- Hardcover: 173 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 2011 edition (March 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1441972846
- ISBN-13: 978-1441972842
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,765,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Kaguya Lunar Atlas: The Moon in High Resolution 2011th Edition
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From the reviews:
“Kaguya Lunar Atlas to be a indispensable resource for quick identification of craters as well as a good a ‘common sense’ check as to what I’m seeing at the eyepiece. … Each image is expertly referenced against a Full Moon map for both nearside and farside … . I would whole-heartedly recommend the Kaguya Lunar Atlas to anyone who is an avid moon watcher, space fan, or would love to see the surface of an alien world as it truly looks, up close and personal.” (Astro Guyz, May, 2011)
“Launched on 14 September 2007, the Japanese lunar orbiter Kaguya carried various instruments including an HDTV camera, the images from which form the basis of this great book. The collection is stunning in the amount of close detail it displays. Many wonderful ‘face-on’ lunar images are taken from the Earth and orbiting spacecraft, but what makes the Kaguya images so special is that they are taken with a perspective identical to that of the Apollo astronauts. Highly recommended.” (Steve Richards, Sky at Night Magazine, September, 2011)
“The images are spectacular. … The Atlas comprises 100 images of various lunar features, with detailed captions describing what we are seeing and how craters, rilles, pits, domes and mountains formed. … The earlier chapters also look back towards Earth, showing spectacular Earth rises, the phases of Earth and even the Earth eclipsing the Sun and creating a diamond ring effect. … this is strongly recommended as an excellent coffee-table book depicting the Moon at its Majestic best.” (Keith Cooper, Astronomy Now, September, 2011)
“SELENE, named after the Greek Moon Goddess but nicknamed Kaguya by the Japanese people after a mythical lunar princess, required a full year to image the lunar surface under optimal conditions. The HDTV camera captured significant surface features, impact craters, maria, rilles, lava flows and geological faults in stunning detail. … the book depict one hundred image plates, each accompanied by a well written, detailed essay of the main features displayed.” (Paul Rumsby, Best Astronomy Books, September, 2011)
“Images that form the heart of the present volume. … provide a dramatic astronaut’s-eye view that reveals familiar features in an unfamiliar and novel light. … it does offer a valuable new resource to the armchair explorer of the Moon. … provides a detailed overview of the mission and its scientific aims. … this is a marvellous book. The Kaguya images are spectacular, the authors have provided outstanding explanatory support … . a book that will prove indispensable to any serious student of the Moon.” (Bill Leatherbarrow, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1225), December, 2011)
“To the amateur astronomer with an interest in observing the Moon, the concept is an exciting one, and so the release of The Kaguya Lunar Atlas was greeted with enthusiasm by those with a love of moonlight. … For people interested in learning to understand what they see on the Moon, this book would be a useful reference. The captions combined with the images lift this book above the eye candy category and make it a reference worth owning.” (Thomas Watson, Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews, January, 2012)
From the Back Cover
In late 2007 the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency placed the Kaguya/Selene spacecraft in orbit around the Moon. Like previous lunar orbiters, Kaguya carried scientific instruments to probe the Moon’s surface and interior. But it also had the first high-definition television camera (HDTV) sent to the Moon. Sponsored by the Japanese NHK TV network, the HDTV has amazed both scientists and the public with its magnificent views of the lunar surface. What makes the images much more engaging than standard vertical-view lunar photographs is that they were taken looking obliquely along the flight path. Thus, they show the Moon as it would be seen by an astronaut looking through a porthole window while orbiting only 100 km above the lunar surface. This is the view we all would wish to have, but are never likely to, except vicariously through the awe-inspiring Kaguya HDTV images. The remarkable Kaguya/Selene HDTV images are used here to create a new type of lunar atlas. Because of the unique perspective of the images each plate shows the surface in a manner that makes it visually appealing and scientifically understandable. Motomaro Shirao was a member of the Kaguya HDTV team and selected the targets for imaging. Charles Wood, an expert on lunar science and history, describes the pictures with text as informative as the images are beautiful.
