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Comet

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  604 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Comet starts with a journey astride a comet. Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer Sagan, author of Cosmos & Contact, & writer Druyan explore their origin, nature & future, & the myths about them. They show how comets have spurred great discoveries & raise questions about them. Were the fates of the dinosaurs & the origins of humans tied to a comet? Are ...more
Hardcover, 1st, 414 pages
Published November 12th 1985 by Random House (NY) (first published January 1st 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,655)
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Glyn Longden
Rating: 6.5/10. The volume I read was not the revised version but the original which was released in 1985 just BEFORE Halley's Comet. Sagan obviously was trying to cash in on the interest in the comet. The problem with reading science books which are more than 20 years old is that much of the material is dated, incorrect, speculation, or irrelevant. So while Sagan offers much which is interesting there is none of the later research such as the 'Giotto' mission or the comet Shumaker-Levy which cr ...more
Last Ranger
Dec 20, 2014 Last Ranger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mysterious Traveler

Once upon a time, the young Albert Einstein tried to imagine what it would be like to ride on a beam of light and what the universe would look like to that observer. Writing in his 1985 book, Comet, author Carl Sagan takes the reader on another imaginary journey. This time the observer is riding aboard a wayward comet traveling from the Solar System's outer fringe, around the sun and back into deep space again, giving the reader a birds eye view of what you would see on such a
...more
Menglong Youk
Being the seventh Carl Sagan's book I've read,"Comet" was a book co-written by, of course, the late Great Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan in 1985 before the return of the historical comet Halley. The book offers us a spectacular ride on the comet from its origins to the point when it gets close to the Sun and heads back to where it comes from. After that, nearly everything you might be curious or might not even imagine to ask about comets will lie on the pages; the histories, myths, the physical appea ...more
Madyson Carter
Dec 08, 2013 Madyson Carter rated it really liked it
Shelves: astronomy
Carl Sagen's purpose in writing this book is to inform people about comets, the history of their observations, the people who made a huge impact on our understanding of comets, where they come from, what they're made of, etc. The theme of course is comets. The style of this book is an exposition because it is an explanation and analysis of comets to bring some clarity and understanding on comets. In my opinion it was very good. What I liked is that it didn't just spew scientific unorganized nons ...more
Mark
Dec 20, 2014 Mark rated it liked it
Not sure if this counts, as I didn't read the last twenty or so pages. See other reviews for rather accurate assessments. This was the hardcover version which quite frankly included way too many extra pictures; I wish I chose the paperback. I already knew most of this but it was a decent review, as always. I'm on a quest to read every main Carl Sagan work so only have a few more left. Not his best or most interesting work; probably somewhat dated.
Steve Van Slyke
Dec 31, 2009 Steve Van Slyke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sagan fans
Shelves: space, science
It's hard to imagine that discovery of the Kuiper Belt, the end of the Soviet Union, the identification of the Chicxulub Crater as that of the comet or asteroid that caused the K-T extinction, and the arrival of Comet Hale-Bopp, were all events unknown to the authors at the time of their writing.

Had they known about these events it is certain they would have had a large impact (no pun) on how they constructed much of the book, at least the latter parts of it.

