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1. Beyond : Visions Of The Interplanetary
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2. A Traveler's Guide to Mars: The
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3. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of
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4. The Cambridge Guide to the Solar
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5. The Giant Planet Jupiter (Practical
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6. The Book Nobody Read: Chasing
7. Modern Celestial Mechanics: Dynamics
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8. Roving Mars : Spirit, Opportunity,
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9. Volcanoes of the Solar System
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10. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of
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11. Observing and Measuring Visual
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12. Beyond Pluto
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13. The Worlds of Galileo: The Inside
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14. Centauri Dreams: Imagining And
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15. Sun, Moon, & Earth
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16. Our Worlds: The Magnetism and
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17. Lifting Titan's Veil : Exploring
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18. The Real Mars
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19. An Introduction to the Solar System
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20. Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief

1. Beyond : Visions Of The Interplanetary Probes
by Michael Benson
list price: $55.00
our price: $34.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0810945312
Catlog: Book (2003-10-01)
Publisher: Harry N Abrams
Sales Rank: 8091
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"These images are a spectacular reaffirmation that we are privileged to live in the greatest age of exploration the world has ever known."-From Arthur C. Clarke's foreword

Since the 1960s the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been sending unmanned satellites to explore the planets, moons, and sun. These probes have amassed a stunning visual record of other worlds, revealing not one but scores of new frontiers, from rust-red Mars to the ethereal rings of Saturn.

Author Michael Benson has spent years compiling and digitally processing the best of these images. In Beyond this "deskbound cosmic pilgrim" (Atlantic Monthly) has pulled together the most spectacular of them into one volume that presents these photographs for the first time as art. The resulting book consists of two parts: the first is a spectacular visual tour of the solar system, with views every bit as compelling as the work of the great landscape photographers on earth; the second is a series of beautifully written essays that explain the story behind these photographs: the history of the probes' journeys, how they work, and why they were built. This book shows us how modern science has revealed the astonishing beauty and mystery of the solar system and its awe-inspiring worlds far beyond any places human beings have ever directly observed. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning.
Mostly, the best images you've ever seen of our solar system companions. I love astronomy books but I've never seen 95% of these large-format images. The detail is astounding. Some would make wonderful artwork if printed for wall display. I never knew what most of the planets looked like at such exquisite detail. Though there aren't too many Earth images, the ones included are just breathtakingly sharp, detailed and, true to life like you never saw before.

In a word, in a class by itself. The best of the best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Modern Day Icons of Cosmic Wonder
Why does anything at all exist rather than nothing?
If the amazing wonder of pure Being has struck your heart then 'Beyond' can aspire to become your meditative handbook
The images are indeed modern day religious icons that look AT you!
Each image can be contemplated for it's sheer beauty and can evoke awe and wonder at the mystery of creation and existence

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent images of our solar system
Astronomy and planetary exploration have produced many spectacular pictures, often gathered together in large-format books. Beyond may be the best of them all. Benson has done more than select the most interesting images from the past forty years of solar system exploration, many of them already familiar to space buffs. He has processed those images to produce jaw-dropping pictures, some rising to the level of art. In a few cases, he has combined images to form panoramas spread out over four unfolding pages.

The book begins with the Earth and its Moon, then moves to the Sun and the other planets from Mercury out to Neptune. Some of the most impressive images show moons transiting across the faces of Mars and Jupiter. The book includes a foreword by Arthur C. Clarke. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Planets become worlds
We are used to big glossy books of pretty pictures of celestial objects. This book is more than that, though. Sure, the book is beautifully produced and the pictures are pretty (and yes, they are of celestial objects) but when you look through the pages each planet (major and minor) becomes a world--a real place you could visit. The dunefields and erosional badlands of Mars are especially compelling, along with the odd and unfamiliar grooved terrain of the moons of the outer planets.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond your usual book
Before I opened up my amazon package yesterday and laid my eyes upon this book, it had been a while since I had held such a well made and beauftifully put together piece. Not having looked at its dimensions before purchasing, I was impressed by the book's size. There are images on almost every page, and they are extremely detailed and vivid. In my experience, this is one of the nicest astrophotography books on the market. A true treasure. ... Read more

2. A Traveler's Guide to Mars: The Mysterious Landscapes of the Red Planet
by William K. Hartmann
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 0761126066
Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Sales Rank: 40269
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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A Traveler's Guide to Mars revitalizes the Red Planet, leaving readers with the urge to don a spacesuit and take a long trip. With the look and heft of a guide to someplace you might actually go, the book presents Mars as a place of canyons and volcanoes, mesas, and barren plains, not that dissimilar from parts of Earth. Author William K. Hartmann, who participated in the Mars Global Surveyor mission, uses all the photos and data collected by scientists in decades of research to give a thorough, yet not boring, overview of the planet. The most exciting stuff is about water--whether it ever flowed on Mars, where it went, why it's hard to find. Beyond that, there are the rocks, dust, and weather to talk about, and Mars has lots of all three. Sidebars, maps, and chronologies help keep the regions and geology of Mars organized. Hartmann never forgets he's writing for the lay reader, and his style is personable and clear. When answering claims of NASA cover-ups, ancient civilizations, and hidden structures on Mars, he calmly lays out the facts and pictures, urging readers to simply examine the evidence. Hartmann offers a tourist's-eye view of one of our most intriguing planetary neighbors and does more to polish NASA's tarnished image than a thousand press releases. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE book on Mars
This book may very well be the best popular science book I've ever read. The story of what we know about Mars and how it was discovered unfolds in an exciting progression that leaves one convinced that not only has there been a lot of water on Mars in the past, but there is almost certainly still a lot of it underground all over the planet.

