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1. Jupiter : The Planet, Satellites
$37.80 $34.50 list($60.00)
2. The Cambridge Guide to the Solar
$120.00 $69.00
3. The Giant Planet Jupiter (Practical
4. Meteorite Craters
$34.99 $34.32
5. Volcanoes of the Solar System
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6. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of
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7. Introduction to Comets (Cambridge
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8. Dark Matter, Missing Planets and
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9. Our Worlds: The Magnetism and
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10. Lifting Titan's Veil : Exploring
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11. Chiron and the Healing Journey:
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12. The Origin of Comets
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13. The Planet Observer's Handbook
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14. Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 1993
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15. Meteorites : Their Impact on Science
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16. New Worlds in the Cosmos : The
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17. Mantle Convection in the Earth
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18. The Big Splash: A Scientific Discovery
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19. Firestorm: Dr. James E. McDonald's
$110.00 $95.70
20. Radar Remote Sensing of Planetary

1. Jupiter : The Planet, Satellites and Magnetosphere (Cambridge Planetary Science)
list price: $140.00
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Asin: 0521818087
Catlog: Book (2004-11-08)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 436394
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Book Description

This comprehensive volume summarizes current knowledge of the Jovian system, in view of recent scientific developments regarding the Galileo spacecraft, the Galileo probe, the Cassini spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope, and numerous ground-based and theoretical studies. Chapters by recognized authorities cover all aspects of Jupiter, its satellites and magnetosphere. ... Read more

2. The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System
by Kenneth R. Lang
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Asin: 0521813069
Catlog: Book (2003-09-25)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 277640
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Book Description

The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System provides a comprehensive, funamental, and up-to-date description of the solar system.It is written in a concise, light and uniform style, without being unnecessarily weighted down with specialized materials or the variable writing of multiple authors.It is filled with vital facts and information for astronomers of all types and for anyone with a scientific interest in the Earth, our Moon, all the other planets and their satellites, and related topics such as asteroids, comets, meteorites and meteors. The language, style, ideas and profuse illustrations will attract the general reader as well as professionals.A thorough report for general readers, it includes much compact reference data. Metaphors, similes and analogies will be of immense help to the lay person or non-science student, and they add to the enjoyment of the material.Vignettes containing historical, literary and even artistic material make this book unusual and interesting, and enhance its scientific content. Kenneth Lang is professor of astronomy in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Tufts University.He is the author of several astrophysics books, including The Sun from Space (Springer Verlag, 2000), Astrophysical Formulae: Radiation, Gas Processes, and High Energy Physics (Springer Verlag, 1999), Sun, Earth and Sky (Copernicus Books, 1997), Astrophysical Data: Planets and Stars (Springer Verlag, 1993), and Wanderers in Space: Exploration and Discovery in the Solar System (Cambridge, 1991), ... Read more

3. The Giant Planet Jupiter (Practical Astronomy Handbooks)
by John H. Rogers
list price: $120.00
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Asin: 0521410088
Catlog: Book (1995-07-20)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 392685
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jupiter is an extraordinarily colorful and dynamic planet. Over its surface one can observe shadows cast by its moons or giant swirling storms that move and evolve. It is because of this richness of visual and physical properties that Jupiter has intrigued amateur and professional astronomers and has been the goal of several space missions. This highly illustrated volume provides a comprehensive and accessible account of Jupiter and its satellites, synthesizing data from amateur and professional astronomers and space missions. It reviews systematic telescopic observations that have stretched over more than 100 years, in addition to modern observations and theories, and the wealth of data from the Pioneer, Voyager, and Ulysses space missions. As the first full account of Jupiter in thirty-five years, this volume provides the definitive account of Jupiter for advanced amateur astronomers, professional astronomers and planetary scientists. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Jovian Trove! A Ticket to Jupiter!
Hats off to John Rogers. This book is like a textbook on the planet Jupiter. You could take a semester course on the planet and still not get everything that this book has to offer. Starting with early observations of the planet (17th century and following), we explore the planet's bands and belts (each one getting its own chapter!), the forjmation of spots and storms, chemistry, atmospheric speeds and dynamics, theories about what's beneath the clouds, Jupiter's ring system (discovered by Voyager), the moons (several of them getting whole chapters), on and on and on... The tone is decidedly scientific, but often in a conversational, friendly way, a tone that encourages exploring its knowledge.

My sole complaint about this tome (it's not just a book, but a tome) is its paucity of color illustrations. For as much discussion as the book offers about chemistry and color-sources in the belts, more color would be useful. All the color photos (and there a fair number, I suppose) appear in a sort of color plate appendix at the end of the book, and they're excellent, but few. Anyway, that sums up my reservations.

Besides, the book is otherwise lavishly--and I mean lavishly--illustrated, and with a huge variety of (all black-and-white) material, an important matter for a book about this subject. We get charts, grahps, photos taken in the visible spectrum, under various color filters and also various radiation filters (but reduced to two colors, as I said). Fascinating are the photo sequences which show us spots emerging and developing, merging, evolving. It's mostly in black and white, but the wonderfully fine paper stock provides for great reproduction quality. I don't think there is asingle concept or heading that goe unillustrated. Rogers (the author) employs a great wealth of astronmer's detailed (you'll be surprised) sketches of the planet, in little strip maps that sort of unroll the planet before you. And by collecting these sketches from over the centuries, he offers a longterm history of how the planet has been behaving.

Published in 1995, the book can only mention that the comet (I've forgotten its name) will hit it; the book doesn;t cover that actual event, but I can't imagine a fuller account of the planet--or of many dngle subject s period, as this book offers. A great book to poke around in, too, when you have an extra few minutes here and there. ... Read more

4. Meteorite Craters
by Kathleen Mark
list price: $29.95
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Asin: 0816509026
Catlog: Book (1987-05-01)
Publisher: Univ of Arizona Pr
Sales Rank: 1854423
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE twentieth century, an enormous bowl-shaped hole in the high plains of northern Arizona was investigated by a mining engineer and his associates. The hole was almost three quarters of a mile wide-a little over one kilometer¹-and it penetrated thick layers of subsurface rock. The investigators concluded that it was created thousands of years ago when a mass of meteoritic iron struck the earth, and they produced extensive evidence in support of their claim. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive account accessable to laymen
This is a thorough account of meteorite craters intended mainly for the layman. However it does not shortchange the technical side when necessary. It uses the historical method, unrolling the story of meteorites and meteorite craters from about the 17th century to the present. It starts with the story of how scientists came to accept stones falling from the sky as a real phenomenon. It then proceeds to the long process whereby scientist were lead to understanding of what geological structures on earth are impact related and how to distinguish them from other types of geological structures. This is not as easy as you might think as this book makes clear. In fact many respected geologists did not accept that there were any meteorite craters on earth at all until well into the twentieth century.

I prefer the historical method of presenting scientific subjects as used in this book since knowing the history of how we got to where we are makes much more sense of the current state of our knowledge.

