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Comet Hardcover – 31 Dec 1985

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 398 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st Edition edition (31 Dec. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394549082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394549088
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 3.2 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,084,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By anthony charles deakin on 13 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
when i started read this book i could not put it down it been well looked after was well packed and came on time company is very good will use them again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Could this comet be the comet coming in at the moment? Comet Ison will be visible from September onwards,and hugely so in November.Were the mayans,Edgar Cayce and Carl Sagan right about these E.L.E. comets?....
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By Cookie on 5 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
Book as new.... Excellent value... Very pleased
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By Ivan on 30 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great, it was on time and the book is great.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Ameteur and Armchair Astronomers will love this book 9 July 2004
By Randy - Published on
Format: Paperback
I would classify myself as the Armchair type - I don't own a telescope, and shamefully I do not know my constellations, but I have enjoyed many popular books on the subject. Having just finished reading this book I am sorely tempted to get a telescope or at least go out and find a local star party (where ameteur astronomers set up their equipment and gladly share viewing opportunities with strangers). This book was truely one of my favorite reads on the subject in recent years. To be sure, the primary focus of the book is about comets and I thought that there could not be enough here to justify an entire book - wrong!!! Sagan takes the reader on a very interesting and inspiring tour of the solar system while also teaching some interesting astronomy history. The chapter on Haley alone teaches about the early history of astronomy and tells a fascinating story of a brilliant scientist about whom most of us have heard little beyond the discovery of the comet which carries his name. Also discussed in this book is the likely connection between comets and the end of the Dinosaurs 65,000,000 years ago (before which the largest mammals were mouse size, according to the book) and the current interest astronmers have in comets and asteroids as a potential threat in our current age. Another great feature of this book is that the many chapters may be easily read in any desired order; Sagan kindly refers us to other chapters with supporting material - so when he talks about the "sand bank" theory of comets - he tells you which chapter covered that idea. I couldn't put the book down (for long).
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Good book 1 Jun. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dr. Sagan, as usual, has written a book that truly captured my attention. The photos and drawings were superb and the writing as usual was direct and not written in techno babble.
Dr. Sagan takes the time to explain theories and takes us on a roving path through the solar system. I couldn't figure out how some of the topics related to comets, but to be honest with you, I did not really care. I love his writings and I am sorry that he is no longer with us.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
How everything that has ever existed relates to comets 3 Jan. 2005
By Grant - Published on
Format: Paperback
For an author to write an entire novel dedicated to comets and be able to keep the reader from slipping into a coma must be a very difficult task. However, Carl Sagan managed to hold my eyes to the 350+ pages without too much of a struggle. He provided vivid descriptions of the cool blue islands peacefully drifting through the endless reaches of space and how they suddenly awaken as they near a star. Sagan also presented interesting information about the lives of many prominent astronomers and how comets played important roles in almost every major civilization throughout history. Admittedly, there were times where it seemed as though my history book met up with my science book and gave birth to a hideous creation comprised of the worst of each. This book provided knowledge about a broad range of topics and how they all connected to comets. I would not recommend this book to anyone who is easily distracted or quickly discouraged. Some of chapters of this novel take a little effort to get through, but in the end it provides the reader with many interesting facts.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good update of the 1985 version 23 Nov. 1997
By Emc2 - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book goes deeper on the comet subject, originally explained in his best-seller Cosmos. This updated version includes topics such as Comet SHL-9 impact on Jupiter, the dinosaurus extinction theory, actual pictures of Halley's Comet, etc.
Good scientific explanation on the origin and physical nature of comets. There ara two interesting and updated chapters dealing with the colission of comets and asteroids with Earth and other celestial bodies.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great history comets and scientists/astronomers,and theorists... theories and new info 7 Nov. 2011
By Thomas Erickson - Published on
Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of the late great scientist/astronomer Carl Sagan. I've read most of his books and most are 5 stars...see my reviews.As a 40 year amateur astronomer I found Comet by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan done fantastically well. Carl was always great at explaining a complex subject for the non scientist and keeping a complex subject interesting and allowing the reader to want to continue reading.

Comet has loads of beautiful pictures, drawings, and diagrams by very good artists especially my favorite Jon Lomberg (I bought a lithograph from him "First Baby on Mars"...absolutely wonderful). Back to Comet!

Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan give a great 1/3 of the book to the history of what mankind thought comets were, from evil things that foretold famine, death for armies, earthquakes and any number of disasters, to gradually a more modern "dirty ice ball" approach.

Then we learn the composition of comets. Some rich in organic matter with ices of methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide and mostly regular water ice plus some heavy water isotopes and a little silicates and metals. A huge "dirty iceball".

We see the near comets with orbits starting beyond Jupiter to comets way way out in the far reaches of the Oort cloud where orbits around the sun may take 10 million years. We see the different "ices" that boil off at different spacings from the sun, with regular water ice being the last to go as comets get closer to the sun. We learn about comet comas, their tails and their nucleus heads.

We learn some asteroids may be worn out comets as each time comets get close enough to the sun they slowly "die" as a meter or so of ice is boiled off until rocky silicates, and heavy metals like iron are left.

We see the various extinction ages where most of the species on Earth were eliminated with comets crashing into the Earth as main contributors. We see about 69 million years ago, the extinction of the dinosaurs possibly by a comet impact, allowing mammals to evolve with no competition from the dinosaurs, allowing the evolution of man.

Lots of history about many famous and not so famous scientists and ancient theorists, and how different religions from different countries perceived comets. Lots of theories on comet formation, where they come from, how many there are, and where they are now. Are we in danger of getting hit by one now! Explanation of the inner and outer Oort cloud and the far distant comets formed from the very beginning of the solar system. These comets have been in the cold about 10 degrees above absolute zero) for billions of years and the extreme low temperatures and extreme distance from the sun have allowed them no interaction with other solar bodies. This allows their composition to be basically unchanged since the beginning of the solar system.

We see mans quest to find the composition of comets using high altitude U2 planes to get cosmic dust for study.Many spacecraft shot up for photos of comets, solar wind detection, and trying to get any comet particles. Fascinating stuff.

Lots of info on the favorite comet Halley plus lots of information on the scientist Halley. Lots of other comets mentioned plus their orbits shown.

Talk of possible future colonization of the comets in the Oort cloud and growing gigantic trees on the comet... miles high and wide! Kind of Sci Fi to me but interesting.

Comet is a fascinating book both for the novice who has never seen a comet, the 40 year amateur astronomer like me, and the professional astronomer/scientist. All will appreciate this book. There is no difficult math. All will enjoy the many pictures and parents can show and tell their child from this book. Would make a great book for middle school, high school or a college astronomy 101 course.

Also got out of this book there is so much that we don't know about comets, especially about the extreme orbit comets but we are learning more everyday. Do yourself and family a favor. Next time a naked eye comet event happens enjoy it. You may not even need binoculars or a telescope. Halley comes around every 75 years, some comets less time, some more time and some are never seen again explosion, decomposition or flung out of their orbits by gravitation slingshot effect by Jupiter or more reasons). Just a fascinating sight to see out your backyard sky. If you have the chance enjoy.

I sure miss Carl Sagan. Even though he never knew of me, I knew of him and consider him a friend.
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