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Infinite Worlds: An Illustrated Voyage to Planets beyond Our Sun Hardcover – June 20, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Resting on evocative paintings by Cook, this album is a fascinating presentation of the formation of planets, theories of which are in flux in the face of fantastical extrasolar worlds discovered in the past decade. They look nothing like our solar-system neighbors, shown off in the beautiful Beyond by Michael Benson (2003), because these orbs are sci-fi weird. Generally Jupiter-gigantic in size, they orbit pulsars, red giants, white dwarfs, and binary stars, and Cook's imagination, grounded in known data, depicts the sky's alien appearance from such places. If these planetary systems contain Earth-size globes (yet to be found but technically possible), Cook proffers their possible visages, factoring in their parent star type and location in the "habitable zone," where temperatures are suitable for life. Author Villard contributes an informative text that summarizes the history of planet exploration, theories of solar-system evolution, and the cosmic habitat in future eons as it will affect planets and any civilizations they harbor. An appealing eye-grabber for the astronomy collection. Gilbert Taylor
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"Fasten your seatbelts for a grand tour of the universe--and of the new ideas and discoveries that are bringing it to life. Anyone who wants to know how we got here, where we may be going, and what's out there will want this spectacular and authoritative guide from two masters of word and image."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Printing edition (June 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520237102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520237100
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,247,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jon Ramer on June 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A very delightful book. The writing by Ray Villard was surprisingly different than most "astro books" by *not* sounding like a textbook. There are many interesting facts and tidbits that I had not heard before that made reading it quite interesting. Lyn's art of course made the book. There are dozens of her trademark-styled images, each illustrating what the writer is saying. I particularly liked Lyn's use of stratus layers in the landscapes. Five of the images must have taken ages to paint with all the layers in there (Greenhouse Earth on pg 49, HD 16141 b and Moon on pg 108, Planet in the Virgo Cluster on pg 190, Terrestrial Planet at 55 Cancri on pg 171, and Planet Near the Siamese Squid Nebula on pg 53). The Siamese Squid image is really eye-catching with it's pink and green layers and Planet at 55 Cancri is a gorgeous painting in brilliant reds and yellows of sunset. Lyn's attention to the way the waves of the lake curve and reflect the light is just amazing, as is the detailed way the shadows of the rocks fall on the water. This is my favorite image of the book. Another very effective painting is HD 177830 b and Moon on pg 117, a beautiful image of a habitable moon orbiting a Saturnian-like panet. Imagine the night view beings on this planet would have! In fact, I found almost every image in the book to be excellent and inspiring. All-in-all, Lyn's done a remarkable job in this book, definitely a "must add" to your astronomical art collection.
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Format: Hardcover
The title of this book is "Infinite Worlds: An Illustrated Voyage to Planets beyond our Sun". However, only a fraction of the book actually deals with extrasolar planets. I purchased this book based on the assumption that it would be about extrasolar planets. Instead most of the book is based on theories of galaxy formations, birth and death of stars and planets, and theoretical extraterrestrial life. It also describes our Solar System in detail. The artwork is very good although other space artists I have seen on the internet have superior artistic ability than Cook. Overall, though, this is still an interesting book. But potential readers should know that this is not a book about extrasolar planets.
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Format: Hardcover
The images are everything in this book. Not that the text is badly written. Far from it. But the text is clearly subordinate to letting you see the imagination of many talented artists, as they depict worlds in other planetary systems. Speculative, but based on solid science. And astronomers now have detected over 200 worlds. The book explains how from sometimes single pixels, information is teased out about a world. Impressive. We now have detected enough worlds that we can start talking of classifications and statistics across worlds.

What the book clearly leads up to is a desire for more, better images. Well, you will have to wait at least 10 years, as new telescopes are being constructed.

Science fiction readers might compare these paintings to those made decades ago by Chesley Bonestall. His were necessarily more imaginative. But both types can be very evocative.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Infinite Worlds" is a beautiful, imaginative book with stunning illustrations and is a truly unique addition to any book collection. It is awe-inspiring to see illustrations of exoplanets that most likely exist in our universe. This is a must-have for any one interested in space and extraterrestrial life.
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