Last updated 2009 December 8
The books listed here cover;
- asteroids of all shapes and sizes
- other Solar System Small Bodies
- tools and techniques
If you are familiar with others which could be added to this list, please send me details. Where a price is listed it is that for which the book was purchased or correct at the time of review.
The British Astronomical Association has an agreement with the online book store Amazon.co.uk whereby the BAA is paid a small commission for any book or other item that is purchased by a user who has come to their web site by means of a link from this BAA Journal page. Should you intending to buy any books, CDs, software or electronic equipment from Amazon, it is advantageous to the BAA if you do so via that link.
Asteroids by Curtis Peebles, published by Smithsonian Institution Press (£13.95 pb)
A history of the discovery, naming and fate of these small solar System bodies.
‘This book, made possible by contributions from 150 collaborating authors, brings together the latest information…to present our best current understanding of asteroids’ R Miles, The Journal of The British Astronomical Association, August 2003.
Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites: Cosmic Invaders of Earth by Jon Erickson, published by Checkmark Books ($55, cloth; $19.95, plain paper)
‘Blending history, planetary evolution and recent scientific developments of natural debris that could potentially collide with Earth…..the text’s wealth of information makes it a thorough reference’ Sky and Telescope, September, 2003.
Asteroid Rendezvous: Near Shoemaker’s Adventures at Eros by J Bel and J Mitton, published by Cambridge University Press (£27.95)
Describes the mission to the NEA Eros from initial studies to the landing of the spacecraft on the asteroid and the resulting discoveries. Reviewed by R Miles in The Journal of The British Astronomical Association, February 2003.
Asteroids, Their Nature and Utilization by C T Kowal, published by Wiley
The book reviews the latest developments in the field of asteroid research as well as describing the history and cataloguing of the various families of asteroids, observational techniques, the astronomical and geological significance of asteroids and possibilities for their future utilization. ‘This book contains much specialist information not readily available elsewhere. If your particular interest is asteroids then it is worth a second look’; A Hollis, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, June 1997.
Pluto by J Davies, published by
An excellent book. It describes how the existence of asteroids/comets beyond the main belt was outlined in theory and then discoveries made to validate those theories. Reviewed by R Miles in The Journal of The British Astronomical Association, October 2001.
Dictionary of Minor Planet Names by L D. Schmadel, published by Springer (£86.00)
The 4th edition includes all 10666 minor planets numbered up to June 1999. A CD-ROM is included and updates are available over the internet. Information for each asteroid includes (where known); name, number, discovery and discoverer. Reviewed by R Miles in The Journal of The British Astronomical Association, August 2000.
The 5th edition (see 4th edition above) includes all named minor planets. This is the last full version of this book. In future updates will be published every three years.
Doomsday Asteroid – Can We Survive by D W Cox and J H Chestek, published by Prometheus (£23.00)
‘The book shows that whilst they (the authors) nearly grasp the physics of their subject, time and again they fail in the essential detail’; J Shanklin, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, October 1997.
due to Comets and Asteroids by T Gehrels,
‘ …the essential one-stop reference for
everything you need to know about the threat from space debris’;
The Hunt for Planet X – New Worlds and the Fate of Pluto by Govert Schilling, published by Springer (£14.25)
The book is about the discovery of the Edgeworth – Kuiper belt and strongly focuses on the human side of the story, with many personal anecdotes. Probably the first popular-level book that gives an in-depth description of the discovery of Eris (2003 UB313), covers the row over the discovery priority of Haumea (2003 EL61) and the 'demotion' of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet.
Introduction to Asteroids by C J Cunningham, published by Willman-Bell (£19.50)
Presents the latest (at the time of its publishing in 1988) scientific findings on asteroids, their impact on evolution, space
missions and how they have been and can be observed.
of Hazardous Comets and Asteroids by M Belton, T H Morgan, N Samarasinha
and D K Yeomans, published by
This book collects the latest thoughts and ideas of scientists concerned with mitigating the threat of hazardous asteroids and comets.
Pluto and Charon, Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System, Second Edition by Alan Stern and Jacqueline Mitton, published (Dec 2005) by John Wiley and Sons, Ltd (£39.95)
This revised and expanded second edition includes many new findings about the physical properties of Pluto and Charon as well as the preparations which are currently under way for the New Horizons Mission, scheduled for launch in January 2006.
Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets by D Steel, published by Wiley ($24.95)
An account of the threat posed to life on Earth by asteroids and comets. Duncan Steel is one of the worlds leading experts in this area and his book is well worth a read. Reviewed by J Shanklin in the Journal of The British Astronomical Association, February 1996.
Target Earth by Duncan Steel, published by Time-Life (£14.99)
A Sequel to Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets ‘a well-written and authoritative work which successfully explains every facet of the subject’; R Miles, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, April 2001.
Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Meteorites by O
‘..a comprehensive and readable guide..’. ‘..if you are fascinated by meteorites then this book is well worth having. It is aimed at the interested non-specialist and is written at a level suitable for meteor collectors’; J Saxton, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, August 2002. Also reviewed in Sky and Telescope, July 2002.