Top customer reviews
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this is not an "atlas" in the sense of general coverage, but a "gallery" or collection of unique portraits. the 100 detail photos are presented in a standard format as wide angle, low perspective views of a single feature or geographical complex, assembled from many separate lunar orbiter photos taken in high definition video. the strip banding and brightness variations familiar in previous lunar orbiter imagery are completely absent.
nearly all the photos show the features under the same oblique (40 to 60 degree altitude) illumination, coming from the right or upper right -- a consistent lighting that throws the similarities and differences among the features into strong relief. slope angles and coarse surface texture are easily legible. most of the big name craters are here, plus fascinating smaller landmarks such as the straight wall, alpine valley, hadley rille, cordillera mountains, etc. (only the largest craters, such as clavius or ptolemaeus, are omitted).
the introductory material treats the technical details of the kaguya mission, the satellite image capture and photo assembly, and some basics on the lunar orbit and changing lunar illumination that will interest visual observers and in particular sketchers. a thumbnail index gives technical specs for all the photos and lunar coordinates for each feature.
the format (9" x 11") is not standard picture book, but the printing and paper are highest quality, and all the images snap and crackle with minute detail.
a beautifully produced and intrinsically fascinating visual survey of the moon, and well worth the humble price. one of my top ten lunar books of all time.
This is not an atlas in the conventional sense, as it does not cover the entire lunar surface. Rather what Messrs Shirao and Wood have done is given us a book that features 100 of the most interesting lunar "landforms." But that is not all, it depicts these features from an oblique viewpoint rather than the typical straight down views we see all too often in other volumes. The result is a picture book that shows us what things would look like if we were actually flying over the moon. A few such similar pictures in NASA's Apollo Over The Moon: A View from Orbit tantalized us years ago.
Part One, the first four chapters, describe JAXA's Kaguya mission and the spacecraft. It also includes a description of the television system and then closes with a nice discussion of basic lunar surface features. The images included in Part Two are keyed onto four discs depicting the Moon's near, far, eastern and western hemispheres.
The actual pictures are arranged one per page. Because of the way the spacecraft imaged the surface, each picture has the form of an isosceles trapezoid that is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. A locator diagram, with an arrow indicating the feature's position and, significantly, the direction of view, appears in the upper outside margin while a brief description of the feature is given in the upper inner margin. Reproduction quality is very sharp, but the contrast is a bit to soft for my taste. Nonetheless, there is a lot of detail to see on each plate. A thumbnail section in the back gives basic technical information about each plate.
The more one has observed the moon, the more one will appreciate the job the authors have done assembling these images. A case in point is plate 32, which shows the classic crater Plato. The jarring aspect of this is that we are viewing Plato from the north, looking south! Anyone who has looked through a telescope will understand the significance of this. Prior to this book we have only seen Plato from the south, looking north. What a difference 180 degrees makes!
The Kaguya Lunar Atlas is less than a complete atlas, but much more than a coffee table book. Regardless of how one looks at it, this is money well spent.
The bottom line is that this book is the final result of a multi-million dollar moon exploration project developed and launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Japanese version of NASA. On board this lunar explorer were high-definition cameras that snapped superb photographs of all aspects the lunar surface including maria, craters, rilles, mountains and more. You can now spend hours viewing minute details of the Moon's surface. This book will make a fine addition to your library of Moon books.
The photographs are, in principle, interesting, and the mosaic presentation is innovative. But the images themselves are murky and dull with poor contrast and definition - it's as though the printing process has done them a disservice. If there's a second edition, or the images are revisited in another work then I'd possibly give them another go - but I'd want to see a printed copy before I bought! Oh, and perhaps some other photos would help, too.
The text is informative, but it seems pretty clear that it's not been especially well proof-read; there are dozens of typos, which generally reduce the credibility of the whole project. The text makes reference to the images, but *finding* subtle features on the images which are described in the text is sometimes well-nigh impossible. An annotated thumbnail of the main images would have solved the problem.
So no, I wouldn't recommend this book. If there's ever an improved second edition I'll certainly have a look, but I'm not holding my breath.
Most recent customer reviews
The book was excellent in visual content. The detail was somewhat descriptive with some useful information but it was sometimes superfluous.