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Planets: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 25 Nov 2010
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The writing style is exceptionally clear and pricise (Astronomy Now)
About the Author
Professor David Rothery became interested in astronomy as a schoolboy, and took a degree in geology at Cambridge University. He went on to a career in geological remote sensing at the Open University, where is now a Professor chairing planetary science courses and doing research in volanology and planetary science. He has been involved in various lunar and martian missions, and is now lead scientist for an X-ray spectrometer to be flown to Mercury on the BepiColombo spacecraft, and has chaired the European Space Agency's Mercury surface and composition working group since 2007.
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Planets details the solar system in general, then spends the majority (41/125 pages) talking about planets like Earth (Rocky Planets) before detailing the gas giants, satellites, rings, asteroids and trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) - the description of which are largely factual, with some postulation on the exact composition and formation that arise from each of the widely varied bodies.
I personally found the composition & formation of the gas giant's satellites the most interesting, referencing the missions that got us the data we have today, Europa, Io and Triton are intriguing places. It also deals with the whole Pluto classification furore. Rothery then finishes on the most intriguing thought of all; the question of life in the universe.
A deeply fascinating book, as well suited to the amateur astronomer as the professors as a quick reference book. Jam-packed with statistics and black & white photos of the planets/satellites/asteroids in question. Highly recommended!
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