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The Grand Tour: A Traveler's Guide to the Solar System 3rd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0761135470
ISBN-10: 0761135472
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Excellent graphics distinguish this armchair guide to the solar system. -- Booklist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

A DAZZLING JOURNEY

The trunks are packed, your passport's in order. But instead of sailing to Le Havre for a Cook's tour of the Continent, you're embarking on a voyage through the solar system. That is the wonder of THE GRAND TOUR.

Originally published in 1981 and now completely updated by the scientific findings of the past decade, the revised edition of THE GRAND TOUR includes 10 new chapters, 52 new and/or revised paintings, 24 new photographs, and new drawings and maps. Through its unique marriage of art and fact, the book transports readers to unimaginable places-worlds of pure ice and utter night, of volcanic tumult and swirling acid clouds, of deep cut canyons and startingly beautiful vistas. From the vast reaches of Jupiter to tiny frozen Rhea, orbiting like a snowball around Saturn, it takes us on a journey of astonishing proportions.

Astronomer William K. Hartmann is internationally known as a planetary scientist, painter, and writer. Ron Miller, a former director of the Albert Einstein Spacearium at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is widely known for his astronomical and science-fiction paintings. Their other collaborations include Out of the Cradle, Cycles of Fire, and The History of Earth.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 3rd edition (May 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761135472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761135470
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Written in the style of a traveller's guide book, the authors take you on an interplanetary cruise describing each body in detail. The book runs from the largest (the Sun) to the smallest objects (comets and tiny asteroids) in the solar system. The illustrations are either photos from spacecraft that have visited the various planets and moons, or are hypothetical paintings based on what the surfaces may look like. One particularly striking painting is of the surface of Pluto, with the sun as a mere bright speck in the sky.
I'd recommend this book to anyone with a passing interest in astronomy or the planets, it's a great read and never gets obtusely technical. Ron Miller and William K. Hartmann are without a doubt the finest planetary artists around today.
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Format: Hardcover
This excellent coffee-table book is a fascinating exploration of the solar system. It is gratifying to see this book, now in its 3rd edition, revised regularly to reflect the many continuing new discoveries of the last 25 years.

This survey, written for the layman, thoroughly covers all of the important worlds of our solar system. It also discusses our solar system's formation and what we know about extrasolar planets.

Most books on the solar system introduce each planet in turn from Mercury outward to Pluto. This book starts with Jupiter and proceeds in descending order by size. This unusual approach emphasizes that these worlds vary as a continuum, encouraging comparison between small planets and large satellites, between satellites and asteroids, between asteroids and comets.

Part I covers the 28 largest worlds in the solar system, from Jupiter to Ceres. Part II covers selected interesting worlds, such as Halley's Comet, asteroids Vesta, Eros, Hektor, and Chiron, and moons Amalthea, Mimas and Miranda. Part III discusses extrasolar planets. A glossary covers terms such as centaurs, differentiation, millibars, and retrograde.

The illustrations and photography are especially worthwhile. Miller and Hartmann dramatically illustrate the wonder and majesty of space with a mix of actual photographs and artist's renditions.

The book reflects the current indecision regarding Pluto. However, the authors opine that the solar system is most sensibly viewed as having eight planets, with Pluto the largest Kuiper Belt object and Ceres the largest asteroid.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent book with stunning original hand-painted art. This book discusses the worlds of our solar system rather than the planets. Each body, no matter what pigeon hole or classification it has been placed into in the past, is treated as a unique world with its own landscape, sky, weather, and character. Planets, moons, asteroids, comets, etc. are organized by size rather than type, yielding some very surprising revelations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the initial version of this book, and this one is far better. The space probes gave the authors so much more to work with in describing the other worlds in our solar system. I read it to escape, and fantasize about actually being on one of the moons of Saturn as it rises over the horizon. Great photo, brilliant artwork and easy to read text. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Of all the sciences, astronomy has always been my personal favorite, and it's typically a pleasure to look through a book filled with pictures of planets and stars. The Grand Tour by Ron Miller and William Hartmann is one such pleasure.

The Grand Tour offers a look at the solar system (outside of the sun), but unlike most such books, does not opt for the standard start-at-Mercury and end-at-Pluto approach. Instead, Miller and Hartmann treat their book as a travel guide for some aliens from another star. Such visitors would notice the biggest objects first and work their way down to the smaller worlds.

Thus, the book starts with Jupiter, providing some general statistics (gravity, size, etc.) and a small essay about the largest planet. The big feature, however, are the pictures: both photographs and wonderful paintings that offer views that we haven't received from telescopes or probes. The first in this chapter is an example: a view of Jupiter from the surface of Europa as the planet eclipses the sun.

We then go through the other "major worlds": the remaining gas giants take the next three slots, followed by Earth, Venus and Mars. Then the chapters begin to alternate between moons and planets: Ganymede and Titan precede Mercury, and then five more moons are listed (including our own) before Pluto comes up in a chapter shared with its companion, Charon (this edition of the book was written in 2005, prior to Pluto's demotion from planetary status, though the debate is discussed). There are a few other major worlds, down to the asteroid Ceres, and then a section on selected smaller worlds (moons, asteroids, and comets).
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