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Orbit: Nasa Astronauts Photograph The Earth Hardcover – October 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; 1st edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792237145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792237143
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 11.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This awe-inspiring collection of photographs gives those of us stuck on Earth a glimpse of what our home planet looks like from the window of a space craft... and the big blue marble has never looked more beautiful. All the continents are shown, as well as weather events, the Aurora borealis, and the visible effects of anthropogenic environmental change--deforestation and desertification chief among them. Take a sobering look at our lovely planet and realize how small and fragile it really is.

From School Library Journal

YA. At first glance, Orbit might appear to be another glitzy coffee-table book with the rambling narrative so typical of National Geographic publications. Certainly astronaut Jay Apt has assembled what the authors describe as "the most important and beautiful photographs taken since humans first left Earth." Entertaining as the spectacular shots of our home planet are, however, the accompanying captions and chapter narratives give the full-page photographs an added immediacy that could only come from one who has actually been there. Brief historical and scientific commentary is enlivened with fascinating details. The organization of photographs and text makes Orbit a round-trip tour from blastoff to final approach along the blue-green waters of the Gulf Coast until Cape Canaveral looms into view. Readers can even keep track of the journey with the aid of miniature global maps on most pages. In addition to an index of places, there is an index to the photographs that provides exact cartographic location, date of the shot, type of camera, and lens and film used.?Cynthia J. Rieben, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A coffee table book you can read, too.
Chelsea Starr
There is also one extremely interesting two page map spread which shows the location of each one of the 268,000 photographs taken by the astronauts.
John R. Keller
The book is divided into chapters of the continents.
Nathan Pease

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Shuttle astronaut Jay Apt, together with scientists Michael Helfert and Justin Wilkinson, has put together a wonderful book of photographs under the auspices of National Geographic, Orbit. These are all photographs taken by astronauts from the space shuttle while in orbit (with a few exceptions, historically significant photographs from moon circlings and early trips into space). Photography, interestingly enough, is never really scheduled as a shuttle activity, but rather done 'in between' the other assignments. The photographs included in this book do not come from special 'space' cameras, but rather from regular hand-held, off-the-shelf cameras that astronauts took with them.
The shuttle offers a unique platform for photography, to say the least. It has 11 different windows, and as the shuttle orbits in what one might consider an upside-down position, the windows and cargo-bay with doors open are almost always facing the earth. Astronauts take lots of film with them, and record many phenomena. This book is divided geographically, by earth region: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, Middle and South America, and North America. There is also a special section on the Aurora, with dazzling photographs of things that look right out of Star Trek!
The images include daytime and nighttime views, calm views and stormy views. One can see hurricanes and cyclones from high above, stretching their entire lengths across great portions of the globe. One can see the difference lighting makes in an urban area at night, the way terrain and human-engineering connect, and how much of the world seems to remain unspoilt when viewed from a distance of even a few hundred miles away.
This is a remarkable book, full of glorious photographs of the 'home world', a great coffee-table book, a great gift, and a great guide of inspiration for younger readers who might be interested in science, geography, or even becoming an astronaut.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John R. Keller on December 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Astronaut Jay Apt, with the help of geographer Justin Wilkinson and climatologist Michael Helfert, has assembled a book full of pictures of Earth taken from orbit. These photographs were chosen from over a 145,000 that are available from the NASA photographic library and focus on many different aspects of our planet's geology and climate. The large coffee table style format and the high quality of the reproductions allows this book bring out the stunning features of our home and is welcome addition to anyone who is interested in space photography, especially since most of the book is photographs and very little text.
The book is divided into sections covering each continent, the Pacific Ocean and the aurora. To show the range of Earth's geology and climate, each section highlights the major geological features found in each region and if appropriate mankind's influence. To further emphasis to geological diversity of the planet, occasional surface photographs that correspond to an orbital photograph are also included. For example, in the section on Africa, there are photos of the Nile, Nile cities, the Sahara desert, various coastline features and cloud formations. The only portions of the Earth not covered are the North and South Poles, since the shuttle does not fly over these regions. There is also one extremely interesting two page map spread which shows the location of each one of the 268,000 photographs taken by the astronauts.
This book is one of my favorite space photography books and I look at it often and each time that I do I always notice something different. This is a great book and well worth the price.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By CMOS on July 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is published by National Geographic, so it goes without saying that the quality of the photographs is superb. But to look at this collection of space-born images is to never see the earth in the same way again. All the contintents and oceans are covered and even the Aurora is documented. The astronauts who took these photographs are some of the luckiest men and women on (or off) the earth, and this book will show you why.
Despite all that man has done to harm the environment, many of the photographs give you an eerie sense of what it might've been like to look down on the earth thousands of years ago, seeing only a beautiful collection of shapes, colors and clouds. Some pictures of the African desert and its coastline will leave you breathless.
A wonderful collection that beats satellite imagery any day of the week.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Pease on January 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I first heard about ORBIT while paging through a National Geographic. The images were disorienting and intriguing. Each photo challenged me to look at the planet like I never had before. "Why is that river so muddy?" "Where do those colors come from?" "How could those shapes be natural?" I would highly recommend getting a magnifying glass to best experience these pictures. They are so rich in detail that constant and close-up attention would be very rewarding. The book is divided into chapters of the continents. To look at the whole book in one sitting is so overwhelming, I would suggest perusing it a chapter at a time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Don't mistake "Orbit", by Apt, et al. for a casual, coffee table sort of book. The high resolution images of the earth, taken primarily by space shuttle crew members, are visually arresting. The massive impact of deforestation and the resulting soil erosion is particularly sobering. In vignettes such as the shrinking Aral Sea, this book conveys a visual truth which goes beyond the idealization and abstraction of maps to the current reality of the planet's surface. This is a beautiful and profound book.
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