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Across the Universe


Here's a Space Coast Special. The newly released Planet: Photographs from the Archives of NASA ($27, Chronicle Books) offers a rich visual tour of the planets in our solar system. Nirmala Nataraj, author of Earth & Space, returns with another gorgeous photographic tour of space, this time featuring 200 spectacular photos of planets, moons, and comets in our solar system, collected from over 40 years’ worth of material housed in NASA’s archives.

The intricately detailed color and black-and-white photos include panoramas, ultraviolet and infrared images, and close-ups with extended captions detailing the science behind some of our cosmic neighborhood's most extraordinary phenomena. Zero in on photos of multicolored jet streams forming Saturn’s enigmatic hexagon, a humbling photo of the transit of Venus across the turbulent sun, and a shot of Pluto’s enormous heart-shaped plain. close-ups of asteroids and fiery volcanoes on Venus where ancient lava flows to hydrocarbon seas.

The collection reminds us how much Planet Earth has learned about other planets over the past few decades. Anyone with an interest in science, astronomy, and the mysteries of the universe will revel in these  astronomical marvels, a splendid guide to the wonders of the solar system.