This book is so thorough that it can be a little dry at times. I was originally going to give it a 3 star rating instead of 4. However, when I picked up the book to do this review I noticed how well thumbed it was. This is because although the book is written as a historical narrative it is thorough enough to use as a reference work. When I ran across a reference to the Sudbury structure in the news I looked it up this book to get the background. When I needed an example of how science proceeds in the absence of direct experimental data and with mostly anecdotal evidence I looked up the story of how scientist came to accept meteorites as real phenomenon by the beginning of the 19th century. It has plenty of footnotes and references if you want more specific information. This book can serve as a historical narrative of, survey of, or reference for, meteorite craters.

Some nits: This book has a lot of illustrations but because of the nature of the subject it could use more. The author occasionally forgets her audience and uses technical geological terms without explanation. There is one complaint that there is no help for. Many questions are left hanging at the end of the book. This is inevitable since it is an account of a story that is still unfolding. Still, the book was copyrighted in 1987 so updating it would help some.

I would recommend this book to any adult having an interest in meteorite craters and I am including non-specialist geologists as well as scientifically inclined laymen.

I also think it would make a nice gift for an inquiring teenager or maybe a bright sixth grader. They will not understand everything that is in this book but there is a lot that they will understand. Just the kind of thing to stretch their minds. ... Read more

5. Volcanoes of the Solar System
by Charles Frankel
list price: $34.99
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Asin: 0521477700
Catlog: Book (1996-09-12)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 1037376
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Nothing can be more breathtaking than the spectacle of a volcano erupting. Space-age lunar and planetary missions offer us an unprecedented perspective on volcanism. Starting with the Earth, Volcanoes of the Solar System takes the reader on a guided tour of the terrestrial planets and moons and their volcanic features.We see lunar lava fields through the eyes of the Apollo astronauts, and take an imaginary hike up the Martian slopes of Olympus Mons--the tallest volcano in the solar system.Complemented by over 150 photographs, this comprehensive and lucid account of volcanoes describes the most recent data on the unique and varied volcanic features of Venus and updates our knowledge on the prodigiously active volcanoes of Io.A member of the Association of European Volcanologists, Charles Frankel has directed documentary films on geology, astronomy and space exploration and has authored a number of articles on the earth sciences. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good introductory review of extraterrestrial volcanism
Mention the word "volcano", and most people think only of the Earth. However, as this fine book shows, such is hardly the case. Indeed, the phenomenon of volcanic activity is widespread in our own solar system.

The text is introductory in nature, and the book is unconfounded by spates of hypertechnical language. Anyone with an average scientific backgound will easily understand the great bulk of the matters discussed. Excellent photography, both from telescopes, as well as manned and robotic space vehicles, closely follows the text and contributes to its comprehension.

I believe the author occasionally leaves technical terms unexplained, however. Also, the photography is largely in black and white.

The book begins with chapters on Earth's own volcanism, and then proceeds to other planets and moon, including our moon, Venus, Mars, Io, and Triton. I found the chapters on Venus especially fascinating, given the wide variety of igneous features.

Any reader will come away with a well enhanced understanding of both our solar system and the part that vulcanism plays in its ongoing development. Recommended highly, especially for student of and devotees of planetary astronomy and volcanic processes.

4-0 out of 5 stars An overview on volcanic forces in our solar system
This book offers an introduction into the dynamic forces forming the surface of the planets. It is easy to read and offers a lot of information. I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in planetary geology.

4-0 out of 5 stars A study of the geology and geologic forces of volcanoes
This text discusses the geology of volcanoes throughout most of our solar system (it lacks a chapter on Mercury). In it the author begins with an examination of earth's volcanic landforms and then progresses to examine those on other planetary worlds. The level of writing is non-technical, and clearly for the beginner. However, on occasion I noted that the author did not define various terms which make parts of this text a bit more difficult for the novice to follow. Still, the text is quite readable and offers a good overview. This is especially true in the design of the book's chapters: there is an initial one on each of the major planets which is 'more introductory', which is then followed by a second chapter which is 'more advanced'. I will note that the photography is quite nice, and that the book covers some of the more exotic volcanoes (such as those on Io and Triton). This is a good text for those interested in an overview of one of the most facsinating landforms in our solar system ... Read more

6. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Meteorites
by O. Richard Norton
list price: $50.00
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Asin: 0521621437
Catlog: Book (2002-03-07)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 44315
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In recent years, meteorites have caught the imagination of scientist and collector alike.An army of people are now actively searching for them in the hot and cold deserts of Earth. Fascinating extraterrestrial rocks in meteorites are our only contact with materials from beyond the Earth-Moon system. Using well known petrologic techniques, O. Richard Norton reveals in vivid color their extraordinary external and internal structures and taking readers to the atomic level, describes the environment within the solar nebula that existed before the planets accreted. Extensively illustrated, this volume is a valuable guide to assist searchers in the field in recognizing the many classes of meteorites and it is a superb reference source for students, teachers and scientists who wish to probe deeper these amazing rocks from space.O. Richard Norton is a contributing editor for Meteorite magazine and the author of The Planetarium and Atmospherium and Rocks from Space (Mountain Press, 1998).For the last 40 years, he has taught astronomy and space sciences at various US institutions. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars STUPENDOUS

7. Introduction to Comets (Cambridge Planetary Science)
by John C. Brandt, Robert D. Chapman
list price: $60.00
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Asin: 0521004667
Catlog: Book (2004-03-11)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 1071302
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Book Description

Including the abundance of information known prior to the return of Halley's comet, as well as the new information discovered since then, the science of comets is described here by order of its discovery.From tail phenomena to coma morphology, to the most recent findings from space missions, this comprehensive text provides complete and up-to-date coverage of the subject.It will be suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students of astronomy and planetary science.First Edition Hb (2001): 0-521-23906-0 First Edition Pb (2002): 0-521-27218-1 ... Read more

8. Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets: Paradoxes Resolved, Origins Illuminated
by Tom Van Flandern
list price: $22.50
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Asin: 1556432682
Catlog: Book (1998-11-01)
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Sales Rank: 517388
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Asking Questions
I read the first edition of Tom Van Flandern's book and it's excellent--a well written and absorbing work! While you may not agree with everything the author proposes (at least for now), you'll realize just how much intensive research and mathematical wizardy went into the author's exploration of current cosmology! Van Flandern is probably 100 years ahead of his time in the field of astronomy, especially in the re-examination of ideas like planetary breakups, the birth of the Earth-Moon system, and the origin of tektites. The author is a neo Kepler for the New Millennium, notably when it comes to rethinking science's blind faith in our present paradigm of the universe and solar system. (Especially fascinating is Van Flandern's discussion about the origins of asteroids and comets. How is it the majority of scientists have come to accept a concept like that of the so-called "Oort Cloud" based on little evidence?) If you don't mind having your scientific be! ! lief system rattled a bit, then get this book and read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Astronomical Bestseller!
I have read this book twice already! For those of you interested in cosmology (the way the solar system and universe work) then this book is great. Tom Van Flandern cleary and succinctly puts forward his meta-model of the universe in a way that puts mainstream astronomy to shame. I have always believed that things can be logically explained and make sense in the cosmos around us. This book does just that. He makes a killer argument about an infinite universe in both time and scale, pointing out many reasons as to why the big-bang is a failure. Van Flandern discusses the speed of gravity by using the sun-earth-moon system to show that gravity must be travelling far quicker than the speed of light. I like how this book embraces many aspects of astronomy all in one. Best of all is his discussion regarding the basis of science, in that we should think of new models based on the existing evidence as opposed to fitting evidence to an old model. This book is a very worthwhile read and will open your eyes to what mainstream astronomy has been keeping from you.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best explanation of Very Long Period comets.
If you want to know the very best explanation of the origin of the Very Long Period comets, this is where you will find it. If you combine the section on the Missing Planet, with a pile of album cover art by Roger Dean (on the YES album covers like Yessongs) you will know more about the history of the solar system then most professional astronomers. Is this hyperbole? No. Van Flandern is right about the origin of comets, but given the mindset of the astronomical community, protons will decay before they admit it.
Van Flandern is akin to A.C. Clarke in one way: Someone once said about Clarke that "if he had stuck to any one hypothesis, he would have been a dangerous man." Like Clarke, Van Flandern works many hypotheses. And if it is permissible to have a favorite Clarke book or theme, it is certainly also permissible to extol the virtures of DM,MP&NC on the basis of the MP&NC material alone.
Science will advance at four times the current pace when they stop ejecting people like Halton Arp and TVF from their ranks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brand new thinking about timeless astronomical issues
Tom Van Flandern's book adds a new dimension to cosmology--not only does it present a novel approach to timeless issues, it stands up to the closest scientific scrutiny. The author has a proven track record and top notch credentials, so when he begins his hard-hitting critique of the status quo it's a breathtaking read, for laymen and scientists alike. Let's be honest about the Big Bang Theory--even the most respected scientists today will readily admit it is full of holes. But it takes a new look, like Tom Van Flandern's book, to explain not only why the theory is wrong but what to substitute in its place. This is a significant book and if you read it you will get a thrill just as those who read Copernicus and Galileo must have gotten a thrill to realize they were reading about the future of science. Read it--you won't be disappointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not so dark matters

Van Flandern was a consultant to the government regarding the Global Positioning System. Doubts had been expressed that the GPS could remain accurate due to a relativistic effect known as "frame dragging", but TVF concluded that, through a slightly too convenient coincidence, "frame dragging" didn't apply to this particular narrow case. It's clear that he understands conventional theories very well, and that's what made it possible for him to develop his Meta Model, the discussion of which comprises the first half of this book.

I can see how the Meta Model discussion would not get high marks, as it clearly didn't in at least one of the earlier reviews here. I read most of it, finally got bored, and skipped into the second half of the book (first edition ISBN 1556431554) which pertains to TVF's Exploding Planet Hypothesis.

When he wrote the first edition, the Alvarez theory was gaining momentum elsewhere in the sciences, as the position of the impact crater that ended the Cretaceous had been located at Chicxulub (the crater had been located circa 1960, but the Alvarez theory didn't come around until 1980 -- see "Night Comes to the Cretaceous" by James Lawrence Powell, ppback 0156007037 hardcover 0716731177).

TVF didn't mention any of that, spending time instead on the "Face on Mars". At that time (early 1990s) the newest surface photos from Martian orbit were still those of Viking from the 1970s. The "Face" did exist, and it was an artifact -- but it existed only in those photos, and was only an artifact of the lower resolution of the Viking cameras, as opposed to that of the recent (late 1990s) orbiter. I don't see how any reasonable person can look at the higher res photos (as opposed to both the Viking photos and the low res photos from the new orbiter, which can mimic the resolution of Viking) and conclude that the "Face" is artificial. This devotion to a completely discredited idea is not to TVF's credit, and as someone who respects his intellect and many of his ideas, I wish he'd knock it off.

The best part of either edition is the discussion of TVF's Exploding Planet Hypothesis (EPH). He uses the model to explain things like the tipped axis of Uranus, disturbed moon system of Neptune, retrograde rotation of Venus, Earth-crossing objects, and various other things which have made thoughtful people wonder for a very long time. In the original edition the EPH was about 3.2 million years ago.

This new edition extends the EPH by adding an earlier exploding planet dated to 65 million years ago, in order to provide a source for the object which crashed into the Earth and ended the dominion of the dinosaurs. TVF's extension seems a bit ad hoc, but once a single unexplained planetary explosion has been posited, additional ones shouldn't be considered surprising or forbidden. On the other hand, TVF had already questioned the (also ad hoc) Oort Cloud idea, and that's the leading competitor (and dominant paradigm) for a source of the Chicxulub object. Since TVF is devoted to building a single comprehensive model to explain oddball characteristics of various solar system objects to replace the dozens of (also ad hoc) unique explanations.

[see "Shoemaker by Levy" ISBN 0691002258 for some brief comments quoted from Shoemaker regarding the role played by Jupiter in sweeping the Solar System of transitory debris -- TVF needs multiple exploding planets because such debris would either be kicked out of the system or bent into untroubling orbits within ten million years, mostly due to the presence of Jupiter]

TVF's discussion of the origin of Earth's own Moon is a great reason to buy this book, and a great place to begin reading it for those who are like me, and enjoy picking at a book here and there. It's also a discussion I'd like to criticize a little. TVF discusses the four basic models of lunar formation, then picks them off one by one, as he offers his own model (fission from Earth due to overspin). The problem with his critique of the capture model is that his arguments apply also to his overspin model, and there's nothing he can do about it. Furthermore, the early presence of water on the Earth (a discovery that I think antedates this new edition of "Dark Matter") reduces the likelihood that the Moon was born of fission from Earth, either due to TVF's model or the more conventional impact model which is the dominant one of the five presented.

Despite the catastrophic character of an exploding planet, TVF's model is really quite uniformitarian, and for those who object to catastrophism on a priori grounds, this book and his EPH should provide a great introduction to the topic that fascinates one's friends and neighbors without letting on to anyone that you're secretly hoping to join the winning side. :^) ... Read more

9. Our Worlds: The Magnetism and Thrill of Planetary Exploration
list price: $35.00
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Asin: 0521644402
Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 765312
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Book Description

Our Worlds provides a rare "insider" look into the universe and planetary science during the current golden age of space exploration. Readers are guided on an exciting voyage of discovery by eight distinguished researchers who explore the universe with cutting edge techniques. From Chief Scientist on NASA's New Millennium Program Ellen Stofan to planetary theorist Bill McKinnon, each writes from a personal point of view, sharing to the fullest the science and emotion found in the most enticing discoveries and the wonders of the solar system. This volume gives readers an up-close view of Mars, Venus, and the Moon; a trip with Halley's Comet; a visit to the moons of Io, Titan, and Triton; and the ability to experience asteroids in their natural element. Coverage details the most current knowledge of the solar system learned from space missions, including Magellan and Galileo. This volume fully captures the breadth of planetary science, from inner to outer worlds, from telescopic to robotic exploration, and provides an unique glimpse into the drives and interests of the men and women behind the science.It is the most encompassing book on the subject to date and will interest anyone who looks at the night sky and wonders what it would feel like to be able to get a closer look. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist and astrophysicist with both observational and theoretical interests.He is the leader of the Southwest Research Institute's Geophysical, Astrophysical, and Planetary Science group located in Boulder, CO. ... Read more