Still, much of the book is well worth
...more
Kate
Aug 03, 2015 Kate rated it it was amazing
This could have been titled "Comet Halley" and I would have been perfectly fine with that. I want to live to see Comet Halley in 2061 since I had recently been born when it passed by in 1985-86. The amount of information pertaining to Edmond Halley and his infamous comet filled me with gratitude and now I know where the info for the most recent Cosmos television series came from. Near the end of the book, Sagan makes mention of future journeys into "trans-Plutonian" space and of flying a craft t ...more
Stephanie
Jan 23, 2015 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoy anything involving astronomy, I'd recommend this book, Sagan lays out everything in such a way that I could see anyone reading this book.
Han
Sep 28, 2014 Han rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the last two chapters which as every other books of Carl Sagan left me with something to ponder and reflect. I enjoyed the stories in the first few chapters especially the work of Halley. There are many new things in the middle chapters that I didn't know in details so I like the fact that I learnt new things here and there but some sections are a bit long and dry. I have stopped in the middle for a few months and resumed reading it when I ran out of book to read. I'm glad I finished it s ...more
Vangelis Kritikos
Jan 24, 2015 Vangelis Kritikos rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Yes, it is outdated, but it is very well and thoroughly written, covering the basic scientific (of 1985) and cultural aspects of the subject.
Rob
Aug 13, 2008 Rob marked it as unfinished
Shelves: missing, science
Received as a gift many years ago. Disappeared during one move or another; no clue whose shelf it is on today. As I recall, a gorgeous book on par with Cosmos though certainly much more focused in its subject matter. As I recall, it has an illustration of the Halley's Comet orbital path in the upper right corner of the odd (even? whichever is the right-side) pages and when you flip through them, you can watch the comet orbit the sun. Brilliant.
Chris K
Mar 02, 2012 Chris K rated it liked it
Some parts were amazing, others a little too raw and without knowing how much of the book was outdated by recent scientific study it was hard to remain focused on the more technical details.

Regardless, "Comet" will make you think long and hard about the origins of our solar system and the future of humans in outer space.

The best part of the book is about the historical perspective on comets and the eventual understanding of them by scientists.
Charlie George
Oct 28, 2008 Charlie George rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is my least favorite of 6 books I've read of the late Carl Sagan and I love his work. I learned very interesting things about comets, but it seemed like I could have learned them all in about one-fifth of this book. He was capable of much more concise writing, and this book suffers from being obsolete as we continue to learn more about the celestial bodies with ongoing robotic probes.
Tiffany
Jun 04, 2011 Tiffany rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan attempt to explain comets, their origins, their composition, and what they mean to Earth in a simple way that non-scientists can understand. (Even still, there were a few times where they get a little *too* sciencey or too mathy, even for me.)

Lots of pictures, diagrams, collections of comet-related artwork, and beautiful paintings done for the book.
Christina Santo
*WARNING: This is a mean review.*

THIS BOOK SUCKED. I actually read the whole dang thing..... Every one at my school just read a chapter and did a project on it. I'm never going to touch this again, nor even read it. I almost fell aslepp and yet the reviews says it was funny. Yeah, maybe to a scientist.
Josh
May 14, 2007 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Astronomy Lovers
Shelves: booksread
Great book. Reads like a reference book at times, but still very interesting stuff. Realized while reading this book, that there's still a lot we don't know about comets.
J. D.
Feb 15, 2009 J. D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this book for its entertaining and detailed history and information on the subject. Written in the sweeping style associated with the autjor(s).
Jay
Apr 14, 2008 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The history here is fantastic. It's interesting to compare how medeival China recorded comets, with how Europe did (or didn't) at the same time.
Daniel Buch
Jun 12, 2007 Daniel Buch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of dead peruvians
Shelves: skience
OH HAI

IM IN UR UNIVERSES

COLLAPSIN UR GAS BAWLZ

KTHXBYE
Ronald Lett
May 12, 2011 Ronald Lett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-science
One of the best gifts I have ever received. Extremely readable.
Travis Bird
Jun 03, 2008 Travis Bird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great detail and conveyed in very readable style.
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in 1934, scientist Carl Sagan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. After earning bachelor and master's degrees at Cornell, Sagan earned a double doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1960. He became professor of astronomy and space science and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, and co-founder of the Planetary Society. A great popularizer of science, Sagan produced th ...more
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“Contemplated as one grand whole, astronomy is the most beautiful monument of the human mind; the noblest record of its intelligence.” 1 likes
“If the structure of the world with all its order and beauty is only an effect of matter left to its own universal laws of motion, and if the blind mechanics of the natural forces can evolve so glorious a product out of chaos, and can attain to such perfection of themselves, then the proof of the Divine Author which is drawn from the spectacle of the beauty of the universe wholly loses its force. Nature is thus sufficient for itself; the Divine government is unnecessary.…” 0 likes
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