Preface
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Preface This book contains 924 problems, gleaned from quizzes, examinations , observational exercises, classroom discussions, and special assignments that I prepared during my teaching of an introductory course in Solar System Astronomy for seventeen years at the University of Iowa. The problems are loosely organized into seven chapters. They range in difficulty from ones requiring only simple factual knowledge to ones requiring significant understanding and analysis. Some are essentially repetitive but are recast in different forms. An answer is given to each problem with the exception of a few that require personal observation. I hope that this collection of problems will challenge beginning students of astronomy as well as self-taught amateurs and that it will be useful to hard-pressed instructors of courses comparable to mine. For instructors who have a justifiable aversion to multiple choice questions, I may note that most of my problems of this type can be readily converted to ones requiring short answers or reasoned discussion. My principal profession is that of a physicist, having had only one formal course in astronomy, as an undergraduate student in 1934 at Iowa Wesleyan College. I was freshly inspired to learn and teach Solar System Astronomy by my progressive involvement in interplanetary and planetary research beginning in 1958 and by the successive editions of George O. Abell's excellent textbook Exploration of the Universe. My more recent participation in the extended space missions of Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 under the auspices of the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has sustained my working dedication to the subject. viii / Preface I am especially indebted to Evelyn D. Robison and Alice M. Shank for working with me through an uncounted number of revisions and corrections and for preparation of the camera-ready copy of the completed manuscript. The figures were drawn by the skilled hand of John R. Birkbeck. James A. Van Allen Regent Distinguished Professor University of Iowa March 1993 ...