Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier by John D. Fix pdf free download.
This is a text for an introductory astronomy course. One of the main goals is to give a broad and deep enough background in astronomy so that students will be able to follow current developments in the subject years after they complete the course. This book presumes that most of its readers are not science majors and that they probably have not had a college-level science or mathematics course. It gives a complete description of current astronomical knowledge, although not at an extreme technical level nor in a way that fails to communicate the quantitative nature of physical science. Finally, the historical development of astronomy is emphasized to show that astronomy, like other sciences, advances through the efforts of many scientists, and to show how present ideas have been developed. – The book includes up-to-date results for the Mars Global Surveyor, with discussion of distant supernovas and the cosmological constant. – The free CD-ROM takes students further into the information they need to know: quizzing and animations lead the way to understanding. – New formulas and equations are presented as boxed features, so that the maths and physics involved are not ignored but made accessible through careful explanations and examples.
I have taught astronomy in high school and college for 25 years, and for the last 7 – I have used John Fix’s Astronomy. The text is clear, easy to read and does not assume a great deal from the reader in the way of advanced knowledge of physics or astronomy.
The suplemental materials and on-line interactives are first rate, and I especially like the historical perspective of the rise of Western Astronomy from across many cultures.
If I could change anything, I would add a better section on geometric optics (lens and mirror theory, ray diagrams, how a telescope and binocular work, etc.), and a more comprehensive section on Einstein’s Relativity – especially on the curvature of spacetime.
Any beginning student or instructor would do well to use this text – an excellent value. Do not however, get the edition with Starry Night software – overpriced and cumbersome. I use free planetarium software from Stellarium.org in my classes – it saves students money and works just as well.
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