The story is lavishly illustrated with many amazing high-resolution images from the Mars Global Surveyor and other orbiter missions, along with a dozen or so of the author's own paintings.

The book answered all of the nagging quesitons I had about whether or not there's really evidence of water on Mars, and several times a question that formed in my mind (like "ok, maybe it was some fluid other than water like liquid CO2") was explicitly answered on the next page.

This book is a real gem, and if you want quick fun way to pick up the appropriate background for enjoying and understanding the results from the Spirit and Opportunity rover missions then this is it.

Sadly The Brittish Beagle 2 lander seems to have followed the Simplified Planetary Local Approach Trajectory that was favored by many previous attempts to land on Mars, but with the success (so far) of Spirit and high hopes for Opportunity landing soon, there will be plenty of exciting new information about Mars available soon, and I can only hope that the author of this book sees fit to give us a second edition in a year or so that summarizes all the new knowlege.

But for now, this it *the* book to get up to speed on Mars.


5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful tour with a great guide
If I were to take a guided trip to Mars, there are a handful of people that I'd like to choose my guide from - people who have spent their careers trying to understand Mars from the Mariner, Viking and Mars Global Surveyor missions. Bill Hartmann is certainly one of the members of that pool. He cut his geological teeth on the moon with Gerard Kuiper in the early 60's, and made wonderful, major contributions to our understanding of the moon. Then he has been involved in all the major Mars missions since the start. He is an artist as well as a scientist, so he informs this book with the soul of an artist as well as the mind of a scientist.

When I first saw the promotional literature for this book, I was struck by the beauty of the images in it. The book itself did not disappoint. It is a paperback, in the format of a field guide, but it is richly illustrated with color and black and white images. The book has two large fold-out maps - one of the best pre-space probe maps showing the Mars that can be seen with a telescope, and a topographic maps from the Mars Global Surveyor mission.

Hartmann uses his "Traveler's Guide" format to take us on a tour of Mars. The organization of the tour is based on the geological history of the Red Planet. So along the way, in addition to seeing the most fascinating places on Mars, we learn their geological context in chronological sequence.

Although it would be easy to bury the reader in geological jargon, Hartmann succeeds in making the study of Mars accessible and exciting. It is clear from reading the text that Mars is a world that still harbors many surprises for us. He is not afraid to share his thoughts with the reader - but he is careful to point out where they depart from the main stream. But given Hartmann's track record, one has to give his speculations more weight than most. He also enlivens the book with a thread of his personal journey as a Mars scientist in a series of stories from his career labeled, "My Martian Chronicle" that are is interwoven with the main text. These help illuminate the human side of the scientist.

Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tour of our most fascinating planetary neighbor
In thruth, I can add little more to the other Amazon reviews other than to say that they are right. William Hartmann's "A Traveler's Guide to Mars : The Mysterious Landscapes of the Red Planet" is a wonderful tour of Earth's most intriguing planetry neighbor, incorporating both a lively history of our evolving knowledge of Mars and also a up-to-date guide to the most fascinating mysteries. What are the sources of the strange gullies and canyons that sometimes stretch hundreds of miles? Why do vast areas of the Martian surface look like gigantic staircases? How much water is there?

The photographs from various interplanetary probes are marvelous and the maps eye-opening. The format of the book makes it especially suited for browsing -- dipping in here and there as whim takes the reader -- yet it also merits a more methodical approach to discover what four decades of space exploration has taught us about Mars.

5-0 out of 5 stars So when does the first flight leave?
Some of us who saw the lunar landing in 1969 are still wondering why we haven't gotten to Mars yet. Shouldn't that have been next?

Well, it still could be, and you can get more information on the possibilities by checking out the Mars Society and Red Colony websites. (I can't post the URLs here but in each case your first guess will be correct.)

And if you want more information on the planet Mars itself, this is the book you want.

Packed with gorgeous photos from the various Mars missions (and some from Earth for purposes of comparison and inference), this book is a garden of delights for areophiles: the very latest information and theories about the red planet, interspersed with the reminiscences and personal views of the author, astronomer William Hartmann, all in a very high-quality glossy paperback designed for long shelf life -- and, one hopes, for interplanetary travel.

