The Planets

Consultant: Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Price: $30 (US) £20 (UK). Publisher: Dorling Kindersley.

Books from Dorling Kindersley are always a visual feast and this new guide to the Solar System is no exception. Every page is filled with stunning colour images, making it a real joy to peruse.

But along with some of the latest views of planets from visiting space probes is some equally splendid text to explain what it all means.

Click to buy The Planets in the USA
Click to buy The Planets in the UK

Maggie Aderin-Pocock, the new presenter of BBC’s long-running The Sky at Night TV show, brings her skills to bear as the book’s consultant. She is supported by some of the leading names in astronomy and space writing.

Their words are as colourful as the pictures and the result is a non-technical book that will delight readers of all ages, who won’t need brains the size of planets themselves.

Beginning with a description of how the Sun was born in a cloud of gas and dust, the book runs through the various types of object that make up the Solar System. Starting with the Sun, which dominates the family, several pages are devoted to each object. All the planets are there, including the Earth, and further sections describe the smaller bodies such as dwarf planets, moons, comets, asteroids and meteors.

A particularly attractive feature is a presentation of the different layers of individual worlds, from their atmospheres to their cores, rather like peeling away the layers of an onion. Each planet’s pages also include a timeline showing how our knowledge of them has grown through history.

In short, this is a delightful book and a must-have guide to the Solar System as we know it today.

Click here to buy The Planets in the USA
Click here to buy The Planets in the UK

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