Cover image for Introductory astronomy
Introductory astronomy
Holliday, Keith.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chichester ; New York : Wiley, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 314 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB43.2 .H65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In writing this textbook the author's objective was to provide students with a non-trivial, reasonably priced introduction to astronomy. Starting with problems astronomers face on Earth connected with observation, the book then moves on to cover the Solar System, galaxies and finally cosmology, one of the most exciting and fastest developing areas of astronomy. Up-to-date and carefully structured Introductory Astronomy has a strong narrative thread running through it; concepts are gradually introduced and subsequently built upon in later chapters. The science behind the subject is integrated and presented in a way that allows readers to gain a thorough understanding of the subject without being blinded by unnecessary mathematical detail or scientific theory. Throughout the book there are plenty of worked examples, problems, figures and photographs.


A balanced coverage of the field of astronomy. Many carefully chosen worked examples and problems. Clear exposition of the science behind astronomy.

CONTENTS: Introduction; Light; Seeing into Space; The View From Earth; The Sun, the Stars and Time; Observation of the Solar System; Gravity and the Solar System; The Origin of the Solar System; A Closer Look at the Terrestrial Planets; A Closer Look at the Jovian Planets; The Sun; Studying Stars; Stellar Birth and Early Life; Stellar Evolution and Death; Galaxies; Cosmology; Appendices: Measurement and units; Atoms, ions and molecules; Ellipses; Historical milestones in astronomy; Compendium of astronomical data; Some fundamental physical constants; Multiple choice quiz; Short answers to selected questions; Index.

Author Notes

Dr Keith Holliday is a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics and Applied Physics in the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Holliday's entry into the somewhat crowded field of introductory astronomy books is distinguished by the presentation of many ideas argued from physical principles, and by the absence of the usual color illustrations. The book covers the requisite topics, from time and seasons to the solar system and eventually to galaxies and cosmology. Certain of the chapters are exceptionally well done; examples are those dealing with telescopes, the celestial sphere, and time. Each chapter ends with a series of exercises that draw on examples from the text, and which the more advanced reader could study with profit. The attention to detail seems excessive in the chapters dealing with the planets and their moons, especially since the later chapters on galaxies and cosmology are terse, the section on the Milky Way being especially disappointing. In the detailed areas, the book is good, and it is inexpensive in comparison with the more traditional texts. If one can afford the additional cost, books such as John D. Fix's Astronomy (2nd ed., 1999) or William J. Kaufmann's The Universe (1st ed., CH, May'85; 5th ed., 1999) offer a more satisfactory introduction to many of the topics, but neither provide Holliday's elegant discussion of the underlying physics. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. D. E. Hogg National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Table of Contents

Seeing into Space
The View from Earth
The Sun, the Stars and Time
Observation of the Solar System
Gravity and the Solar System
The Origin of the Solar System
A Closer Look at the Terrestrial Planets
A Closer Look at the Jovian Planets
The Sun
Studying Stars
Stellar Birth and Early Life
Stellar Evolution and Death