If you've ever wondered what gives Syrtis Major its dark color, or even if you've just looked at the night sky once in a while wondering what the heck might be _out there_, you'll find something to engage you in this volume.

Have a look. Then let's start getting ready to go.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read!!!
This is book is simply amazing!! I wish I could give it ten stars - off the scale. The author has captured the majesty and mystery of Mars, clearly and concisely. Filled with hundreds of stunning, high resolution photographs, the book a real page turner for anyone in the general public who yearns to know what's out there awaiting us on Mars. ... Read more

3. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun
by Kenneth R. Lang
list price: $50.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521780934
Catlog: Book (2001-09-15)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 414522
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Everything you ever wanted to know about the sun, the powerhouse of our galaxy, sustaining life on earth, driving the weather, providing warmth and light--and, directly or indirectly, almost all the energy that plants and animals use.

Less a classic encyclopedia than a topic-by-topic textbook introducing readers to all things solar, astronomer Lang's compendium offers the very latest scientific views on a range of matters, from fundamental constants to the composition of sunlight, from the role of sunspots in terrestrial weather and human history to the methods scientists use to forecast such phenomena today, from the origins of the universe to days to come--when, 7 billion years from now, the "aging Sun will swell up to become a giant star," one that will spread to occupy the space the earth now occupies, and far beyond. Abundant photographs, charts, and line drawings, all very well made, accompany the text, which also includes a recent bibliography and a glossary of current terms.

Highly useful for students of astronomy and space science, this attractive volume will require little updating for years to come, and it serves as the best single general reference work on the subject. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars What you should know about the nearest star
This is a very nice book that will be of interest both to amateur astronomers and people with good physics background. The author separated descriptive text from text with mathematical content and as a result one can choose to read in a depth appropriate to their background. The book is also very well illustrated with informative captions below each picture. It is clear that the author is enthusiastic about the subject. However, what I did not like was that almost 100 from the 250 pages are devoted to general astronomical concepts and a glossary. This material is good but I would prefer to read more details about the sun. If the introduction explained solar physics (such as magnetism, spectra) in much more detail then subsequent chapters would be understood even better. I recommend the book to all people with a serious interest in the physics of our star. ... Read more

4. The Cambridge Guide to the Solar System
by Kenneth R. Lang
list price: $60.00
our price: $37.80
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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

5. The Giant Planet Jupiter (Practical Astronomy Handbooks)
by John H. Rogers
list price: $120.00
our 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

6. The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus
by Owen Gingerich
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
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Asin: 0802714153
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Walker & Company
Sales Rank: 13876
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the spring of 1543, as the celebrated astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus lay on his deathbed, his fellow clerics brought him a long-awaited package: the final printed pages of the book he had worked on for many years, De revolutionibus (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). Though Copernicus would not live to hear of its extraordinary impact, his book-which first posited that the sun, not Earth, was the center of the universe-is recognized as the greatest scientific work of the sixteenth century.

Four and a half centuries later, astrophysicist Owen Gingerich embarked on an extraordinary quest: to see in person all extant copies of the first and second printings of De revolutionibus. He was inspired by two contradictory pieces of information: Arthur Koestler's claim, in his famous book The Sleepwalkers, that nobody had read Copernicus's famous book when it was published; and Gingerich's discovery, at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, of a first edition of De revolutionibus that had been richly annotated in the margins by Erasmus Reinhold, the leading teacher of astronomy in northern Europe in the 1540s-strongly suggesting that Koestler's statement about the book was wrong.

After three decades of investigation, and after traveling hundreds of thousands of miles-from Melbourne to Moscow, Boston to Beijing-to view more than 600 copies of De revolutionibus, Gingerich has written an utterly original book built from his experience and the remarkable insights gleaned from Copernicus's books. Eventually he found copies once owned by saints, heretics, and scalawags, by musicians, movie stars, medicine men, and bibliomaniacs. Most interesting were the copies owned and annotated by astronomers, which even today illuminate the long, reluctant process of accepting the sun-centered cosmos as a physically real description of the world, and the tensions among scientists and between science and the church. Part biography of a book and a man, part scientific exploration, part bibliographic quest, Gingerich's book will offer new appreciation of the history of science and cosmology. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars The book everyone read
If I wish to determine who has read my publications or US patents, I can go to on-line sources of information. I can quickly get an idea of the influence of my work through the citations in subsequent publications. However, even citations do not necessarily assure that a work has been read. In order to find the influence of Copernicus' famous book, the author has spent decades tracking down the six hundred surviving copies of "De Revolutionibus" in the libraries of the world. He has used the marginal writings in these books to connect the books with their owners and groups of sixteenth century astronomers and mathematicians. Yes, Copernicus' book was read and analyzed by scientists throughout the western world.

