The Planets: The Definitive Visual Guide to Our Solar System

DK. 2014. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9781465424648. $30. REF
OrangeReviewStarIn this engagingly written and vibrantly colored tour of the solar system, DK and the Smithsonian provide readers with a scientific resource that will take them on an impressive and comprehensive planetary tour. Following a brief discussion of solar and planetary formation, the volume gets right to it with a chapter on the Sun before moving out to Mercury and beyond. Each section is consistently organized with segments on each subject's general information, a brilliant look at its structure, topography, a time line that encapsulates our historical relationship with it and a discussion of scientific missions or observations of it. Another section of each chapter takes readers to a particular location on the subject's surface including Venus's Maxell Montes, Saturn's rings and orbiting Enceladus, and Neptune's moon, Triton. A judicious amount of time is spent looking at the Earth and Moon, with a beautiful array of terrestrial images and edifying facts reminding us just how special and amazing our home really is. Beyond Neptune (Pluto is officially off the board now), a chapter titled "Outer Limits" surveys topics including the Kuiper Belt, Dwarf Planets (Pluto), and Comets. Included in the appendix is a verity of statistical information on all the solar objects and space exploration.
VERDICT This handy volume packed with the latest scientific observational analysis is a must-have for fans of planetary science. [For Brian Odom's takes on new trade titles covering the solar system, see p. 116.—Ed.]
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