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50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System Hardcover – 3 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (3 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674049985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674049987
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 18.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,329,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Baker and Ratcliff manage to put a fresh spin on these stalwarts of the solar system's extreme A-list...Laid out in 50 brief but beautifully illustrated chapters, The 50 Most Extreme Places in the Solar System is hugely enjoyable. Although better dipped in and out of rather than ploughed through cover to cover, its science is well founded, accessible and informative, making it a great read for the enthusiastic, specialist, or educator." --Jim Wild, Times Higher Education, 4 November 2010

"Readers will also find it an enjoyable and fascinating look at the Solar System around us and will no doubt broaden their knowledge. I fully recommend this book to anyone of any age with an interest in the Solar System and how much of a hostile, humbling and amazing place it is to exist."
--Astronomy Now, 1 January 2011, David Powell

About the Author

David Baker is the Chairman of the Physics Department at Austin College. Todd Ratcliff is a planetary geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AstroChick on 8 Jan 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No one's reviewed this so i thought i'd be the first incase someone wants to know what it's like and if it's worth the money.

It's quite a small book in size, but quite thick. It is hardcover (i prefer books that are hardcover, because they look better and are easier to hold)Also the book is well made, and the pages feel decent (i have found with some books, they are cheaply put together)

The first thing i noticed when i opened it was the pictures, they are awesome pictures. They really do look stunning. There are nine parts to this book: They range from extreme weather on the different planets/moons to life and how it came about.

The information in this book is good, and is accompanied by some tables (easy to understand) and pictures. In one bit they show a scar that's on the Mars surface, and impose the scar onto Earth to show how big it is (stretches right across America) stuff like that just makes you think wow.

I really do recommend this book, it's well worth the price and more. :)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great choice for the intellectually curious! 9 Dec 2010
By k.aleph0 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am really amazed that a book can excite an adult practicing scientist and still manage to capture the attention of non scientists everywhere! The authors have done an amazing job. They take us on an adventurous trip into the extremes of the universe, with self-contained sections complete with photos and explanations. One can "read around" or sit down and read from beginning to end. The reader is assumed to be somewhat educated and definitely curious, but the authors fill in where we are lacking. They investigate the extremes in physical places in the universe as well as extreme events in time and historical happenings. The photos are amazing (and plentiful). Although the book is clearly stimulating for an adult audience, it would also be a great gift for an intellectually curious and talented older child. I have not seen a book this exciting in a good few years, and I highly recommend it for your own pleasure, as well as for potential pleasure for your brighter children or for your friends/family.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Real Science That's Easy To Read 1 Dec 2010
By Denise L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was skeptical that I would enjoy this book, but it was recommended to me by a friend and I decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I'm glad I did.

The text is informal, but informative -- it feels like your rocket-scientist Uncle is explaining complex facts and ideas to you in layman's terms. I've always loved looking up at the night sky, but I've never really taken an interest in planetary science. This book went a long way in helping me understand just how complex and interesting the Solar System really is. While the book does cover the "50 most extreme places" in the Solar System, it's structured more like a collection of short 2-6 page essays covering specific topics than a 'Top 10' list.

All the sections are packed with interesting trivia [e.g. winds on Neptune can reach 1,000 miles per hour, Mercury has an average temperature of 336 degrees but has ice deposits, etc]. I think anyone age 10+ would find the book interesting, and the 10-and-under crowd will definitely enjoy the pictures. Some sections are more complex than others, so there's enough to keep both the highly-knowledgeable and casual reader entertained. All the sections of the book are self-contained, so you can read the book cover-to-cover or pick out an individual topic and spend 5-10 minutes reading only that section.

As other reviewers have noted, the images are absolutely terrific. The most interesting thing I discovered reading through this book is not how much we know about the Solar System, but how much we don't know about it. The book includes a glossary of terms in the back as well as a bibliography, if you're serious about learning some real planetary science. My only real criticism of the book is that I wish it were physically bigger, so they could have made the pictures larger. That being said, the book fits nicely on a coffee table and makes for fun conversation when someone reads a chapter like "Stinkiest Place -- The Rotten Egg of Io". If you're the kind of person who tends to look at the stars and wonder what's going on up there, this book is for you.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Book 6 Dec 2010
By Ward V - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have collected books like this since I was a kid wanting to be an astronaut. This is one of the best by far. It combines tons of great high def pictures, extreme information and a semi-Guinness-Book-of-World (Universe!) Records feel all in one book. This would be a great gift for almost anyone that is even slightly interested in the natural world, space exploration or atmospheric sciences. It might even spure somebody to pursue a career in this field. You can pick it up and put it down or stay up all night trying to figure out which place really is the most extreme. Fantastic Book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Delightful!!! 5 Dec 2010
By JT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The kids and I have walked through the extreme places in our universe and have thouroughly enjoyed the journey!!! Mr Baker has written a book that is at home, "at home", as well as smack dab in the middle of acedemia. The pictures are gorgeous and the topics are compartmentalized in such a way that you can read for a short time and be able to knock out a section without losing continuity. Then you can come back later and start fresh in a different place in our universe!!! Text is written so that the casual reader as well as the student or scholar will be able to gleen what they need and learn something new along the way!!! Recommended highly for both the layperson and seasoned veteran alike!!!! Great book to get the kiddos hooked!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Deep Yet Accessible 28 Nov 2010
By Will Mcknight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book for both those just getting into astronomy and planetary science as well as those who are long time enthusiasts like myself. There are a lot of great pictures and diagrams that add depth and help the reader really get an understanding of the phenomena being described. The text is well-written, informative and often witty or just plain funny. While this can be easily digested by youngsters, there is enough scientific depth in each section to teach you something that you certainly didn't know. Personal favorite "extremes" were extreme impact craters, Jupiter's magnetosphere and Frankenmoon.
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