Gingerich's book may be of more interest to library scientists than to astronomers. However, I did find the chapter on the geocentric Ptolemaic system vs. the Copernican heliocentric system fascinating. The author dispels the myth that the Ptolemaic system needed an unmanageable number of epicycles to match calculations with observations.. He shows that the two systems yielded equivalent predictions using about the same order of complexity. As a physicist, I would argue that you can work in any coordinate system that you choose, even one in which the Earth is stationary. However, the Copernican system did simplify the calculations and more importantly does more closely express the physical reality of the solar system. The work of Copernicus paved the way for Kepler's laws including the discovery of the elliptical nature of planetary orbits. Both the geocentric and heliocentric models were based upon the theory that the orbits of celestial bodies were fundamentally circular. This was a good first approximation for matching the precision of the existing observations. It was another century and a half after Copernicus that Newton formulated a theoretical basis for explaining planetary mechanics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Copernicus for Bibliophiles
In the year of my birth, Arthur Koestler threw down a gauntlet when he labeled Nicolaus Copernicus' De revolutionibus [arguably the greatest science book of the last few thousand years] "the book nobody read." Owen Gingerich, astronomer and bibliophile, picked up that gauntlet and did battle with Koestler in the way a scientist must do battle - find empirical evidence that the book had been read. The Book Nobody Read is Gingerich's popular account of his decades long effort to track down every extant copy of the first and second edition of De revolutionibus to look for evidence of use [mainly using the marginalia left by the readers/owners]. The book flap blurb nails the book when it calls The Book Nobody Read "part biography of a book, part scientific exploration, [and] part bibliographic detective story." The blurb writer could have tossed in adventure story, too. I enjoyed the book immensely, especially the excellent way in which The Book Nobody Read illustrates the use of the scientific [empirical] method for what many folks would perceive as a non-traditional use. As a bibliophile and science teacher, I'm probably a member of the perfect audience for this book. I include the previous statement as a caution, because at least one of the reviewers seems to have misjudged what the book was about. If you are interested in traditional biography and want a book on Nicolaus Copernicus, The Book Nobody Read may disappoint. If you like books on books and have an interest in history [especially the history of science], I think you'd rate this book a classic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Scholar's Story of Treasure Hunt
A respected historian of science, Owen Gingerich provides not only a fascinating introduction into the reception of Copernicus's De Revolutionibus but also a terrific narrative about the production of scholarship. The end result is both an engaging chapter in the history of science and an amazing foray into the history of reading more generally.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sleuthing about ownership & readership of De Revolutionibus
At his death in 1543 Nicholas Copernicus published De Revolutionibus, arguing that the sun, not the earth, was at the center of the known universe. There were over 600 copies of two editions that began to interest astronomical historian Gingerich who set out to scrutinize each copy in libraries and personal collections around the world, partly out of curiosity and partly to judge how widely the book had been read. The author engages in intriguing detective work, extending the known provenance of each book to include other owners while tracing its impact on scientific thinking in 16th and 17th century Europe. Since many of the copies contained marginal comments and were owned by astronomers, it became apparent from studies of handwriting who the students and who the professors were, giving us an insight about the readership. We learn about the formation of watermarks, types of glue, and how papermaking, printing and binding were accomplished. The author's expertise has been called upon to trace prior ownership of stolen copies offered at auction, and we learn that parts of one copy were sometimes used to round out the contents of another copy. Eight pages of bibliographic notes; good 16-page index; 8-pages of color; two appendices, one of which gives the location of extant copies. Highly recommended for history enthusiasts of astronomy and the Renaissance.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ensure mind is engaged before keyboard is in gear ...
"Gee gosh golly" anecdotal intelectual flabbyness, mostly centering on "I," and written in flacid prose. Would award no star at all if that were possible.

For coverage of similar and related material would highly recomend J. L. Heilbron's "The Sun In The Church" -- a vigorous and active intelect conveying complex insights clearly and writing with a dry sense of humor. ... Read more

7. Modern Celestial Mechanics: Dynamics in the Solar System (Advances in Astronomy and Astrophysics)
by Alessandro Morbidelli
list price: $139.95
our price: $139.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415279399
Catlog: Book (2002-07)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 715092
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Book Description

Celestial Mechanics has achieved spectacular results on the structure and evolution of the Solar System in the last 20 years.This book describes recent results on Solar System dynamics, with a solid theoretical basis and is strongly focused on the dynamics of planets and of small bodies. Modern Celestial Mechanics will be of great interest to graduate students and researchers of astronomy and astrophysics. ... Read more

8. Roving Mars : Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet
by Steven Squyres
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 1401301495
Catlog: Book (2005-08-03)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 225623
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Book Description

From the charismatic scientist and leader of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, a riveting, behind-the-scenes account of the search for life on Mars.

Steve Squyres is the face and voice of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission. Squyres dreamed up the mission in 1987, saw it through from conception in 1995 to a successful landing in 2004, and serves as the principal scientist of its $400 million payload. He has gained a rare inside look at what it took for rovers Spirit and Opportunity to land on the red planet in January 2004 -- and knows firsthand their findings.

