13 Planets

The Latest View of the Solar System
Gr 4—6—Including remote Eris, Haumea, and Makemake in his count of major and dwarf planets, Aguilar tours the solar system from the Sun out to the Oort Cloud, highlighting such relatively recent discoveries as Saturn's "dark ring" and closing with a quick note about extrasolar planets. A claim that "occasionally a colossal meteorite strikes the Earth" seems likely to provoke unnecessary anxiety, and readers will struggle to draw anything meaningful from the statement that "billions of years from now, as our Sun begins its final days, new worlds among the stars may await our arrival." Furthermore, both Mercury and Jupiter's moon Callisto are designated as "the most heavily cratered object in our solar system," and recent observations have cast doubt on whether Eris is actually larger than Pluto, as claimed here. Alongside the volume's many excellent, large, sharply detailed space photos and paintings are provocatively posed smaller images of often scantily clad gods and goddesses representing their eponymous planets, which strike a dissonant note. Though the continuing flood of new knowledge about our solar neighborhood makes frequent updates a necessity, this one is problematic.—John Peters, formerly at New York Public Library
In this useful volume, Aguilar explains the latest categorizations of planets in the solar system (currently considered to be eight planets and five dwarf planets), then profiles each, along with providing information about the sun and various other nearby bodies. Most of the crisp illustrations are color-enhanced photographic images or digital-looking artistic renderings. Basic planet stats are appended. Websites. Glos., ind.

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