10. Lifting Titan's Veil : Exploring the Giant Moon of Saturn
by Ralph Lorenz, Jacqueline Mitton
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
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Asin: 0521793483
Catlog: Book (2002-07-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 54637
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Lifting Titan's Veil is a revealing account of the second largest moon in our solar system. This world in orbit around Saturn is the only body in the solar system with an atmosphere strikingly similar to Earth's. Titan is like a giant frozen laboratory that may help scientists understand the first chemical steps towards the origin of life. Beginning with its discovery in 1655, the authors describe our current knowledge of Titan, including observations made before the space age, results from the Voyager missions of the 1980s, and recent revelations from the world's most advanced telescopes. In Lifting Titan's Veil, Ralph Lorenz includes his personal experiences in preparing for the Cassini mission, which will reach Saturn in 2004 and release the Huygens probe into Titan's atmosphere in 2005. A splendid introduction to Titan, this book will appeal to anyone interested in astronomical discovery and space exploration. Ralph Lorenz trained as an engineer and worked for the European Space Agency at the very beginning of the Huygens project.Since obtaining a PhD at the University of Kent, England, he has worked as a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson.His research interests focus on Titan, but also include climatology, radar, impact dynamics and spacecraft and instrumentation design.He has been involved in NASA's largest planetary mission (Cassini) and its smallest (the DS-2 Mars Microprobes). Jacqueline Mitton obtained a Ph.D in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge, and is now a full-time writer and media consultant specializing in astronomy. She has served as Press Officer for the Royal Astonomical Society since 1989, and was Editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association 1989-1993.She has written or co-authored sixteen published astronomy books, the most recent, The Cambridge Dictionary of Astronomy (2001). ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Pale Orange Dot
Rare is the work that meets the high publication standards within a given scientific discipline while being simultaneously accessible to the public at large. In particular, and notwithstanding its cachet and increasing multidisciplinary approach, the field of planetary sciences often offers up works that are either overspecialized to the point of alienating all but a very select readership or those works appealing to a broad audience but derisively dismissed by experts as popularizing and superficial. Bridging the wide chasm separating these two extremes requires talented writing. LIFTING TITAN'S VEIL: EXPLORING THE GIANT MOON OF SATURN, by Ralph Lorenz and Jacqueline Mitton, is a book that accomplishes this with a professionally credible, yet highly readable, account of mankind's attempts to unravel the mysteries of Saturn's largest moon. Lorenz and Mitton succeed in this collaboration due in no small part to their highly impressive credentials. The former is one of today's most prolific planetary scientists, especially regarding the study of Titan, and also a participant in the current Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan. The latter, with a Ph.D. in astrophysics, is a renowned science writer credited with authorship or co-authorship of sixteen astronomy-related works.

Answering, in the most basic way, the "why" question that often accompanies any discussion of planetary exploration, the authors write, "More than anything else, planetary exploration gives us a sense of perspective, a notion of who we are, where we came from and what our destiny might be. We can learn from all worlds. Each planet and moon in the solar system has its own unique history. Each is an experiment with a different set of conditions..." More specifically, they note that Titan, with its orange-tinted, nitrogen-rich 1.5 bar atmosphere containing traces of hydrocarbons and other organics, might represent an analogue, albeit a cyrogenic one, of the prebiotic atmosphere surrounding early Earth. Considering that mankind has yet to demonstrate time travel, studying Titan may be the only way (outside of modelling and laboratory experiments, both of which have obvious limitations) to explore this critical phase in Earth's history. It goes without saying that studying Titan, especially in situ, is exploration at the cutting edge.

Coming at an especially propitious moment, the book provides a comprehensive synthesis of the body of Titan-related science, which is placed into historical context. Starting with the moon's discovery in 1655 by Christiaan Huygens, the Dutch astronomer, LIFTING TITAN'S VEIL spans a time frame of three and a half centuries of astronomical observations leading up to the modern era of spacecraft reconnaissance and exploration. The book is organized topically, with a distinct narrative style (e.g., the unique "Ralph's Log" feature), and runs the gamut from astronomy to meterology to geology to speculation about future Titan exploration. I highly recommend LIFTING TITAN'S VEIL to all readers. Anyone interested in Titan, this "pale orange dot," will, I think, find something of worth in this work. Indeed, I personally feel that Chapter 3, "Titan's puzzling atmosphere," is alone worth the price of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars interesting scientific work
This book is fun for whoever loves science.Its an example of applying science to data gathered from earth telescopes and space probes,mainly through the eyes of Hubble and Voyager. Attempts at explaining theoretical models behind possible chemical and physical processes at work on this moon are made.It would be interesting to compare the current thinking with what Cassini will actually reveal in a years time!

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good book on what we know now.
The authors do a good job in this book and it is a good read. What is interesting is how much we do not know about this amazing satellite. We have no idea about what the surface is like. In less than 5 years the Cassini mission w/ the Huygens lander will make this book obsolete. You have to wonder why this book was written so close to Cassini's arrival. Until then this book should be standard text in any amatuer astronomers library. The authors give too much credit to Carl Sagan and not enough to the real scientists who have contributed to our limited knowledge on the subject. Besides that this book almost gets my highest rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Titan And The Pursuit Of Science
This is an exciting time for planetary exploration, when after the solar system has been reconnoitered by spacecraft (except Pluto) and now spacecraft are being sent to specific planets and moons, etc., for closer examination. LIFTING TITAN'S VEIL covers the Cassini mission to Saturn and it's large moon Titan, known to possess a thick atmosphere and perhaps a hydrocarbon ocean, due to insert itself into Saturnian orbit in July, 2004, the attached Huygens probe should enter Titan's atmosphere January, 2005.

The authors include a lot of science in this volume, including background information concerning moons and planets across the solar system. Most of this book covers Titan of course, what we know about it and how we came about that knowledge, from early times to the present. Titan's atmosphere and surface and sub-surface conditions recieve the most attention, with the chemistry of the atmosphere discussed at length. Also, the authors debate the possibility of an ethane/methane ocean existing on Titan as the surface temperature, according to available evidence, is close to the triple point of methane. All of this science can of course, as the authors point out, shed light on the formation and evolution of the solar system and in turn give us clues to our own origins in the misty past. As a chemist I especially enjoyed the information on the chemistry of Titan, and the space-buff in me enjoyed all of it. In addition, the Cassini spacecraft is detailed, and there are lots of illustrations, many in color.

On a personal note, I remember being at the space center as a visitor just a few days before the launch of Cassini, in October, 1997, and thinking that here is this spacecraft sitting out there on the pad just a few hundred yards from the Atlantic beach, I wondered then, will Huygens, at the end of it's journey, find another beach? Space travel is cool!

