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Book Reviews


The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System
Author: David Baker and Todd Ratcliff

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 978-0-674-04998-7

Price: £19.95 (Hb) 290pp


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This planet on which we find ourselves is part of a larger, unforgiving and extraordinary environment; it’s kind of like growing up all safe and warm but in the middle of a busy road.

There is no shortage of harsh realities out there and this book deals with many of them, such as Jupiter’s enormous magnetosphere, Venus’s super dense atmosphere and diamond hail on the ice giants Uranus and Neptune.

Every chapter is given to detailing each of the 50 chosen extremes and each are described in a clear and accessible manner, including up to date information from spacecraft such as Cassini at Saturn.

Although deemed ‘extreme’ it’s not all volcanoes, gaping impact scars and tidal waves – many chapters deal with gentler wonders such as solar eclipses, the awe-inspiring rings of Saturn and our own planet Earth all illustrated by a multitude of high quality images.

As may be deduced from the title, this book would be of immediate interest to younger readers and their attention would easily be maintained by the tone and clarity of the writing. That said; more seasoned readers would also find it an enjoyable and fascinating look at the Solar System around us and would no doubt broaden their knowledge.

I fully recommend this book to anyone of any age with an interest in the Solar System and how much of a hostile, humbling and amazing place it is to exist.

David Powell

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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