Combining the journey of a young scientist with the history of NASA's Mars space program, Roving Mars offers a dramatic account of one of the most amazing adventures of our time. In an incredibly conversational and compelling voice, Squyres manages to go into detail about how the MER mission was born, covering the politics, mistakes, and confusion that ensued. He doesn't shy away from the technical aspects of the mission, but presents them in a way that is accessible to the most un-scientifically minded among us. Squyres leads us through the exhausting and exhilarating race to get the rovers to the launchpad in time -- and finally, the amazing story of Spirit's and Opportunity's journeys to Mars and what is found there. ... Read more

9. Volcanoes of the Solar System
by Charles Frankel
list price: $34.99
our price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
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

10. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Meteorites
by O. Richard Norton
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
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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

11. Observing and Measuring Visual Double Stars
by Robert W. Argyle, Bob Argyle
list price: $39.95
our price: $26.37
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Asin: 1852335580
Catlog: Book (2003-10-31)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Sales Rank: 63302
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Book Description

Double stars are the rule, rather than the exception: our solar system, having a single sun, is in the minority. Orbiting satellites, ground based observatories and interferometers have all helped discover many hundreds of new pairs - but this has left enormous numbers of wide, faint pairs under-observed or not observed at all.

This is where amateur astronomers can help. Bob Argyle, a professional astronomer at Cambridge University, shows where enthusiastic amateur observers can best direct their efforts. The book caters for the use of every level of equipment, from simple commercial telescopes to micrometers and CCD cameras.

Amateur astronomers who have gone beyond "sight-seeing" and want to make a genuine scientific contribution will find this a fascinating and rewarding field - and this book provides all the background and practical information that's needed. ... Read more

12. Beyond Pluto
by John Davies
list price: $28.00
our price: $28.00
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Asin: 0521800196
Catlog: Book (2001-07-23)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 213282
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Exactly what is beyond Pluto?Why, in the last ten years, has the Solar System more than doubled in size? For the first time, in almost two centuries, an entirely new population of planetary objects has been found that may well explain these two questions.This newly discovered realm of minor planets, now known as the "Kuiper Belt," has reconceptualized our understanding of how the Solar System was formed and has finally given ontological explanations for the enigmatic outer planet Pluto.Beyond Pluto is the fascinating story of how a group of theoretical physicists decided that there must be a population of unknown bodies beyond Pluto and how a small band of astronomers set out to find them. Acclaimed scientist John K. Davies recounts how they predicted the existence of these planetary bodies, how they were eventually discovered, and how Pluto was named.In addition, Davies provides biographies of the astronomers who discovered these new worlds and information on the telescopes they used. John K. Davies is a support scientist for the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) atop the dormant volcano Mauna Kea in Hawaii.He holds PhDs in chemistry and astronomy, discovered six comets while teaching at Leicester University in the UK, and was a member of the ISO-CAM team at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has contributed to magazines such as Astronomy, New Scientist, Sky & Telescope, and Space.In 2000, a small main asteroid belt was named Johndavies in recognition of his numerous contributions to astronomy. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars This is what astronomers actually do
Television documentaries about astronomers tend to romanticize their work, making it look like a parade of exciting discoveries. This book, about the search for objects beyond the traditional nine planets, gives the reader a much more realistic picture. Davies describes how individual astronomers and small groups work through the laborious processes of searching, analyzing results, and testing theories. There are many obstacles, including scientific rivalries and limited access to observatories. Yet patient work has gradually revealed an enormous, previously undetected realm of icy planetoids, some of which are perturbed into the inner solar system to become comets.

Davies' writing is clear and straightforward, avoiding mathematics and explaining technical terms where necessary. Readers with a serious interest in astronomy will find this book fascinating. Readers whose interest is only marginal may find it too detailed and slow-moving. Though the black and white illustrations are useful, it would have helped to have diagrams showing the scale of this vast realm all the way out to the hypothetical Oort Cloud. Good examples can be found in the June 2004 issue of Sky and Telescope.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Pluto
Davies, a scientist with the UK Infrared Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, tells the story of the discovery and investigation of the Kuiper Belt. Rarely discussed in most astronomy courses, this structure exists outside Pluto's orbit and explains the odd behavior and nature of Pluto. The book details the work of the large number of investigators that finally characterized the belt and gives details as to the belt's structure and the constitution of belt components. Though not a technical treatise, this book is not for the uninitiated. A basic understanding of the solar system and a basic scientific vocabulary are needed to get the most benefit from the book. Davies tells a good story by first introducing the objects of the Kuiper Belt and going through the history of the belt's discovery. He then gives a fairly detailed description of belt composition and ends with a very interesting discussion on the consequences of these discoveries for models of the solar system's evolution. It seems that most of the news one is offered in astronomy is either about cosmology or black holes. Davies shows that interesting and revealing astronomical studies are still being carried out on our system. General readers.

