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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 15 reviews
on March 11, 2011
the kaguya lunar atlas is a unique contribution to the lunar literature and an exemplary book of its kind.

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.
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on July 28, 2011
For someone whose collection of lunar science books spans 48 linear inches of shelf space, it is difficult for me to discover a book that stands out. The Kaguya Lunar Atlas, however, is such a book.

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.
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on August 17, 2013
I was, frankly, let down by this book.

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.
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on July 10, 2012
When I saw that Charles Wood was associated with this book, I knew it would be good. Mr. Wood is an expert on all things lunar and his monthly Moon column in Sky & Telescope Magazine is always interesting and informative. Sure enough, I am happy to report this Lunar photography and reference book is of very high quality with beautiful high resolution black & white photographs of the lunar surface as... "it would appear to an astronaut looking through a porthole...."

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.
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on July 28, 2017
Excellent book with some really nice images of the Moon taken with the Kaguya spacecraft that orbited our Moon several years ago.
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on February 7, 2012
I bought this as an addition to my other lunar observing atlases. This is not really an atlas, but the selected views are just extraordinary. That was not surprising but the amount of good information contained in the captions was. This book is not just another pretty face for the coffee table - lots of solid info, even for experienced observers such as I.
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on January 6, 2016
Great views of a limited selection of craters.
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on July 14, 2014
The photos are fantastic, however, the explanation of the photo identification on the map could have been written better. A bit hard to follow.
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on April 13, 2013
The Kaguya Lunar Atlas

The book was excellent in visual content. The detail was somewhat descriptive with some useful information but it was sometimes superfluous.
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on December 29, 2014
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