotations accompany over half the figures in the text, helping to interpret and explain what students are seeing.

Take a Deeper Look at Astronomy Today



Get to know Astronomy Today  with Mastering® Astronomy with Pearson eText.

Online Platform for your Astronomy Curriculum

Pearson Mastering® Astronomy provides individualized learning and resources that help students and teachers engage in the class.

Next Generation Science Standards

Our solutions are designed to support and correlate to the Next Generation Science Standards.

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More About Astronomy Today

  • Eric Chaisson Author Bio
    Eric holds a doctorate in astrophysics from Harvard University, where he spent 10 years on the faculty of Arts and Sciences. For more than two decades thereafter, he served on the senior science staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute and held various professorships at Johns Hopkins and Tufts universities. He is now back at Harvard, where he teaches and conducts research at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Eric has written 12 books on astronomy and has published nearly 200 scientific papers in professional journals.
  • Steve McMillan Author Bio
    Steve holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics from Cambridge University and a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University. He held postdoctoral positions at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University, where he continued his research in theoretical astrophysics, star clusters, and high-performance computing. Steve is currently Department Head and Distinguished Professor of Physics at Drexel University and a frequent visiting researcher at Leiden University and Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. He has published more than 100 articles and scientific papers in professional journals.
  • Emily L. Rice Author Bio
    Emily holds bachelor’s degrees in physics & astronomy and German from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics from UCLA. She held a postdoctoral position at the American Museum of Natural History, where she is now a resident research associate. Emily is currently Assistant Professor at the College of Staten Island and doctoral faculty in physics at the Graduate Center, both part of the City University of New York. She studies low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and exoplanets with the Brown Dwarfs in New York City (BDNYC) group.
  • Table of Contents


    1. Charting the Heavens: The Foundations of Astronomy
    2. The Copernican Revolution: The Birth of Modern Science
    3. Radiation: Information from the Cosmos
    4. Spectroscopy: The Inner Workings of Atoms
    5. Telescopes: The Tools of Astronomy


    1. The Solar System: An Introduction to Comparative Planetology
    2. Earth: Our Home in Space
    3. The Moon and Mercury: Scorched and Battered Worlds
    4. Venus: Earth’s Sister Planet
    5. Mars: A Near Miss for Life?
    6. Jupiter: Giant of the Solar System
    7. Saturn: Spectacular Rings and Mysterious Moons
    8. Uranus and Neptune: The Outer Worlds of the Solar System
    9. Solar System Debris: Keys to Our Origin
    10. The Formation of Planetary Systems: The Solar System and Beyond


    1. The Sun: Our Parent Star
    2. The Stars: Giants, Dwarfs, and the Main Sequence
    3. The Interstellar Medium: Gas and Dust among the Stars
    4. Star Formation: A Traumatic Birth
    5. Stellar Evolution: The Life and Death of a Star
    6. Stellar Explosions: Novae, Supernovae, and the Formation of the Elements
    7. Neutron Stars and Black Holes: Strange States of Matter


    1. The Milky Way Galaxy: A Spiral in Space
    2. Galaxies: Building Blocks of the Universe
    3. Galaxies and Dark Matter: The Large-Scale Structure of the Cosmos
    4. Cosmology: The Big Bang and the Fate of the Universe
    5. The Early Universe: Toward the Beginning of Time
    6. Life in the Universe: Are We Alone?

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