3-0 out of 5 stars This book should really be called "Beyond Neptune"
I bought this book to get information on the trans-Plutonian objects recently discovered. While there is some material on this (apparently little is actually known), most of the book is about the scientists who discovered these objects and how they did it. If you're looking for a book on how scientists work, this is quite good, but if like me you're looking for a book on the results of that work, you may be disappointed. I feel the title is a misnomer (though probably attention getting), because Pluto and its moon are among the objects discussed! Also, most of the objects orbit between Neptune and Pluto (at least when Pluto is at its average distance), so are really better described as trans-Neptunian than trans-Plutonian. I don't mean to be so negative about the book; it wasn't what I expected, based on the title, but it could be just what you're looking for.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise
This book is a summary of the (few) things we (think we) know about the objects that orbit beyond Neptune. The author gradually guides the reader through the science of these small icy objects, which existence was suspected almost 50 years before their actual discovery.

Introductory historical and theoretical chapters, covering the period from the discovery of Pluto and the next decades, are followed by more and more discoveries and scientific results, most of them not older than 10 years. From the first Centaurs to the extrasolar dust disks observations, every aspect is clearly explained, and ultimately provides a complete picture of this region of the solar system.

Throughout this chronology, the author explains the science as well as the way this science is actually done, up in the observatories in Hawaii, or in an university office, in front of a computer screen. It is a very honest tribute to the people (the author being one of them) that spend most of their time trying to set-up complex experiments, understand the cryptic data sent back by their high-tech instruments, and then write articles about things they are usually the first to analyze.

This book is short because not much is known yet. But it is fascinating because almost everything we know has been discovered in the last 10 years, and you can expect more in the very near future. In order to get the most of what we be published, this book is the place to start.

And for those, like me, who are interested in the far regions of the solar system, I would recommend this other book about the "King of the Kuiper Belt", Pluto, written by another specialist (Alan Stern): "Pluto and Charon". It's a good complement to this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Summary the Latest Findings of the Kuiper Belt Objects
In school most of us were taught that the last planet in the solar system is Pluto and there is nothing beyond but the vast emptiness of space. That is, at least until we reach the next star system. However, as the author points out in his book, the latest astronomical findings of the past ten years clearly show that there are many small objects (minor planets) that orbit beyond Pluto, which are also part of our solar system.

The book opens with a chapter devoted to the initial theoretical studies, which attempted to prove the existence of these distant objects years before they could be observed. The next two chapters examine two edge-of-the-solar-system objects, the short-period comets and the Centaurs (small bodies which orbit near Uranus and Neptune). The book then moves on to the long years spend by many astronomers trying to observe one of these objects and then characterize its orbit. Of course, once one was found many others where then discovered. After these sections, the book covers the effort to characterize the physical parameters, such as diameter, albedo, chemical composition, etc., of these objects and how they are formed and reformed (due to collisions with neighboring bodies). The book concludes which a section on future exploration of these objects and a subtle plea from the author to rename the Kuiper Belt after the man who first postulated its existence.

In general, I found this book to be quite interesting, especially the sections on the astronomers who devoted years of their life trying to find these objects. I do feel that some non-technical people may find this book a little overwhelming due to several graphs and the use many technical terms. ... Read more

13. The Worlds of Galileo: The Inside Story of Nasa's Mission to Jupiter
by Michael Hanlon, Arthur C. Clarke
list price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312272200
Catlog: Book (2001-11-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 862561
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very fun book, but somewhat lacking in depth
Michael Hanlon has written a book which captures the excitement of getting Galileo to Jupiter. This includes lots of engineering and management fixes to keep things on track, as well as the euphoria when everything finally works, esp. with the atmospheric probe and the Jupiter orbital insertion. He also describes very well the neat science learned while in orbit, esp. the Europa ocean debate.

My only problem with the book is that it's kind of at the PR-level of knowledge. That is, if you were following along with the mission, then there's probably not a lot new to learn here. (If you weren't following along, then feel free to disregard this review! :-) There are some interesting new tidbits, like the proposed work on an underground lake in Antarctica, to prepare for a drilling mission on Europa.

4-0 out of 5 stars Troubled travels
Journeys of exploration have always been risky ventures. When the trip involves several years over millions of kilometres, the odds of unblemished success grow enormous. Engaging in such a venture in the realm of space, almost beyond the reach of human control suggests hazards beyond imagining. This book describes such a venture, perhaps the most ambitious ever undertaken. That the measure of success achieved was so great is a tribute to all those who planned and implemented it. Michael Hanlon gives us a ringside seat in his portrayal of the journey of the Galileo Mission to Jupiter. Although not a participant, he ably captures the dedication and skills of the Mission Team. Further, he's able to place us in the space vehicle as it traversed one of the most bizarre journeys ever undertaken.

The Galileo Mission was spurred by the preceding Pioneer and Voyager missions of the 1970s. These four robots cruised through the outer solar system, returning stunning views of the largest planet and its associates beyond. In doing so, they raised numerous and unanswerable questions about our neighbours in space. Unlike the previous probes, Hanlon takes us through the planning that led Galileo's flight to Venus, back past Earth to its final destination far out in the solar system. The efforts put into the flight brought Galileo to within 5 km of its intended position when it arrived at Venus - a staggering achievement.

