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PATRICK MOORE BOOKS



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Book Reviews


Patrick Moore’s Data Book of Astronomy

Author: Patrick Moore and Robin Rees

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 978-0-521-89935-2

Price: £35 (Hb) 575pp


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Patrick Moore’s Data Book of Astronomy is a successor to both the Guinness Book of Records in Astronomy and the Astronomy Data Book and, as such, it has amassed a staggering amount of information amidst its nearly 600 pages. It is a solid brick of a book densely and meticulously constructed of myriad facts concerning everything in our Solar System and beyond.

Beginning with the evolution of our Solar System, the book goes on to detail the Sun, planets, moons and smaller objects all with up to date information as of its completion in December 2010. Everything from the physical characteristics and geology of planets and moons to an exhaustive list of the space missions ever to have visited them is covered. There is even a 41 page list of every lunar crater replete with co-ordinates, diameters and information on its namesake.

Much of the information is in the form of text but there are a few spacecraft images of planetary bodies although sadly no colour plates. Also present are many fascinating maps showing just how much of our neighbouring planets, moons and asteroids have been charted so far.

Moving outward, everything we know about stars both local and distant is covered as are star clusters, galaxies, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the evolution of the Universe.

Towards the rear is a star catalogue containing over 130 pages of maps and information on every type of star in every constellation from which any astronomer will gain useful insight.

This book is an invaluable and up-to-date compendium of everything anyone would wish to know about our Solar System and the vast Universe in which it sits. The word ‘data’ in the title may imply simply facts and figures but this is a wonderful and very readable reference book.

David Powell

 

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