This is the second edition of Discovering the Solar System (ISBN 0470018313) and is said to be essential reading for all undergraduate students for whom astronomy or planetary science are components of their degrees, but also suitable for people with a keen interest in astronomy.
A small amount of scientific knowledge is assumed in addition to the familiaritiy with basic algebra and graphs.
Discovering the Solar System is definitely not a book for those who want to see amazing pictures of the cosmos as this book is mainly textual with very few images, those that are included are in black and white, although the book does include a number of tables and diagrams to aid your understanding of the subject.
Discovering the Solar System contains 12 chapters and it begins by covering the Sun and its family, then the origin of the solar system including solar nebular theories and the formation of satellites and rings of the giant planets.
Further chapters discuss small bodies in the solar system such as asteroids, comets and meteorites. There are two chapters covering the interiors of planets and satellites from a observational and theoretical basis including gravitational and magnetic field data to the models of individual bodies, such as the terrestrial planets, satellites and the giant planets.
The following three chapters then cover the surfaces of planets and satellites including methods and processes such as processes that produce the surfaces of planetary bodies, weakly active surfaces of the Moon, Mercury, Mars and icy surfaces. Then there is a chapter on looking at active surfaces of the Earth, Venus, Io and Icy surface moons.
The final three chapers discuss the atmospheres of various objects including the planets and satellites, rocky and icy-rocky bodies and finally the atmospheres of the giant planets.
Overall Discovering the Solar System is a very technical and in-depth book containing a lot of mathematical equations and examples. It also includes essay style questions at the end of every chapter with answer guides in the back. The book also contains in-depth glossary at the rear. A great book on the theory behind our galaxy.