5-0 out of 5 stars Exploring the Giant Moon of Saturn
Lifting Titan's Veil is a revealing account of the second largest moon in our solar system. This world in orbit around Saturn is the only body in the solar system with an atmosphere strikingly similar to Earth's and the only moon with a substantial atmosphere. Nitrogen is the main gas in Titan's atmosphere but it is laced with a cocktail of hydrocarbons and is virtually opaque to human eyes because of layers of orange smog. Beneath the haze, lakes of liquid methane may be a feature of the frigid landscape. Titan is like a giant laboratory in deep freeze that may help scientists understand the first chemical steps towards the origin of life." ... Read more

11. Chiron and the Healing Journey: An Astrological and Psychological Perspective (Contemporary Astrology)
by Melanie Reinhart
list price: $24.82
our price: $16.63
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Asin: 0140195734
Catlog: Book (1999-06-01)
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Sales Rank: 233947
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A revised and updated edition of this profound astrological study of the smallest planet in our solar system.

Chiron is the smallest planet in our solar system and was discovered only in the 1970s. In this comprehensive study of the planet, Melanie Reinhart examines its meaning and symbolism in psychological terms, and explores how it has added another dimension to astrology. Named after the mythical centaur, Chiron is identified with the figure of the "wounded healer," and represents a spirit of philosophical independence, compassion, and a sense of trust in our inner selves. Rich in mythological anecdotes, literary allusions, and historical perspectives, with in-depth case studies, information tables, and a completely updated and expanded ephemeris for the twenty-first century, Chiron and the Healing Journey is an indispensable book for the practicing astrologer and will fascinate anyone interested in the subject.
... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A most excellent work
The is possibly one of the best astrological books ever written. Its clear and lucid style bring to the reader a comprehensive understanding and awareness of the influence of this minor 'planet' within their life. By far and away the best book on Chiron and chironic themes, Melanie Reinhart has written a sensitive, detailed and authoritative work. An essential book for anyone who is interested in astrology, professionally or otherwise, for an astrological reading is incomplete without reference to Chiron. And an assessment of the influence of Chiron in a natal chart is incomplete without this book. Astrological theory and practice at its best.

1-0 out of 5 stars Negativo
This book was sooooo Negative! Any responsible astrologer would say what is possible with planetary configurations, but not Melanie. She comes across as if what is said is factual and unchangeable.

She offers no positive insights, just doom and gloom. Anyone careful about what they put in their brains would do well to avoid this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars great info, but a little negative
I'm currently on a Chiron kick, and bought this book to understand what truly is a complicated subject. I found this book to be excellent. I am impressed with its quality, especially given the fact that it is exploring a relatively new subject in the field of astrology. The depth and challenges of Chiron are acted out by the author in her in-depth exploration of this book. My only caveat was what seemed to be some negativity in describing Chiron's effect. For me, that negativity was particularly strong because I had one of the "worst" combinations possible (according to the book) (since I have Pisces in the Gemini-ruled Third House). Reading that was discouraging. On the other hand, some of the author's negativity (or at least warning) is necessary, since Chiron is about the "wounded healer" and you need to understand your particular "wound" to understand how to heal it (in yourself and others). My suggestion to the reader is to acknowledge the somewhat-negative stuff that rings true, but not let it get in the way of really absorbing what otherwise is incredibly powerful information. I think Chiron is one of the most exciting aspects of astrology today, and educating yourself on Chiron can be invaluable. This book is one of only two books that I know of that allow the reader to understand Chiron in any in-depth way.

5-0 out of 5 stars First quailty book on chiron
I am a professional consulting and research astrologer specializing in Chiron and the other Centaur planets. I have personally checked out most of the research in this book against my own clients, and find Melanie's writing to be first rate, truly insightful, grounded, easy to understand and very practical. This is some of the best astrological writing I have ever encountered -- particularly her deeply moving chapter on Chiron in Pisces, which is worth the price of the whole book. ... Read more

12. The Origin of Comets
by M.E. Bailey, S.V.M. Clube, W.M. Napier
list price: $59.95
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Asin: 0080348580
Catlog: Book (1990-04-01)
Publisher: Pergamon
Sales Rank: 1968109
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13. The Planet Observer's Handbook
by Fred W. Price
list price: $34.99
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Asin: 0521789818
Catlog: Book (2000-10-26)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 512579
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Here is an informative, up-to-date and well-illustrated guide to planetary observations for amateurs.After chapters on the solar system and the celestial sphere, the text explains how to choose, test and use a telescope with various accessories and how to make observations and record results. For each planet and the asteroids, Price gives details of observational techniques, together with suggestions for how to make contributions of sound astronomical value. From a general description and detailed observational history of each planet, readers learn how to anticipate what they should see and assess their own observations. New to this edition is a chapter on planetary photography that includes the revolutionary use of videography, charge coupled devices and video-assisted drawing. Another new feature is a section on the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. Other chapters on making maps and planispheres and on photoelectric photometry round out the book's up-to-date treatment, making this indispensable reading for both casual and serious observer alike. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Intro may have skewed my opinion....
Unlike the other reviews, I thought the book was not that technical at all. The book at first seemed to dedicate too many pages to the same topics you find in every beginner astro book, telescope types, eyepiece types, etc... The information on the planets were not as detailed as I had hoped (sans Saturn). Most of this information and much more can be found on the Web. I did think the chapter on the minor planets was worth the read.

I must admit, my opinion of this book may have been heavily skewed because I "accidentally" read the introduction. In there, Fred Price compares planetary astronomers to real "observers" and anyone who observes deep-sky objects to "sightseers".

Hmmm... the AAVSO might differ with that opinion, as would a number of organizations who do deep sky research. Maybe I was just too sensitive, but the introduction did rub me the wrong way. It is true, I do often "sight see" deep sky objects for the challenge of seeing something I had not seen and to improve my "observing eye" (ability to see detail with your eyes). I do not care what Dr. Price thinks of me in doing so. However, I know many people who think the opposite way, that observing the planets is a dull and boring task that already much is known about. I think both sides are wrong to be so damned elitist about it.

Besides that, it is a good book :-)

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit too advanced for me
I was surprised by the technical flavor of this book, as I expected (wrongly, it turned out) a beginner to mid-level observation handbook which I could take out with me on my observation trips.

The book is over 400 pages long, all written in 10 point Times font. There are very little illustrations and photo, and they are all in black and white. So it looks like a college science textbook and is very challenging visually.

Each of the sections on each planet have the same subsections such as "History of Observation" (mostly useless to me), "Observing [Jupiter, etc.]" and "Space craft Obsevation of [Jupiter, etc.]"

It also seems that to see most of the stuff described in this book, you need to have a telescope that is at least 8 inches, so that is out of my league.

However, in fairness, I know that this is a very compresensive book on the subject, and answers all possible questions that one may have on observing the planets.

But as I said, this book is more suitable for the advanced amateur Astronomer.

5-0 out of 5 stars An extensive exposition of the Solar System
This terrific book is an illustrated and textual exposition of the Solar System - a guided tour of the planets and their characteristics - from the transients of Mercury to eclipses and occultations of Pluto and Charon. Except for a few singular and minor omissions, The Planet Observer's Handbook qualifies as one of the best works on the Solar System to date. In fact we've included it on the Belmont Society's "Required Reading List" for the amateur astronomer.

Advanced amateurs may want to skim through the first chapters - dealing with telescope types, accessories, components of the celestial sphere, and introductory terminology. There are however, some eye-catching moments for jaded readers, like the apodizing (antidifraction) screen, a simple homemade device to limit diffraction and the effects of atmospheric turbulence while not adversely affecting image contrast or quality (it's actually an old trick, but not that well known).

