In the last few decades, the exploration of our solar system has revealed fascinating details about the worlds that lie beyond our Earth. This lavishly illustrated book invites the reader on a journey through the solar system. It starts by locating our planetary system in the Universe, then describes the Sun and its planets, the large satellites, asteroids and comets. With photographs and information from the latest space missions, the reader will discover the lunar plains scarred by asteroid impacts, the frozen deserts of Mars and Europa, the continuously erupting volcanoes of Io and the giant geysers of Triton; he will cross the rings of Saturn, plunge into the clouds of Venus and Titan, and survive the spectacular crash of the comet Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter, to emerge with a greater appreciation of the hospitable planet we call home.
Photo-journalist and science writer, Brunier is the author of various books covering astronomy and cosmology, and for many years was the chief editor of the French journal Ciel et Espace.
Introduction; 1. A star lost in infinite space; 2. The Sun, our Star; 3. Mercury: baked by the heat of the Sun; 4. Venus: a vision of hell; 5. The Moon: setting foot on another world; 6. Mars: a trip to the desert planet; 7. Phobos and Deimos: pebbles in the sky; 8. Gaspra: our first asteroid; 9. Jupiter: planet of storms; 10. Shoemaker-Levy: timetable to collision; 11. Io: the volcano planet; 12. Europa: the hidden ocean; 13. Saturn: the Lord of the Rings; 14. Titan: an Earth in hibernation; 15. Enceladus and the worlds of ice; 16. Uranus: a recumbent giant; 17. Halley: the great traveller; 18. Neptune: the great blue sea; 19. Triton: volcanoes of ice; 20. Pluto and Charon: planets in limbo; Appendices.