The Planets

Andrew Cohen & Professor Brian Cox

Images selected and introduced by David A. Rothery

The Planets is a thrilling tour of our solar system by Andrew Cohen and Professor Brian Cox, in a Folio edition with breathtaking NASA photography from the latest space missions. 

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‘Excellent... a blend of enjoyable, accessible science and dreamlike wonder.’
  1. The Times

The Planets is a fantastic voyage through the history of our solar system. Drawing on the latest discoveries from space telescopes and interplanetary probes, Andrew Cohen and Professor Brian Cox show how the story of our own world is intimately bound up with the fate of our celestial neighbours. The journey begins with the three inner planets: Sun-parched Mercury; Venus, once thought to be lush and fertile, now smothered in toxic gases; and Mars, too small to hold on to its own atmosphere. Cohen reveals the fearsome power of Jupiter – both a destroyer and a protector of worlds – and how Saturn may become the final place in our solar system where life can exist. Finally, the voyage reaches the mysterious ice giants of Uranus and Neptune, and the distant dwarf planet Pluto. All are featured in spectacularly detailed colour images from NASA, with a supporting cast of moons, comets and asteroids. With stunning fold-out spreads and many new and improved images, this is a Folio edition to inspire wonder and awe.

Bound in printed and blocked paper

Set in Kepler Standard with Soleil as display

288 pages printed in 2 colours, plus 27 diagrams

48 pages of full-colour photographs, plus 2 x 8-page fold-outs and 6 pages of integrated black & white photographs

Printed endpapers

Printed slipcase

Coloured edges

9¼˝ x 8¼˝

From the magnificent cover featuring Saturn and its ring system, inside a slipcase emblazoned with a transit of Venus across the Sun, this is a Folio edition that presents a visual and narrative tour of our solar system. The latest and sharpest pictures were selected by David A. Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences and consultant to The Planets television series. In his fascinating note on the images, he explains that they are ‘all real images sent back by visiting spacecraft or powerful space telescopes’. Highlights include an ultraviolet snapshot of Venus’s atmosphere taken by Japan’s Akatsuki orbiter, a ‘selfie’ from NASA’s Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars, and an amazing fold-out panorama of the Red Planet, composed from 146 separate images taken by the Curiosity rover. The Juno mission contributes superb pictures of Jupiter, including a fold-out of its four largest moons. There is also startlingly vivid imagery of Saturn’s icy rings from the Cassini orbiter and a superb image of the Southern Ring Nebula from the newly launched Webb Telescope showing the shedding of material from a dying star from which new stars and planets can be born. With two-colour text, redrawn diagrams, and endpapers bearing a beautifully detailed colour image of Mercury’s Caloris Basin, this is the ultimate grand tour of the planets.

About Andrew Cohen

Andrew Cohen is head of the BBC Science Unit and honorary lecturer in life sciences at the University of Manchester. As a broadcaster he has worked on a number of documentaries, including series with Brian Cox and the BBC’s flagship science programme, Horizon. Cohen is also executive producer of Wonders of Life for the Science Channel.

About Professor Brian Cox

Professor Brian Cox, OBE is a particle physicist, a Royal Society research fellow, and a professor at the University of Manchester as well as researcher on one of the most ambitious experiments on Earth, the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. He is best known to the public as a science broadcaster and presenter of highly popular BBC TV series Wonders of the Solar System, The Quantum Universe and The Planets. He was also the keyboard player in the UK pop band D:Ream in the 1990s.

About David A. Rothery

David Rothery is Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University, UK, where he teaches planetary science and geology. He formerly worked with satellite images for geological mapping and to monitor active volcanoes on Earth, but over time has become more involved with the study of other planets and is on the science team for the current European Space agency mission to Mercury, called BepiColombo. He was an academic consultant for the BBC Planets series, and for several previous OU-BBC co-productions, and has guested eight times on the BBC’s The Sky at Night. He has written several books, including both Planets and Moons for the Oxford University Press ‘Very Short Introduction’ series.


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