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Books About the Solar System

Jupiter - The Giant Planet, Reta Beebe, Smithsonian 1994.  This is a fine and readable description of Jupiter and its moons.  There are numerous excellent color plates.  The narrative is clear and well written.  Just the right technical level to be challenging but not overwhelming.

The Planets - Portraits of New Worlds, Nigel Henbest, Penguin 1994.  Pictures, pictures and more pictures.  This is a very fine collection of images of the planets.  There is some nice text to go with them.

The New Solar System, J. Kelly Beatty and Andrew Chaikin Des, Sky Publishing Third Edition 1990.  This has got to be the best book on the solar system to date.  Very up to date pictures and a text of excellent authority and detail.  If you are interested in the planets, this book is a must have.

The Planet Observer's Handbook, Fred W. Price, Cambridge 1994.  As the title suggests, this is a handbook for observers.  How to details about observing by an observer are excellent in their detail and authenticity.  A fine handbook.

The Great Comet Crash - The Collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter, John R. Spencer and Jacqueline Mitton,  Cambridge 1995.  This is the greatest book I have seen on the big crash.  Full of wonderful images, excellent text and carries an authenticity that is deep and true.  A fine book and a must for those interested in this event.

Atlas of the Moon, Antonin Rukl, Kalmback Books 1992.  Map, maps, maps and images as well.  Everything you ever wanted to know about the moon.  This is the guide for moon observers.

The Understanding of Eclipses, Guy Ottewell, Astronomical Workshop 1993.  A nice small booklet about recent and coming eclipses.  Full of excellent and easy to understand diagrams.  Just in time for the February eclipse.  Nice book.

The Giant Planet Jupiter, John H. Rogers, Cambridge 1995.  This is the giant book about the giant planet.  This is a complete book about Jupiter.  There is a lot of everything you might want to know.  Very excellent scientifically, very authoritative and almost more that you want to know.  But for Jupiter enthusiasts and real must have book.

Observing Comets, Asteroids, Meteors and the Zodiacal Light, Stephen J. Edberg and David H. Levy,  Cambridge 1994.  This is a fascinating and well documented book about a topic that is much larger than I had imagined.  Thoroughly interesting and informative.  Even though my main interest is not these objects, I find this book an excellent one.  I suppose one should be more interested since one of these objects is the most likely to bonk into us.

Pluto and Charon - Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System, Alan Stern and Jacqueline Mitton, John Wiley and Sons 1998.  This is a nice book. For those who have an interest in the solar system and particularly for those that have enjoyed the Tombaugh biography it is a must read.  This book is all about Pluto and its companion.  It is well written and tells possibly more that you wanted to know about this "minor" planet.  Never-the-less a good and relatively easy read.  Pluto will always be a planet, and one with a special place for me, even though some think otherwise.

Volcanoes of the Solar System, Charles Frankel, Cambridge 1996.  A really thorough discussion of volcanoes on earth and other bodies of the solar system.  A fine and authoritative book on volcanoes.  While most are on earth, those on other bodies have a great resemblance.  Interesting book.

Meteorite Craters and Impact Structures of the Earth, Paul Hodge, Cambridge 1994.  This is a true encyclopedia of impact structures.  All known impacts are discussed in detail.  photographs, maps and detailed descriptions are included.  An interesting book about the structures and impacts that might just do us in sometime.

Everybody's Comet - Comet Hale-Bopp, Alan Hale, High-Lonesome Books 1996.  This is a little book in paper designed for the layman.  It starts with what is a comet and includes are rather detailed exposition of how the comet was found through predictions of how it will do in the year to come.  (1997)  A quickly put out and rather shallow book.

The Comet is Coming!,  Nigel Calder, Viking 1981.  This book is about Halley's comet of 1985-6.  This is a book for the layman as intended.  It has all the usual stuff about dirty snowballs and a few of the too close encounters with the earth. It is ok for the layman but not much else.

Comet of the Century, Fred Schaf, Copernicus 1997.  This book is a bit more comprehensive that most others on comets.  It is heavy on the narrative with few diagrams or images.  But it does discuss many comets since 1700 and through to Hale-Bopp, including a section on Hyakutake.  The book is interesting but somewhat of a bore to read since it is so poorly illustrated.

Observing and Photographing the Solar System, Dobbins,  Parker and Capen, William-Bell 1992 (rev).  This is subtitled  "A Practical Guide for the Amateur Astronomer."  In every way this is a superb book.  The details about all of the equipment required and how to use it are covered at length.  Numerous fine images of the planets are included.  There is an extensive discussion about the planets, how they appear and how to observe them intelligently.  The techniques are important to amateur photographers since relatively modest array of equipment is required and well within the reach of many amateurs. This is a very fine reference book.

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