An Introduction to the Solar System
(Editors: McBride and Gilmour)
Known Typos and Updates to the 2004 Edition
compiled by Prof. Doug Hamilton
(2018 Errata here)
(2011 Errata here)
- Page 11, Fig 1.16: Upgrade Enceladus to Active!
- Page 21, top of section 1.1.10: Upgrade Pluto mission to launched
Jan. 19, 2006.
- Page 26, just before section 1.4: The *outer* Oort cloud
occasionally supplies us with comets, not the inner Oort cloud.
The Moon does have a small iron core, despite the book saying "maybe" a lot
(Fig 2.8, Fig. 2.12, top of section 2.2.3, top of page 60, Table 2.8).
Many terms should be in boldface type to indicate a definition in the
book's glossary: refractory and volatile in box 2.5; 'gravitational
focusing', planetary embryos and 'magma ocean' in box 2.6; siderophile
on page 58,
Page 61, Fig. 2.13 The term "Ma" need a definition - it means a
Page 66: As we showed on the homework, in addition to U and Th, K is
also concentrated in the crust.
Page 108: The value 1.054 is way too exact. It certainly varies by more than 1
part in 1000 for different types of ash.
Page 124: The discussion of Enceladus should be updated to reflect the
Cassini findings of an active volcanic region near the moon's south
Page 128, tan box: "several kilometers per second" should be "> 10
km/s". The lowest likely impact speed for terrestrial planets is ~10
km/s for Mars.
- Page 145, Impact glass section: "tektites" should be boldfaced, as its
definition is found in the glossary.
- Page 152, end of first paragraph: Venus and Titan are also exceptions
with their massive atmospheres.
Overall problem. Over and over again, complex ideas are introduced and
then not applied to the planets. The reader is led through detailed
mathematics and is not rewarded for his/her efforts by seeing why it
matters. Also, organization is by objects, not by processes as in the
earlier chapters. It would be better, for instance, to introduce the
Hadley cells and the Coriolis effect and then discuss all applications
on the terrestrial and giant planets. Same for cloud formation,
- Page 160: Figure 5.4 doesn't state at what altitude temperatures are measured.
- Page 170: In table 5.2, CO2 and H2O on Mars are also highly variable!
Perhaps CO and O2 as well.
- Page 172: In box 5.3, electrolysis needs to be defined. It means
separating the ions in a bonded compound by passing an electric
current through it.
- Page 174: In box 5.4, make an explicit link to mantle convection.
- Page 175: Fig 5.18 needs to state why this is important. In a) the gas
parcel will continue to rise leading to convection. In b) the parcel
will cease to rise and convection will not occur.
- Page 178, middle: Give effective temperatures for the Moon and Mercury and discuss.
- Page 185, Figure 5.17 does not show temperatures in the Thermosphere as
claimed at the end of section 5.4.
- Page 189, Figure 5.33: this caption just duplicates nearby text. Explain
how the sunlight is divided over a greater area near the poles.
- Page 191, middle: Discuss why low wind speeds (the doldrums) are predicted
near the equator. Basically, moving slightly north or south from the
equator changes wind velocities only very slightly (repeat calculation
on page 190 for 0 to 5 degrees).
- Page 192 bottom: Explain in more detail what winds do in response to a
- Page 194 top: Define offshore and onshore breezes.
Offshore means from blowing from land to sea.
- Page 195 top: In this circumstance, charged particles do not
follow the spiral field lines. The charged particles move out
radially, dragging the field lines with them. All physical motions are
primarily radial, just as the water that leaves a spinning
lawn sprinkler travels out radially.
- Page 198: Question 5.14. The atmosphere would stop charged particles from
reaching Earth's surface. The magnetic field protects low orbiting
- Page 202, middle: Update Cassini to arrived.
- Page 203: second column: update Galileo from "will be destroyed" to "was
destroyed". Change "observations on Venus" to "observations of Venus".
- Page 207 bottom: "Saturn, or in the icy" -> "Saturn, and in the icy". All
four giant planets have magnetic fields.
- Page 211: Box 6.2 doesn't answer the question of "how hydrogen can occur
in the metallic form" raised at the top of the page. Explain why high
pressures are necessary to form metallic hydrogen.
- Page 215: Neptune absorbs red light just like Uranus.
- Page 219: Box 6.3: chemical equilibrium is poorly explained here.
- Page 224 bottom: the atmosphere in the belts is sinking and in the zones
it is rising, exactly opposite to what is stated here.
- Page 227: In Fig. 6.17, rotation on cylinders is not motivated at
all. Why should we expect this? The Sun, whose rotation is better
understood, doesn't behave this way.
- Page 240: This section on magnetospheres is very thin. It should be
combined with the Jupiter and Saturn section and discussed all at
once. Even better, combine all of the magnetospheric material from
Chapters 5 and 6 into one place.
- Page 250: equally important for tides on eccentrically-orbiting
bodies, is that the size of the tide varies as the object moves closer
and further from the central body.
- Page 259 top: There have now been two landings on asteroids: these are
closer approaches than Deep Space 1's 15 km pass.
- Page 261 MUSES-C was renamed Hayabusa. Update is that it successfully
landed on an asteroid, but failed to return material to Earth as
- Page 265, middle: Pluto is no longer the largest Kuiper Belt
Object. That honor currently goes to Eris (UB313) discovered in 2003.
- Page 267, bottom and Fig. 7.29: Update the status of New Horizons to launched.
- Page 272, end of section 7.5: discuss the Deep Impact project and its
findings for cometary density.
- Page 281, middle: The age of the Universe is now known to be
very close to 13.7 billion years old.
- Page 302, last paragraph, last sentence. "allowing it to
become" (add the word "to"). (courtesy of Pamela Smith)
- Page 307, middle: In planetary migration scenarios, Jupiter moves
inward by a few percent, not outward.
- Page 311: There are strong arguments against Phobos and Deimos being
captured asteroids. They both orbit very close to the equatorial plane
like satellites that form with their planets.
- Page 325, Box 9.2, Point 3, third sentence. "relative high in
iron" (relative -> relatively). (courtesy of Pamela Smith)
- Page 330: "of which more below" -> "of which we will say more below".
- Page 336: Update the results of the Genesis mission, which crash
landed in Utah September 8, 2004. Samples of the solar wind were,
nevertheless, recovered and analyzed.
- Update Pluto Express to New Horizons launched Jan 19, 2006.
- Update Mars Express and Rosetta
Mercury Messenger, launched Aug 3, 2004. Messenger is due for its first Venus flyby in Oct. 2006 and its first Mercury flyby in Jan 2008.