There are very few books available that provide an excellent summary of the planets with the right amount of facts, but we have one here.
I like the geological approach. The satellites of the outer worlds dominate in terms of their diverse make up, but the chemistry of the gas worlds is not ignored. The rocky worlds of the inner Solar System are also well covered.
Each chapter deals with specific topics rather than being devoted to one planet in turn. This allows comparisons with the geology, topography and atmosphere on Earth. Solar interaction, temperate zones and magnetic fields are all explained.
The pushing and pulling of Io by Jupiter, the asteroid-like shaping of the Martian moons, the volcanic structures of Venus and Mars, the previously thought to be inactive world of Mercury (now known to be tectonically driven by a deep liquid core), a sea and land jigsaw on Titan, a pitted Ganymede not too dissimilar to our own Moon, a scarred Miranda, the lava and ash deposits on Triton – the variety of our Solar System excites!
Initially I thought this book would only appeal to the beginner or younger reader, but I was wrong. I have been interested in astronomy for over 40 years and I am pleased to advise that this book would be a worthy addition to any astronomer’s bookshelf and remain a handy reference. The mathematics contained in this book are fairly straightforward.
This book is super value being priced under £10 and is part of a wider selection of astronomy and cosmology titles. I certainly recommend it.
Reviewed by Ian Welland