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Kaguya Lunar Atlas

kaguya

I first bought a copy of this book back in 2011 when it was published. Since then, and thanks largely to the accompanying text, it has been a constant companion in my lunar library. The book presents good quality HDTV images from the camera onboard the SELENE (more commonly known by its Japanese nickname Kaguya ) orbiter. Kaguya was launched in September 2007 and after a number of successful orbits it was deliberately crashed into the lunar surface in June 2009. It’s two 2.2 megapixel CCD HDTV cameras, one wide-angle and one telephoto, along with a terrain and multi-band imager, sent back some fantastic high resolution images. The book uses the HDTV images along with descriptive text of the features to give you a good primer on the typical features you will see and explains their formation and origins. The book openly encourages you to interpret lunar features for yourself as you progress through the pages and you will find that this does quickly become possible.

The book is now out of print and secondhand copies are extremely expensive (£80 + on Amazon) . You can occasionally find some reasonably priced editions at the AddALL used and out of print books search here AddALL Books Search where I have seen copies going for £20 – £25. If you see one, snap it up, this is a fantastic book for the lunar enthusiast/planetary geologist.

Categories: Books, Lunar Tags: , , , ,

Probably the most amazing astronomy book you will buy this year !

February 18, 2014 Leave a comment

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I’m talking about This Is Mars by Alfred S. McEwen, Francis Rocard and Xavier Barral with contributions by Sebastien Girard, Nathalie Chapuis and Nicolas Mangold and published by Aperture.

OK, first thing to note, it’s not cheap ! At £65 this may stretch people, but fortunately you can find it as low as £39.25 now using Amazon marketplace sellers. Second thing to note, it’s huge ! Measuring 30 cm wide and 36 cm tall this will not fit on most standard bookshelves and will almost by default become a coffee table book. You are, however, buying quality here. This hard bound book is beautifully designed and executed and falls somewhere between art and science in content.

The photographs of the surface of Mars presented here are both beautiful and utterly astounding and derive from the HiRISE camera mounted on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been taking ultra high resolution images of Mars since 2006.  The 150 black and white images are just short of A3 size and presented on very high quality art paper with each image covering an area 6km in breadth.  The range of landforms is staggering, from plunging canyons, vast black dune fields, towering volcanoes, craters, glacier flows and swirling trails left by desert twisters to name but a few.

After a brief introduction by the editor, Xavier Barral, about two thirds of the book is taken up with photos while the final third includes a series of short papers. The first is a description of the HiRISE camera and MRO project by Alfred S. McEwen. This is followed by an excellent essay by astrophysicist Francis Rocard covering the evolution of Mars and it’s geology (together with some detailed maps) which includes a timeline of the main observations of Mars from the 2nd century AD through to 2012. Finally, there’s a geomorphological tour of the surface of the Red Planet by Nicolas Mangold using the photographs in the book, which explains the origins of the numerous features you will see in the photographs.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I doubt anyone interested in astronomy would be even remotely disappointed to receive this book.

More information at the publisher’s website here http://www.aperture.org/shop/books/this-is-mars-books

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