This book was not intended to be a "post card catalog" of pretty pictures. Thus there are no contemporary photographs such as pictures of Venus from the HST, or a Cassinni fly-by image of Io against the festooned background of Jupiter. There are however, many pertinent photos and illustrations to serve historic interest and to offer educational impact. We find this arrangement to be perfectly suitable and appropriate.

Some may be surprised and/or a little disappointed that our moon is not included here. But keep in mind that the moon is a subject unto itself, and thus deserves a work of a separate magnitude - and there are several available.

There are some disappointments: Aside from some basic illustrations for the purpose of scale, this work is notably lacking in accurate renditions of the orbital planes of major satellites. Also, in light of various discussions about several other oddities, there is virtually none (or even any speculation) about the drastic tilt of Uranus. We find this to be curiously conspicuous, as it's one of the most striking anomalies in the Solar System.

There is skillful discussion of little-known and much-neglected Solar System components, like the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud, and some insightful speculation of such things as their respective associations with short and long term comets. There is also some discussion of an almost ubiquitous "Planet-X", the existence of which is argued to this day as being the cause for Neptunian perturbations. This parallels some speculation (or at least the opinion) that Pluto and Charon are in fact not the ninth planet and its moon, but simply major lost-in-space chunks of accreted or captured "debris".

We found the brief presentation and subsequent explanation of Bode's Law to be the best we have seen offered in a non-college level text. This intriguing mathematical statement is so staggeringly significant, (yet surprisingly simple) that it boggles the mind.

Finally, there is considerable discussion of the data and knowledge that can be contributed by amateur astronomers. This discussion is a clever form of interactive "provocation" and is to be applauded. Author Price emphatically encourages dedicated amateurs to take up the gauntlet, and involve themselves in observational contributions to the sciences, and he makes a fair attempt at describing how to accomplish it, including addresses of where to send your observations and data. However, you shouldn't feel bad if you don't have the time or the inclination to engage in such ambitious activities.

The average amateur astronomer who is even mildly interested in the Solar System will benefit greatly from this work, and will likely gain a great deal of knowledge and insight about the countless and innumerable objects that circle the Sun.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have for the dedicated planet observer!
This book is a good read for the general amateur astronomer and a required text for the dedicated planet observer. I fall in the "general amateur" category and do not have the patience nor inclination to devote my observing time to sketching the planets night after night. Yet I enjoyed the book anyway and it gave me a sound appreciation for the dynamic nature of our neighbors in the solar system as well as the numerous ways in which the serious amateur can contribute to the science.

This book is replete with details on the numerous features visible on the planets through amateur telescopes. It also gives advice on what type of telescope to use and what magnifications to employ. Basic scientific data on each planet (rotation rate, mass, distance, etc.) is included for reference as well as a lengthy history of observation for each planet, but the emphasis of this book is on *amateur observation*, as implied by the title. You won't find theories on Saturn's cloud decks or the origins of Mars' surface features. What you will find are detailed tips and advice on how to look for and draw the spokes in Saturn's rings, festoons between Jupiter's cloud belts, the "purple haze" on Mars, filters to employ, etc.

A necessary work at a great price for the hardcore planet observer! For the casual amateur, a bit expensive and over-the-top but still a useful addition to the library. I give it five stars because it adheres to its stated purpose faithfully and with style.

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to practical planetary observations.
Fred Price has produced a wonderful guide to the inquisitive amateur astronomer who wants to undertake solar system observations. The book provides a very thorough and useful discussion of the solar system and "celestial sphere," and progresses into a fairly standard, but very informative, discussion about telescopes and atmospheric conditions. The meat of the book assigns one chapter to each planet; for each planet the author provides the essential orbital characteristics, physical properties, etc., and an enlightening relation of the history of each planet's observations. This history not only prepares the observer for what to expect to see at the eyepiece, but allows him to place the quality of his observations in historical context. Finally, Dr. Price provides suggestions of good science which a dedicated and moderately well-equipped amateur can perform, contributing usefully to human knowledge of the solar system. I found this book quite informative, and found that it has enriched my observing experience at the telescope. ... Read more

14. Asteroids, Comets, Meteors 1993 (International Astronomical Union Symposia)
list price: $315.00
our price: $315.00
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Asin: 0792328809
Catlog: Book (1994-06-30)
Publisher: Springer
Sales Rank: 968104
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Book Description

This symposium was devoted to the so-called minor bodies in the Solar System, and their mutual interrelationships. Asteroids, comets and meteors provide essential information on the history of the Solar System, starting with the early phases of planetary formation, until the present epoch. Different evolutionary processes have shaped the physical characteristics of the populations of minor bodies. Among them, collisional phenomena have played an essential role, as has been generally recognized by modern planetary research. This symposium was one step in the effort to sketch a general unifying scenario of the properties of the different populations of minor bodies, which are generally studied by separate scientific communities. In particular, the most recent findings on the interrelationships between asteroids, comets and meteoroids suggest that an interdisciplinary approach should be preferred. Only in this way can the properties of different populations of minor bodies be interpreted in the framework of a coherent picture of the history and evolution of the Solar System. ... Read more

15. Meteorites : Their Impact on Science and History
list price: $19.99
our price: $19.99
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Asin: 0521799406
Catlog: Book (2001-04-12)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 505285
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Book Description

What are meteorites? Where do they come from? Are they a threat? What are they made of? How common are they? As centuries have passed, our knowledge of these extraterrestrial objects has advanced immensely, and today, the scientific study of meteorites provides a wealth of information about the solar system. Meteorites reveal clues to some of the greatest scientific enigmas:

  • the origin of life on Earth
  • the mass extinction of species
  • the nature and composition of asteroids
  • the conditions during the formation of the solar system
  • the dust from stars that died long before our Sun formed.

Written by a team of experts, Meteorites is an accessible, comprehensive guide that features over two hundred full-color photographs, diagrams and graphs. Look no further for a wonderful introduction to these powerful, yet mystifying, objects. Brigitte Zanda is Associate Professor at the Mineralogy Laboratory of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, and Adjunct Member of the Graduate Faculty at Rutgers University.Following on from her PhD in Geochemistry, she has written many papers in Meteoritics and Planetary Science and other journals, and is a member of the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society.Monica Rotaru is Department Chief of Earth Sciences at the Palais de la découverte in Paris, where she organizes scientific exhibitions.After her PhD in geochemistry, she has conducted research in climatology and written television science documentaries. ... Read more

16. New Worlds in the Cosmos : The Discovery of Exoplanets
by Michel Mayor, Pierre-Yves Frei
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
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Asin: 0521812070
Catlog: Book (2003-09-25)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 531671
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Book Description

