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Part I. Changing Conceptions of the Cosmos: 1. From chaos to cosmos 2. The birth of cosmological models 3. The new cosmic order 4. The clockwork universe 5. The birth of astrophysics 6. Telescopes and our insight to the cosmos 7. Einstein's vision Part II. The Planets: Past and Present: 8. The earth: an evolving planet 9. Moon and Mercury, Mars and Venus: terrestrial planets 10. The Jovian planets: primitive worlds 11. The origin and evolution of the solar system Part III. The Universe of Stars: 12. Our sun: local star 13. The stars as suns 14. Starbirth and interstellar matter 15. Star lives 16. Star death Part IV. Galaxies and Cosmic Evolution: 17. The evolution of the galaxy 18. The universe of galaxies 19. Cosmic violence 20. Cosmic history Appendix A. Units Appendix B. Planetary data Appendix C. Physical constants and astronomical data Appendix D. Nearby stars in the Hipparcus catalogue Appendix E. Periodic table of the elements Expanded glossary Index.