Sixth Edition   ©2015

Discovering the Essential Universe

Neil F. Comins

  • ISBN-10: 1-4641-8170-5; ISBN-13: 978-1-4641-8170-2; Format: Paper Text, 560 pages

New Coverage
New findings
include the discovery of the Higgs particle, discoveries of extrasolar planets, findings from the Mars rover, Curiosity, and new models of supernovae explosions.

New chapter! Exoplanets (Chapter 5) captivates students with one of the most fascinating, emerging topics in astronomy. The new chapter follows Chapter 4, Formation of the Solar System—students learn how planets in our solar system evolved then explore the development of other planets.

New usage
of the altazimuth coordinate system helps students visualize their position in the cosmos (Chapter 1).

Expanded coverage
of the planetary satellites highlights our current understanding of the solar system.

New Learning Tools
Developed with extensive feedback from instructors and students, W.H. Freeman’s new online learning space offers:

  • Pre-built Units for each chapter, curated by experienced educators, with media for that chapter organized and ready to assign or customize to suit your course.
  • All online resources for the text in one location, including an interactive e-book, LearningCurve adaptive quizzing (see below), astronomy tutorials, image map activities, and more.
  • Intuitive and useful analytics, with a Gradebook that lets you see how your class is doing individually and as a whole.
  • A streamlined and intuitive interface that lets you build an entire course in minutes.


  • In a game-like format, LearningCurve adaptive and formative quizzing provides an effective way to students involved in the coursework. It offers:
  • A unique learning path for each student, with quizzes shaped by each individual’s correct and incorrect answers.
  • A Personalized Study Plan, to guide students’ preparation for class and for exams.
  • Feedback for each question with live links to relevant e-book pages, guiding students to the reading they need to do to improve their areas of weakness.

New Got It? questions help students gauge their understanding of big picture concepts related to the chapter topic. These questions often focus on common misunderstandings, helping students think their way through to dispelling misconceptions.

Focus Questions are now numbered and placed in the margins, making it easier for students to use them as guideposts for studying and easier for instructors to use them for assignments and assessments.