With the discovery in 1995 of the first planet orbiting another star, we now realize that planets are not unique to our own Solar System. For centuries, humanity has wondered whether we are alone in the Universe. We are now finally one step closer to knowing the answer. The quest for exoplanets is an exciting one because it holds the possibility that one day we might find life elsewhere in the Universe, born in the light of another sun. Written from the perspective of one of the pioneers of this scientific adventure, this exciting account describes the development of the modern observing technique that has enabled astronomers to find so many planets orbiting around other stars. It reveals the wealth of new planets that have now been discovered outside our Solar System, and the meaning of this finding as it concerns other life in the Universe.Michel Mayor is Director of the Observatory of Geneva, Switzerland. In 1995, together with Didier Queloz, he discovered the first extrasolar planet (51 Peg b) around a main sequence star, and has discovered many more since. His work earned him the prestigious Balzan Prize in 2000, for Instrumentation and Techniques in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Pierre-Yves Frei is a science journalist with the Swiss newspaper, Lausanne Hebdo. In 1998 he was awarded the Media Prize of the Swiss Natural Sciences Academy for science popularization. Boud Roukema is the translator. ... Read more

17. Mantle Convection in the Earth and Planets (Cambridge Monographs on Mechanics & Applied Mathematics)
by Gerald Schubert, Donald L. Turcotte, Peter Olson
list price: $95.00
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Asin: 0521798361
Catlog: Book (2001-09-24)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 411020
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Book Description

Mantle Convection in the Earth and Planets is a comprehensive synthesis of all aspects of mantle convection within the Earth, the terrestrial planets, the Moon, and the Galilean satellites of Jupiter. The authors include up-to-date discussions of the latest research developments that have revolutionized our understanding of the Earth and the planets. The book features a comprehensive index, an extensive reference list, numerous illustrations (many in color) and major questions that focus the discussion and suggest avenues of future research.It is suitable as a text for graduate courses in geophysics and planetary physics, and as a supplementary reference for use at the undergraduate level.It is also an invaluable review for researchers in the broad fields of the Earth and planetary sciences. ... Read more

18. The Big Splash: A Scientific Discovery That Revolutionizes the Way We View the Origin of Life, the Water We Drink, the Death of the Dinosaurs, the C
by Louis A. Frank, Patrick Huyghe
list price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559720336
Catlog: Book (1990-10-01)
Publisher: Carol Publishing Corporation
Sales Rank: 865477
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing and recently proved true!
Every so often you read a book that changes the way you look at everything because it shows that something we took for granted is wrong. This is one of those books. Frank is not a terrific writer. There are slow passages and sections that are overly detailed and filled with arcane information. However, he is a scientist that stumbled on the origin of water on Earth . . . small comets that are constantly hitting Earth's atmosphere. This is astounding and went against all of the accepted geologic theories of the origin of water on the planet.
This book is also about the tunnel vision of scientists and the vicious in-fighting that goes on in academia when the status quo is challenged. There is a truism that scientists don't change their minds; they just die off and are replaced by scientists who believe the new theories.
I read this book when it first came out and was mightily impressed. Just recently a newly lofted satellite has proven Frank correct and a Scientific American article detailed the proof and the fact that his nay-sayers are now either eating crow or are marginalized in their continued denial. Highly recommended, especially for those interested in Earth sciences.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Big Letdown.
The subtitle overstates the significance of this book (A Scientific Discovery That Revolutionizes the Way We View the Origin of Life, the Water We Drink, etc). The Big Splash is very technical and , for those of us without a Doctorate in Geophysics it is quite a dry read. The references to the Space Program and the human elements that show the competition and back-stabbing that goes on in the scientific community are more interesting and help to move you to the end of the story, but, this is little solice for the feeling of being let down at the conclusion (or lack thereof) at the end of the book. Unfortunately, this book is probably the best you can find on the topic, though. I guess you cannot expect every scientific story to be a great read. If you need the data and answers to questions you can find in this book (like I did), you probably won't find it anywhere else. Grab a cup of strong coffee.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly involving, well written book.
Dr Frank develops a hypothesis that is very plausible, well supported and a suprisingly engrossing read. By the time I finished, my beliefs in the objectivity of the scientific community had been severly shaken.

He makes a rather complex subject easy to understand and enjoyable. If only I had been fortunate enough to have more teachers in college that could make a subject come alive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book about modern science and new discoveries
Frank explains in wonderful detail the problems that a scientist has when he makes an important discovery outside of his accepted expertise. He is not the first to suffer from this prejudice, nor will he be the last. But, it is important for us to be reminded that science too, often wears blinders and because of this, important discoveries are ignored and it takes decades before we are able to move forward in our knowledge of how things work. ... Read more

19. Firestorm: Dr. James E. McDonald's Fight for UFO Science
by Ann Druffel, Jacques Vallee
list price: $34.00
our price: $28.90
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Asin: 0926524585
Catlog: Book (2003-07)
Publisher: Wildflower Press
Sales Rank: 374388
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The authorized biography of Dr. James E. McDonald's research into the UFO phenomenon. McDonald worked in the 1950s and 1960s to raise the UFO issue in the scientific community as a serious problem.

This book documents his brave fight for justice and truth, and his untimely and mysterious end.

McDonald is a largely forgotten hero in the long and important battle to uncover the truth of the alien presence on Earth. With this landmark work, Ann Druffel places McDonald clearly where he belongs among the great pioneers of UFOlogy ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Delving into the world of political manipulations
Firestorm: Dr. James E. McDonald's Fight For UFO Science is the amazing biography by Ann Druffel of a man who crusaded and nearly accomplished the critical scrutiny of UFOs through the eyes of mainstream scientific inquiry. Delving into the world of political manipulations and trade-off deals, as well as outlining the immense effort involved in getting people merely to take notice, Firestorm is a fascinating life study which is most especially recommended reading for any UFO Studies enthusiast.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deeply Disturbing
After thirty some years as an occasional UFO investigator I had essentially set the subject aside and even stopped buying books on the subject. When Druffel's exhaustive analysis of Dr. McDonalds private papers came to light I knew I had to buy this one last book on UFO's. It is a fascinating read for anyone who followed alongside at a great distance the events chronicled here. At last an inside look at what happened during an all too brief episode in UFO investigation history. What troubles me is the sense that McDonalds great scientific knowledge, insight, and judgement makes no difference in the world at large. His ongoing disagreements with Dr. Hynek spotlight the political reality that you just are better off keeping unpopular opinions to yourself. McDonald believed in the power of science as a rational technique for prying the truth out of nature; that even the force of "political correctness" would fall under the persistent weight of a scientific approach. As druffel's book documents, Hynek disagreed and maintained his scientific standing by not rocking the boat. There is a dark, ominous cloud hanging over 'Firestorm', the knowledge that McDonald eventually killed himself. I deliberately read slowly, savoring each sentence, almost trying to avoid getting to the end. This is not just another UFO book, it's about a lot more than that and I wish there were a way to gain it a wider audience. Don't read it looking for some cheap new UFO thrill, instead read it to stand witness to a remarkable mind and his incredible fight with the intellectual community at large.

