The Nine Planets
There's still room for hardcopy in the age of the Internet! Here are some of my recommendations:
- The Planets op. 32 by Gustav Holst
- An excellent recording by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by André Previn. This is the CD from which the sound clips in The Nine Planets are taken.
- Symphony No. 41 in C Major K. 551 ("Jupiter") by W. A. Mozart
- I'm not sure what it has to do with the planet but it's one of Mozart's best. And that's saying a lot!
- The New Solar System J. Kelly Beatty, Andrew Chaikin (Editors)
- My primary reference for constructing The Nine Planets.
An excellent book filled with detailed info about the whole solar
system recently updated with info from Galileo and Mars Pathfinder.
It's at a slightly more advanced level than The Nine Planets but that's just what you need if you want to take the next step.
- Encyclopedia of the Solar System Paul R. Weissman et al (Editors)
- A much more scholarly tome than the above; for those who want to go much deeper. (Also check the publisher's WWW site.)
- Exploring Planetary Worlds by David Morrison
- The other principal source for The Nine Planets.
This is a beautiful book with very high quality images and well
written, by a man who was (and is) in the middle of NASA's planetary
- The Cosmos by Jay M. Pasachoff and Alexei V. Filippenko
- An introductory textbook by two of the world's best astronomy teachers.
- Life in the Universe by Jeffrey O. Bennett, Seth Shostak, Bruce Jakosky
- A comprehensive introduction the the science of life in general and how it might apply to planets beyond the Earth.
- Feynman's Lost Lecture : The Motion of Planets Around the Sun by Richard Feynman, David L. Goodstein, Judith R. Goodstein
to really understand the physics of planetary orbits? This is it. It
will take a little study but it's well worth it. And easier than you
think. Richard Feynman at his best.
- The NASA Atlas of the Solar System
- A little expensive, but drop dead gorgeous. Here are many of the same images seen in The Nine Planets but reproduced with far better resolution and color. If you liked The Nine Planets, you'll love this.
Also available in
- In Search of Planet Vulcan by Richard Baum, William Sheehan
- An account of the non-discovery of a planet inside Mercury's orbit. A much more interesting tale than you might imagine.
- Venus Revealed by David Harry Grinspoon
latest results from Magellan in an accessible and easygoing book.
Covers mythology and history of our "sister planet" as well as up to
date science. Nice glossy images, too.
- Venus in Transit by Eli Maor
- Fascinating account of past transits and the woes that befell those involved.
- Orbit : Nasa Astronauts Photograph the Earth by Jay Apt et al
beautiful "coffee table book". Kids often ask me which is my favorite
planet. My answer is always "Earth". This book shows why.
- Planet Earth by German Space Center
- Another "coffee table book" of pictures of the Earth from space. Is it art? Maybe, but it is certainly useful science.
- T. Rex and the Crater of Doom by Walter Alvarez
story of the discovery of the impact crater that doomed the dinosaurs.
Nice description of how science works in the real world.
- Atlas of the Moon by Antonin Rukl
standard lunar atlas for amateur astronomers. The near side is shown in
76 pages at a level of detail just about equal to what one can see with
a modest amateur telescope on a good night. Absolutely indispensable
for lunar observers.
- The Hatfield Photographic Lunar Atlas by Jeremy Cook
nice companion to Rukl's. The entire near side is covered in 16
sections each with a map and several photographs taken in different
- The Once and Future Moon by Paul Spudis
- An overview of what we know about our Moon, how we came to know it and how we might go back to learn more.
- Full Moon by Michael Light
high quality reproductions of Apollo images of the Moon. If you think
the Moon is boring ("been there, done that") then you haven't seen this
- A Traveler's Guide to Mars: The Mysterious Landscapes of the Red Planet
by William K. Hartmann
heavily illustrated, in a carry-around size this book brings together
much of the astonishing information scientists have recently learned
about Mars, and conveys it in the engaging, lively style that made Dr.
Hartmann the first-ever winner of the Carl Sagan Medal for public
communication of planetary science. Taken around the planet like
tourists, readers will discover mysterious dry riverbeds, the largest
volcano in the solar system (three times higher than Mount Everest), a
possible ancient sea floor, giant impact craters, and other wonders.
- Mars : Uncovering the Secrets of the Red Planet by Paul Raeburn, National Geographic
- Up to date info and beautiful NASA photos including many from Mars Pathfinder.
- The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin
- A realistic proposal for sending men to Mars cheaply. The ideas in this book are being taken seriously by NASA. There is hope!
- The Moons of Jupiter by Kristin Leutwyler, John R. Casani
- Over 100 color pictures of the Galilean satellites with more than the usual dry description.
- Europa, the Ocean Moon
Richard Greenberg tells the story of the Galileo spacecraft probe to
Jupiter`s moon, Europa. It provides a detailed description of the
physical processes, including the dominating tidal forces that operate
on Europa, and includes a comprehensive tour of Europa using images
taken by Galileo`s camera.
- Uranus by Jay T. Bergstralh, Ellis D. Miner (eds)
definitive reference on Uranus. For the pros, mostly. I list it here
out of respect for Dr. Miner who helped me considerably with the first
editions of The Nine Planets.
- Planet Quest by Ken Croswell
- An account of the discovery of extrasolar planets.
- Mars Underground by William K. Hartmann
- Fiction by a scientist who knows both how to tell a good story and the territory it is set in.
- Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Fiction but with highly accurate descriptions of the planet.
A damn good story, too. Red Mars is the brilliant beginning of a massive trilogy
that continues with
Green Mars and
ends with Blue Mars.
Red Mars won the 1993 Nebula Award; the sequels don't quite reach that level
but they're still enjoyable.
- Bad Astronomy by Phil Plait
Print version of the excellent website. Get the straight story on many
popular urban legends, myths and misconceptions. Great fun, too!
- The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
- A passionate plea for reason and science. A book every scientist and amateur astronomer should have.
None of the above catch your fancy? You can search for anything in Amazon's huge database here:
How it works:
Click on one of the links above and you'll be taken to
WWW site where you can purchase the book online. From your
perspective The Nine Planets Bookstore works exactly the same as any
other order via Amazon.com:
good prices, quick delivery, no hassles. But if you go thru any of
the links here and order a book then I get a small referral fee. You
don't pay any more, I just get some of Amazon's profit :-)
Bill Arnett; last updated
2005 Jan 3