How To Read The Solar System by Chris North and Paul Abel 

Science. It’s actually really interesting, but it’s also much more enjoyable to learn more about science when you choose to learn more rather than when you are compelled to learn more.

I have recently started reading more science books, namely astronomy, and I find the subject matter absolutely fascinating!

I just finished this book:

I read the first few chapters of this book while simultaneously reading other books, but, from Mars on, I focused exclusively on this book. 🙂  And, if your going to read this book you should definitely focus, take your time and enjoy learning more about the subject matter. By the time I finished reading this book I almost forgot what I had learned about the Aurora Borealis!

The book is written by Chris North and Paul Abel, who, as stated on the cover, are hosts of a BBC series called “The Sky at Night”.  However, since I am unfamiliar with both the series and these authors, I came to this book with fresh eyes which, at least for me,  turned out to be a good thing because I feel like I discovered a great gem of a book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It’s an introductory book to our Solar System, and it’s 304 pages are filled with lots of good information about each of the planets and their respective moons. It also focuses on the Sun, comets, asteroids, minor planets and life in the Kuiper Belt. A nice added feature is that these authors provide helpful tips for the “amateur astronomer”to aid them in their observations of the planets. They briefly explain how using an optical filter or adjusting the size of the telescope will affect what you see. They also suggest when to view the planets and what you may see at that time.  This book also has a helpful glossary at the end, so if your not quite sure you understood what cryovolcanism meant, you can flip to the back for clarification. 🙂

I learned a lot from reading this book, not just about the planets, but also about the moons that orbit the planets in our Solar System. Many of these satellites are just as diverse and interesting as the planets they orbit-and some planets have an astonishingly large number of moons in their orbit! If you want to learn more about them, then this book will be a wonderful resource. I also learned that comets seem to be made of the same substance as the Sun and that other solar systems are not just like ours. Are we special? One of a kind? I guess this is why we spend so much time and money studying the Universe to try and answer this question.

I appreciated the detailed information these authors provided in this book. It wasn’t too much so as to overwhelm a newbie with its science, but it also went beyond mere basics. There was so much that I learned from this book that if I shared all that I learned, then this post would go on for quite a while. But, suffice it to say, each chapter gave me an opportunity to learn and consider something new. I enjoyed learning more about the chemical make up of the planets and how this affected their atmosphere and weather patterns. Jupiter has had a storm raging for hundreds of years now! I learned from this book that it’s famous  Great Red Spot is an “anticyclone” so “it spins anticlockwise”(P 190) and over time it has decreased in size. This is definitely one interesting planet!  It’s fascinating how life in space evolved from chemical reactions which, over time, led to the creation of our Sun and ultimately to our Solar System.

I enjoyed learning about comets and asteroids and I really enjoyed learning more about the Kuiper Belt. To me, this is deep space, and, not only do we know about it, but we have discovered dwarf planets out there! What will we discover next? And, what will we learn about our origins?

How To Read The Solar System is aimed at those who already have some knowledge and interest in astronomy and want to learn more. After reading Dava Sobel’s The Planets  I wanted to read something a little more in depth, and this book fit the bill. The writing isn’t as creative as Dava Sobel’s, and, I’m sad to say that this book has some typos which was distracting, but this book was incredibly informative and interesting. This book is a great introduction to astronomy for those who want to learn more and grow in their knowledge and understanding of the subject. I, for one, am very glad I took the time to read it!


3 thoughts on “How To Read The Solar System by Chris North and Paul Abel 

  1. Pingback: WWW Wednesday, November 16 | My Book-a-logue

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