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Book Reviews


At the Edge of the Solar System: Icy New Worlds Unveiled
Authors: Alain Doressoundiram and Emmanuel Lellouch

Publisher: Springer-Praxis

ISBN: 978-1-4419-0864-3

Price: £29.99 (Pb), 205pp


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The dedication may read, ‘To Pluto, with our apologies’ but by reading on it becomes clear that there is really nothing to apologise for. Despite having its planetary status removed, this book reveals Pluto to be a fascinating and important member of a diverse collection of icy bodies. The outer Solar System and its associated nomenclature can be confusing territory, yet this book clearly and informatively guides you through the menagerie of strange and frigid objects that lurk in the feeble sunlight out beyond Neptune.

Beginning with a look at our historical knowledge of the Solar System prior Pluto’s discovery, the book goes on to detail what we know so far about the Pluto-Charon system and how it came to be.

The myriad new discoveries in the outer Solar System which led to Pluto’s reclassification as a Plutino are also fully described; from large objects like Eris, to tiny bodies whose only chance of discovery was by blinking out distant starlight. I was fascinated to learn what a dynamic past these objects have had, with many either thrown clear of the solar system or scattered sunward to bombard the inner planets, Earth included.

All this information is presented in a very readable style and accompanied by around 150 images and diagrams. I fully recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the outer Solar System and how the objects in this region, and others like them, have shaped ours and other planetary systems.

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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