4-0 out of 5 stars A superb biography, BUT...
Ann Druffel's "Firestorm" is a serious-minded, scholarly, and well-written biography of one of the most important figures in UFO history: Dr. James McDonald. McDonald (1920-1971), was an atmospheric physicist at the University of Arizona, and was thus perfectly qualified to lead a scientific study of the UFO phenomenon. In the 1950's McDonald had his own UFO sighting, and this experience led him to begin a private, quiet investigation of UFOs which would last for many years. In the early-to-mid 1960's McDonald went to the staff of Project Blue Book, the Air Force's official study of UFO sightings, and began to look at the UFO cases in their files. And what he found appalled him: not only was Blue Book's staff scientifically unqualified to investigate UFO's, but the Air Force's hard-line "Anti-UFO" policies had caused Blue Book's staff to simply "make up" many of their "explanations" for UFO incidents out of thin air, without even a brief investigation or interviews with the eyewitnesses. By the late 1960's McDonald had investigated hundreds of UFO cases - including many from the 1940's and 1950's which the Air Force had claimed to have "solved" - and offered convincing evidence that the cases were still "unsolved". He also used his scientific expertise to critique the beliefs of UFO "debunkers", such as Dr. Donald Menzel, a Harvard University astronomer and fierce UFO critic. Unlike McDonald, Menzel refused to interview UFO witnesses (since in his view UFOs couldn't possibly exist, any UFO witness was obviously mistaken in their observation and therefore interviewing them was a "waste of time"). Menzel's "armchair investigations" of UFO cases were often revealed by McDonald to be unscientific and illogical. Menzel, who was never able to specifically rebut McDonald's scientific and forceful criticisms of his UFO "explanations", resorted to personal attacks on McDonald, calling him a "pseudoscientist" and a "crank". As Druffel notes, this would become a pattern with McDonald's critics - they would often ignore McDonald's thoroughly-investigated, detailed studies of UFO cases - and would instead concentrate upon attacking him personally. By 1966 McDonald was convinced that the UFO mystery was real and that it posed a major "challenge to science", and so he devoted himself full-time to investigating the phenomenon and to convincing the mainstream scientific community of his beliefs. He quickly emerged as a leading spokesman for "Ufology" - the scientific study of the UFO phenomenon. In effect, McDonald mounted a one-man crusade to convince his fellow scientists, and the general public, that UFOs were "serious business" and a subject worthy of scientific study. When the US government created the "Condon Committee" in the late 1960's to study the UFO phenomenon and see if a "final explanation" could be found, McDonald eagerly offered his services to the committee. Given his extensive research into the subject and his impeccable scientific credentials, McDonald was a logical choice to serve on the Condon Committee, but he was not chosen as a committee member. The reason for this snub soon became clear, as the Committee's two leaders, Dr. Edward Condon and Dr. Robert Low, were revealed to be hard-line UFO debunkers, and both Condon and Low were determined to have the Committee come to an "Anti-UFO" conclusion, no matter what the Committee's research revealed. McDonald (along with other prominent Ufologists) made fierce criticisms of the Committee's leadership and bias, but to no avail. The "Condon Report", published in 1969, couldn't find explanations for nearly one-third of the cases it examined, but Dr. Condon in his introduction to the Report flatly stated that UFO's didn't exist and that "serious science" had nothing to gain from studying the subject. Undaunted, McDonald wrote a number of detailed and thoughtful criticisms of the "Condon Report", most of which have been ignored by the larger scientific community and "Anti-UFO" critics. However, the "Condon Report" marked the beginning of the end for McDonald. His strong and forceful advocacy of UFOs as a serious subject worthy of scientific attention had earned him many critics in the scientific community, most of whom wanted only to ignore UFO cases and disliked having their "intellectual laziness" on the subject revealed by McDonald. Many of McDonald's scientific colleagues began to avoid him, and he was soon isolated within the mainstream scientific community. Even worse, McDonald ran afoul of Philip Klass, the editor of "Aviation Week" magazine and an even more vociferous UFO critic than Menzel. When McDonald shredded one of Klass's pet theories for UFO sightings in print - Klass argued that many UFOs were "plasma balls" caused by power lines, a theory which McDonald showed to have no basis in science - Klass went after McDonald personally in a brazen attempt to destroy his reputation. It was an unfair battle, for while McDonald limited himself to critiquing Klass's theories and "explanations" for UFO cases, Klass ignored McDonald's scientific arguments and concentrated on personal smears and innuendo. By 1970 McDonald's life was falling apart, partly from his "blackballing" by other scientists, partly from the vicious personal attacks by Klass, and partly from the fact that his crusade had left little time for his family, and his wife wanted a divorce. In 1971 came the final blow. McDonald was called to testify before a congressional committee on the new supersonic transport (SST), a plane which McDonald had studied and was convinced would harm the atmosphere. Although the subject had nothing to do with UFOs, and McDonald was not speaking on that topic, a sleazy New England Congressman who wanted the SST to be built (because it would bring jobs to the voters in his district) tried to discredit McDonald's criticisms of the SST by turning the hearing to a "discussion" of McDonald's belief in "little green men". This tactic caught McDonald completely by surprise, and although he tried to defend his UFO studies and pointed out that UFOs and the SST had nothing to do with each other, the Congressman repeatedly ridiculed McDonald and implied that anyone who "believed" in UFOs couldn't be trusted about their SST testimony. By the end of the hearing open laughter and ridicule of McDonald could be heard in the congressional chamber. In fact, McDonald's criticisms of the SST were supported by many other scientists and the project was eventually dropped. However, McDonald was personally devastated and humiliated by this totally unfair attack, and later in 1971 he walked into the Arizona desert and shot himself. His death was devastating to Ufology, as it lost one of its greatest leaders and spokesmen. As Druffel notes, many of his investigations and writings (especially his brilliant paper "Science in Default") remain the best of their kind in the study of UFOs, and have never been adequately rebutted by his critics. This is a superb, "traditional" biography, and should be read by anyone with even a passing interest in the UFO phenomenon. Unfortunately, it will probably never receive the attention it deserves, and in many ways "Firestorm" illustrates the reasons why Ufology has remained a fringe movement since McDonald's death. The book was written by Ann Druffel, and while she has done an excellent job with this biography, she has also published a number of "New Age" books of dubious merit. One of her books is entitled "How to Defend Yourself Against Alien Abductions", a title which (fairly or not) has received plenty of ridicule. Also, this book is published not by a traditional printing house, but by a very small "New Age" firm - which will unfortunately greatly limit its sales and ability to publicize McDonald's brilliant but tragic career. In short, "Firestorm" is a superb biography of a very brave, talented, and tragic figure - not only in Ufology but also in American science. It's definitely worth reading, but it's also a shame that so few people will be able to read it, and that the present-day disciples of Menzel and Klass will be able to use Ms. Druffel's previous books to try and discredit this one. Even so, "Firestorm" is highly recommended. Buy it! ... Read more

20. Radar Remote Sensing of Planetary Surfaces (Topics in Remote Sensing)
by Bruce A. Campbell
list price: $110.00
our price: $110.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 052158308X
Catlog: Book (2002-03-14)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 953298
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Book Description

This introduction to the use of radar for remote sensing of natural surfaces provides the reader with a thorough grounding in practical applications, focusing particularly on terrestrial studies that may be extended to other planets. An historical overview of the subject is followed by an introduction to the nomenclature and methodology pertaining to radar data collection, image interpretation and surface roughness analysis.The author presents a summary (illustrated with examples from the natural environment) of theoretical explanations for the backscatter properties of continuous rough surfaces, collections of discrete objects, and layered terrain. ... Read more

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