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Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgments; List of symbols and abbreviations; 1. Light and magnitude; 2. Orbits and discovering minor planets; 3. Meteorites, minerals, and isotopes; 4. Reflectance spectroscopy and asteroid taxonomy; 5. Physical properties and families; 6. Comets and outer Solar System bodies; 7. Near-Earth asteroids and the impact threat; 8. Spacecraft missions; References; Index.

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An overview of asteroid science, summarising the astronomical and geological characteristics of asteroids, for students and researchers.

About the Author

Thomas H. Burbine is Director of the Williston Observatory at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, and holds a PhD in Planetary Sciences from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a collaborator on the OSIRIS-Rex sample return mission, and asteroid (5159) Burbine is named in his honour.


'Asteroids: Astronomical and Geological Bodies was written to coincide with the surge of interest in these relatively small bodies. Missions such as NASA's Dawn satellite to Vesta and Ceres have increased this interest … [the author] intends for this book to introduce students to asteroids, meteors, and comets at a level that would allow them to move on to understanding articles in the planetary science literature. For a work of this breadth, the length is such that some topics are only briefly presented, but with detailed references for students to follow up for further study. Although the book does provide significant detail on the families of asteroids in the main belt, it also discusses comets, Trojan asteroids, centaurs, and Kuiper Belt objects. Some science results from the New Horizons mission to Pluto are presented… Undergraduates with an interest in planetary science will find this to be a very helpful reference book.' C. Palma, CHOICE

'This excellent text-book is engagingly written, clear, readable, comprehensive, and just the right length and level for a masters' course … If you know little about asteroids and want to learn, I can recommend no better way to start than with this extremely impressive book.' David W. Hughes, The Observatory: A Review of Astronomy

'… an excellent reference for readers interested in space rocks either out of professional or personal curiosity. It prepares the readers with the basics such that results obtained from space missions like Dawn, the first to visit a dwarf planet (Ceres); Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Shoemaker, the first to land on an asteroid (Eros); Hayabusa, the first to return samples of an asteroid (Itokawa); Galileo and others can be interpreted and understood. … It is not all academic but conveys general knowledge as well. For instance, do the readers know that the iron used to make the dagger found in the tomb of Tutankhamun is meteoritic?' B. Ishak, Contemporary Physics

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