All the planning and engineering couldn't prevent problems, however. NASA's attempt to open the main transmitting antenna failed when some minor pins failed to release. When Galileo arrived at its primary destination, the antenna looked like an umbrella wracked by high winds. NASA used other methods to maintain communication, resulting in the stunning images seen here. It was a frustrating experience for the mission team, yet Galileo added a treasure house of new information about our neighbours in space.

We are so accustomed to the notion that we are the sole home of life, that the problems surrounding Galileo's termination render this issue the most bizarre of the trip. Europa, the ice-coated satellite of Jupiter, may contain living organisms in its hidden sea. In order not to contaminate that life, if it exists, Galileo had to be purposely sacrificed. Hanlon describes the options and why each was considered worthwhile. Galileo went to explore the Jovian system and was still transmitting images as he completed this vividly descriptive work. He is to be commended for a gripping account. We may be the only life in this group of planets, but Galileo's records give us a major argument to continue our search for life elsewhere. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

5-0 out of 5 stars The Inside Story of Nasa's Mission to Jupiter
The Worlds of Galileo tells the story of the American space probe that, five years ago, began studying Jupiter and its moons. The history of the NASA probe, Galileo, and its long space odyssey to the most dramatic corner of the Solar System is an account of a unique journey. Packed with first-hand testimonies from the men and women who made it happen, we go behind the scenes to learn just how many times the project was saved from disaster before its ultimate triumph. Illustrated with over one hundred color images straight from the NASA archives, the book reveals the harsh beauty and remarkable landscapes of the Jovian system.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
In 'The Worlds of Galileo', Mike Hanlon, one of Britain's leading newspaper science editors, relates how NASA's Galileo spacecraft overcame a series of severe problems and went on to revolutionise our understanding of the Jovian system.

Drawing upon interviews with the key participants, Hanlon explains the project's origin in the cash-strapped 1970s, the political travails of the early 1980s, and the redesign in the aftermath of the Challenger accident. After the spacecraft's epic voyage out to Jupiter, he focuses upon the astonishing 'fire and ice' moons of volcanic Io and Europa, where there appears to be an ocean beneath a thin shell of ice.

Hanlon handles the geological discussion with ease, so this is a highly readable account. Certainly, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who contributed the foreword, was impressed. Finally, St Martins Press is to be congratulated for having produced a very handsome volume with colour imagery throughout. ... Read more

14. Centauri Dreams: Imagining And Planning Interstellar Exploration
by Paul Gilster
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038700436X
Catlog: Book (2004-10-30)
Publisher: Copernicus Books
Sales Rank: 26566
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Book Description

Why, today, would anyone undertake a plan to launch a spacecraft some 30 years in the future, and on a journey that would take some 40 years to complete? Paul Gilster investigates the science, and the spirit, of the NASA and JPL researchers who are actually at work on just such a project. ... Read more

15. Sun, Moon, & Earth
by Robin Heath
list price: $10.00
our price: $8.00
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Asin: 0802713815
Catlog: Book (2001-04-01)
Publisher: Walker & Company
Sales Rank: 74477
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Every organism on Earth responds to four major cycles: the solar and lunar day, the synodic month and the year. We all dance to these primary rhythms. This book reveals the poetic cosmology that lies within the cycles of the Sun and Moon as seen from the Earth.

Experience the uniquely connected universe that Robin Heath presents; solstices, eclipses and equinoxes all concisely described and illustrated. The timeless beauty of our universe has never been more apparent or intriguingly simple.

Small Books, Big Ideas Historically, in all known cultures on Earth, wise men and women studied the four great unchanging liberal arts -numbers, music, geometry and cosmology-and used them to inform the practical and decorative arts like medicine, pottery, agriculture and building. At one time, the metaphysical fields of the liberal arts were considered utterly universal, even placed above physics and religion. Today no one knows them.

Walker & Company is proud to launch Wooden Books, a collectable series of concise books offering simple introductions to timeless sciences and vanishing arts.

Attractively simple in their appearance yet extremely informative in content, these unusual books are the perfect gift solution for all ages and occasions. The expanding title range is highly collectable and ensures continuing interest. In addition, the books are non-gloss and non-color, appealing to a greener book-buying public. Wooden Books are ideally suited to non-book outlets.

Wooden Books are designed as timeless. Much of the information contained in them will be as true in five hundred years time as it was five hundred years ago. These books are designed as gifts, lovely to own. They are beautifully made, case-bound, printed using ultra-fine plates on the highest quality recycled laid paper, finished with thick recycled endpapers and sewn in sections. There are fine, hand drawn illustrations on every page.

