Foundations of Astronomy

  • AUTHORS: Michael A. Seeds; Dana Backman
  • ISBN-13: 9781305079151 
  • Grade(s): 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
  • 688 Pages  Hardcover 
  • 13th Edition  |  Previous Editions: 2013
  • ©2016     Published
  • Prices are valid only in the respective region


About The Product

Fascinating, engaging, and extremely visual, FOUNDATIONS OF ASTRONOMY, Thirteenth Edition, emphasizes the scientific method throughout as it guides students to answer two fundamental questions: What are we? And how do we know? In addition to exploring the newest developments and latest discoveries in the exciting field of astronomy, authors Michael Seeds and Dana Backman discuss the interplay between evidence and hypothesis, providing both factual information and a conceptual framework for understanding the logic of science.


  • The authors focus strongly on the scientific method throughout the text, using astronomy as a way to explore and explain fundamental scientific principles and processes. For example, "How Do We Know?" boxes highlight great moments in science from various disciplines to illustrate the logical processes scientists use to learn about nature.
  • End-of-section "Doing Science" features help students review key concepts and hone critical thinking skills by considering how scientists construct logical arguments from observations, evidence, theories, and natural laws. Each feature includes a thoughtfully posed science question, sample answers to illustrate scientific reasoning, and a second question to allow students to construct their own argument.
  • A unique art program showcases this visual science in striking style, with hallmark Concept Art Spreads providing two-page visual summaries of key concepts covered in the text, Concept Figures combining art and text to help students synthesize information as a unified concept, Guided Discovery Figures showing sequential frames of art to demonstrate processes that occur over time, and H–R diagrams designed to help students grasp key ideas at a glance.
  • Whenever possible, the authors bring chapter content to life with captivating photographs from the Spitzer Infrared Observatory, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as images of Saturn, its rings, and its moons from the Cassini spacecraft.

About the Contributor

  • Michael A. Seeds

    Mike Seeds was a professor of physics and astronomy at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1970 until his retirement in 2001. In 1989 he received F&M College’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Mike’s love for the history of astronomy led him to create upper-level courses on archaeoastronomy and on the Copernican Revolution (“Changing Concepts of the Universe”). His research interests focused on variable stars and automation of astronomical telescopes. Mike is coauthor with Dana Backman of Horizons: Exploring the Universe, 12th edition (2012); Universe: Solar Systems, Stars, and Galaxies, 7th edition (2012); Stars and Galaxies, 8th edition (2013); The Solar System, 8th edition (2013); and ASTRO, 2nd edition (2013), all published by Cengage. He was senior consultant for creation of the 20-episode telecourse accompanying his book Horizons: Exploring the Universe.

  • Dana Backman

    Dana Backman taught in the physics and astronomy department at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1991 until 2003. He invented and taught a course titled “Life in the Universe” in F&M’s interdisciplinary Foundations program. Dana now teaches introductory Solar System astronomy at Santa Clara University and introductory astronomy, astrobiology, and cosmology courses in Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. His research interests focus on infrared observations of planet formation, models of debris disks around nearby stars, and evolution of the solar system’s Kuiper belt. Dana is employed by the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, as director of education and public outreach for SOFIA (the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Dana is coauthor with Mike Seeds of Horizons: Exploring the Universe, 14th edition (2018); Universe: Solar Systems, Stars, and Galaxies, 7th edition (2012); Stars and Galaxies, 8th edition (2013); The Solar System, 8th edition (2013); and ASTRO, 2nd edition (2013), all published by Cengage.

Table of Contents

Part 1: THE SKY.
1. Here and Now.
2. A User's Guide to the Sky.
3. Moon Phases and Eclipses.
4. Origins of Modern Astronomy.
5. Gravity.
6. Light and Telescopes.
Part 2: THE STARS.
7. Atoms and Spectra.
8. The Sun.
9. The Family of Stars.
10. The Interstellar Medium.
11. Formation and Structure of Stars.
12. Stellar Evolution.
13. Deaths of Stars.
14. Neutron Stars and Black Holes.
15. The Milky Way Galaxy.
16. Galaxies.
17. Supermassive Black Holes and Active Galaxies.
18. Modern Cosmology.
19. Origin of the Solar System and Extrasolar Planets.
20. Earth: The Active Planet.
21. The Moon and Mercury.
22. Venus and Mars.
23. Jupiter and Saturn.
24. Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and the Kuiper Belt.
25. Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets.
Part 5: LIFE.
26. Astrobiology.
Appendix A: Scientific Units and Astronomical Data.
Appendix B: Star Charts.

New to this Edition

  • All chapters now feature expanded end-of-chapter summaries and problem sets, as well as new and updated material on important topics such as blackbody radiation, Stefan-Boltzmann law, and Wien's law; the explanation of degenerate matter; and the top-down versus bottom-up galaxy formation hypothesis.
  • New chapter-opening photos throughout the text showcase spectacular astronomical imagery, adding to the text's strong visual appeal and helping to engage students' interest in chapter content.
  • New terms that are important or useful for students to know have been boldfaced in the text, added to end-of-chapter summaries, and defined in the glossary.
  • The authors have updated and reorganized chapter 19 and given it a new title reflecting its current focus: "Origin of the Solar System and Extrasolar Planets."
  • A versatile MindTap teaching and learning system is now available to support the text, providing a variety of useful resources, including assignable and gradable activities, pre- and post-learning assessments, and videos relevant to chapter material.

Alternate Formats

Choose the Format that Best Fits Your Student's Budget and Course Goals

  • Loose Leaf
    ISBN-10: 1305637984  | ISBN-13: 9781305637986
    Price = $79.00
  • WebAssign 1 Term (6 Months) + Loose-leaf
    ISBN-10:  130579141X  | ISBN-13:  9781305791411
    Price = $105.50
  • MindTap 2 Terms (12 Months) + Loose-leaf
    ISBN-10:  1337120340 | ISBN-13:  9781337120340
    Price = $113.00