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Lives of the Planets: A Natural History of the Solar System
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Lives of the Planets: A Natural History of the Solar System

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Lives of the Planets describes a scientific field in the midst of a revolution. Planetary science has mainly been a descriptive science, but it is becoming increasingly experimental. The space probes that went up between the 1960s and 1990s were primarily generalists-they collected massive amounts of information so that scientists could learn what questions to pursue. But ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Basic Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Out of date and plagued with minor errors.
LIVES OF THE PLANETS: A Natural History of the Solar System. ((2007). Richard Corfield. ****.
This is a terrific review of what was known about our solar system at the time. In addition to compiling most of the known facts about the sun and planets, the author manages to review the various space programs that were responsible for gathering all of this data. Lots of new stuff for me here, along with a bunch of old stuff that I had forgotten. (Why can’t I remember all of this information??) If you
Angus Mcfarlane
i picked this up from an academic surplus book sale, so the bargain price was a trade off for it being relatively outdated (it doesn't cover discoveries made on the last 5 years). It was also not quite what I expected, being a story of solar system exploration missions, rather than the planetary histories as such, although aspects of the latter are a part of it of course. But these points were very minor, as I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

As a youngster, the history of the earth and the
I've mentioned before that as a child I desperately wanted to be an astronomer. That was before I discovered that math and I were polite neighbors at best. Turns out astronomy needs a lot of math.

Anyway, I never really got over my first love--because planets are cool.

This book goes systematically through the solar system, object by object, including the asteroid belt. The solar system is incredibly well organized when you think about it. Rocky things here, big gassy things here, and cold solidy
The Lives of Planets is a misleading title. This book has as much, if not more, history of astronomy then it does any natural history. It seemed to speak more about the probes sent to other planets than the planets themselves.

Generally it was a good book with one exception. In the first chapter in the context of sunspots he describes them as an extreme confounding factor in the science of climate change. While this is not necessarily an inaccurate description, the authors claim that sunspots and
I enjoyed this brief "biography", if you will, of our solar system. The author begins with the sun and travels out, describing each celestial body, including the history of how they were discovered and how they have been researched. He intersperses some great personal anecdotes, relating how these discoveries have affected him, from childhood to his professional life as an astrophysicist. I still do not like the fact that Pluto has been demoted to "dwarf planet" but I can see the reasoning behin ...more
Very well written and in a logical manner. It can feel a bit dry at times but considering it's a book about the history of the planets/objects in our solar system it's surprisingly compelling
Edward H. Busse, III
I loved this book - a planet by planet (sorry to Pluto) biography of our solar system. An excellent tutorial resource for learning in depth, but no too deep, about our own little part of the galaxy.
Mike Ehlers
A book I found on the library shelf. As my family was once mildly into astronomy, I picked it up. This was an interesting read for that mild interest, nothing too rigorous.
What we know about the sun, planets, Kuiper Belt objects, extra-solar planets, and how we obtained this information. Written in a conversational style.
It was really fun to learn about all the amazing probes human kind has sent to all the planets in the solar system. Amazing engineering feats.
this book was easy to read, very interesting, and a great "catch-up with what's going on book"; I learned a lot
Easy read, and quite entertaining, to boot!
Kristen Gurri
Had to keep up with Ed and Colin.
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