The fast-moving world of Wooden Books brings you a selection of fascinating titles. All hardcover, 64 pages, 100% recycled paper at $10.00 each. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed!
I was looking for something that wouldn't be too technical to give an overview (but not too superficial) about the movement of the sun, moon and earth. This was it! It talks about solstices and equinoxes, eclipses, lunar rhythms, cycles (long cycles and shorter ones), time/tide, the dance of the moon, wobbles, etc. It was just enough to provide a foundation of understanding and appreciation for what is going on around us.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another great little wooden book!
All in all a very good book, the material is lite and fun to read. He starts by defining various characteristics of the year (sun), then month (moon), and freckles these chapters with ideas about sacred geometry. Then he goes on to talk about eclipses and equinoctial rythms, and this part I really enjoyed, there must be about 6 or 7 chapters on the subject (all chapters are one pagers). The end of the book is completely devoted to sacred geometry, which is tastfully done, but not elaborated on very well. I was intregued by the book, because I've always thought it'd be possible to time the transition of one astrological age to another by using the Saros cycles of eclipses. The problem is which Saros do we use?

2 other good books about "the ages" are, Jungian Syncronicity Through the Astrological Signs And Ages, by Alice O'Howell; and Galactic Alignment, by John Major Jenkins. Studying the works of Jung (Aion) and Plato (Timaeus) will help flesh out the concepts presented in these books too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent little book
Beautifully done. This book explains the strange coincidence of the sun and the moon seen from earth. It should be read by everyone who takes the sky for granted so that they can appreciate just how special our location is. ... Read more

16. Our Worlds: The Magnetism and Thrill of Planetary Exploration
list price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
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

17. Lifting Titan's Veil : Exploring the Giant Moon of Saturn
by Ralph Lorenz, Jacqueline Mitton
list price: $30.00
our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
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

18. The Real Mars
by Michael Hanlon, Jim Garvin
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786714131
Catlog: Book (2004-12-10)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf
Sales Rank: 33704
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Book Description

In January 2004 two NASA spacecraft, making an interplanetary trek to Mars, landed separately on the rocky surface of the red planet. By the end of the month the work of the twin robot geologists, the exploration rovers known as Spirit and Opportunity, had begun. The photos and evidence were exciting; and it seemed there might even be life on the fourth rock from the sun. Illustrated in color, with more than 100 spectacular orbital and surface images from recent probes as well as from NASA spacecraft, the Hubble space telescope, and Earth-based observatories, Michael Hanlon's The Real Mars relates the history of a planet that has piqued human curiosity and study for centuries. Hanlon also visits Mars as it has been imagined in movies and science fiction, illustrating this with film stills, movie posters, book covers, and more. The object of Hanlon's quest is, however, a third or real Mars. He contends that many scientists are currently creating a planet that may be no more real than a movie Mars with often confusing evidence of Earthlike possibilities. This book shows us that, although the journey has been long, we actually still stand at the beginning of a transformative voyage. ... Read more

19. An Introduction to the Solar System
list price: $65.00
our price: $65.00
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Asin: 0521546206
Catlog: Book (2004-02-26)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 344317
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Book Description

Compiled by a team of experts, this textbook has been designed for elementary university courses in planetary science. It starts with a tour of the Solar System and an overview of its formation that reviews in detail the terrestrial planets, giant planets and minor bodies. It concludes with a discussion of the origin of the Solar System. The text contains numerous useful learning features such as boxed summaries, student exercises with full solutions, and a glossary of terms. It is also supported by a website hosting further teaching materials. ... Read more

20. Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Modern Library Science Series (New York, N.Y.).)
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 037575766X
Catlog: Book (2001-10-02)
Publisher: Modern Library
Sales Rank: 243585
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in Florence in 1632, was the most proximate cause of his being brought to trial before the Inquisition. Using the dialogue form, a genre common in classical philosophical works, Galileo masterfully demonstrates the truth of the Copernican system over the Ptolemaic one, proving, for the first time, that the earth revolves around the sun. Its influence is incalculable. The Dialogue is not only one of the most important scientific treatises ever written, but a work of supreme clarity and accessibility, remaining as readable now as when it was first published. This edition uses the definitive text established by the University of California Press, in Stillman Drake’s translation, and includes a Foreword by Albert Einstein and a new Introduction by J. L. Heilbron. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Dialogues of Galileo - with Modern Solutions
This edition of the Dialogues of Galileo Galilei includes mathematical solutions to the problems Galileo treats in plain language and an introduction describing a new cannon-ball experiment of the type used by Galileo that may be used to distinguish between the predictions of General Relativity and the editor's unified field theory. The Dialogues are then more interesting to the modern physics student, as it begins to resemble a review of contemporary mechanics in addition to being a grand old piece of history. Additional forwarding material by Albert Einstein and historical background by translator Stillman Drake make this edition a supurb introduction to the history of physics in which now the correct solutions may be read from the margins in modern physical notation. In addition, a number of illustrations have been added to illustrate old terminology for describing heavenly bodies and to provide portraits of Copernicus, Galileo, and his contemporaries Tycho and Kepler. ... Read more

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