Cometary science after Hale-Bopp, Vols. I & II by H. Boehnhardt et al. (ed.), published by Kluwer Academic Publishers. (£119.00 each)
A collection of papers presented at an international conference held in Tenerife in January 2002 covering; physical properties of and chemical processes in comet nuclei, orbital dynamics, spacecraft studies, light curves, comet splitting and items of interest to CCD imagers. Reviewed by J. Shanklin in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, February 2004.
Comet of the Century – from Halley to Hale-Bopp by F Schaff, published by Springer-Verlag. (£19.95)
‘There is a large crop of comet books this year; this is probably the best of them and will be a useful resource long after Hale-Bopp has gone’; J Shanklin, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, June 1997.
Cometography, A Catalogue of Comets Volume 1: Ancient-1799 by G W Kronk,
‘It is the first of a series of four (now six – see Vol 3 below) which will provide complete descriptions of every comet that has ever been seen and recorded’; J Shanklin, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, February 2000.
A Catalogue of Comets Volume 2: 1800-1899 by Gary W. Kronk,
‘Cometography’ above. Reviewed by G M
Cometography, A Catalogue of Comets Volume 3: 1900-1932 by G W Kronk, published by
‘Cometography is a series of books
for comet enthusiasts. Volume 3 runs to 650 pages and there are still three
more volumes to come as the series has been lengthened to keep the volumes down
to manageable size. This volume contains all the descriptions you could ever
want of the comets of the first decades of the twentieth century’.
Comets II, by M C Festou, H U Keller
and H A Weaver, published by
sections on; origins, orbits, the nucleus and dust. Primarily a reference book
for planetary scientists. Reviewed in 'Sky and Telescope', April 2006. Reviewed
Comets and Meteors, the Decisive Centuries, in British Art and Science by R J M Olson and J M Pasachoff, published by Cambridge
‘…the book showcases a breathtaking selection of paintings…a remarkable work of great value…’; J Baum, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, June 1998.
Comets and the Origin and Evolution of Life by P J Thomas, C F Chyba and C P McKay, published by Springer-Verlag (£23.00)
‘…provides a superb introduction to this wide ranging field….suitable for a wide readership’; M E Bailey, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, August 1997.
Popular Culture and the Birth of Modern Cosmology by
‘…the history of popular ideas about comets from the earliest historical times through to the early nineteenth century…a fascinating read. Easily accessible to the general reader’; W M Napier, Journal of the British Astronomical Association, August 1998.
Science by J
Crovisier and T Encrenaz, published by
comprehensive overview of our current knowledge of comets. Includes a chapter
on the relationship between comets, asteroids and meteors. Reviewed by G
Levy’s Guide to Observing and Discovering Comets by David H. Levy, published by
Describes visual and CCD observing techniques and the history of comet hunting.
Levy’s Guide to Observing Meteor Showers by David H. Levy,
Includes a brief description of meteors and covers visual observing of meteor showers. The bulk of the book describes a years meteor activity. Reviewed by Neil Bone in Astronomy, June 2008.
Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors and Meteorites by M D Reynolds, published by Stackpole Books ($24.95)
Sections include; annual meteor showers, observing guide, meteorite hunting, impact craters.
Field Guide to Meteors
and Meteorites by O.
… a solid introduction to meteorites…encyclopaedic in scope… From the review in Sky and Telescope 2008 November
Comets by R Burnham, published by
‘Essentially this is an attractively produced, highly readable and inexpensive guide to comets but with a strong bias towards Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp’; J Shanklin, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, June 2000.
The Great Comet Crash: The Collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Jupiter by J R Spencer and J Mitton, published by Cambridge (£16.95)
‘What is equally pleasing is that the book has generally got things right….a worthy record of a very momentous event’;
I P Williams, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, December 1995.
Heavens on Fire by M Littmann,
Tells the story of meteors, especially the Leonids. Includes chapters on; ‘The meteor-comet connection’ and ‘Killer comets and dis-asteroids’. An excellent book and an easy read. ‘…a book very much worth recommending, well illustrated and free from errors. To sum up, a compelling read’; C Steele, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, April 1999 by.
to Comets by John C. Brandt and Robert D. Chapman, published by
the science of comets, suitable for graduate and advanced undergraduate
students of astronomy and planetary science. ‘…if you want to get a basic
understanding of the science behind these enigmatic objects you should get
yourself a copy. I don’t think there are any better books available for the
Meteorites – A Journey Through Space and Time by A Bevan and J de Laeter, published by Smithsonian Institute Press (£30.50)
Traces the formation and break-up of planets, asteroids and comets where meteorites originated, their journey to Earth, their recovery and what has been learnt about them.
Reviewed in Sky and Telescope, July 2002.
Meteorites: A Petrologic, Chemical
and Isotopic Synthesis by Robert Hutchison, published by
Summarises the mineralogy of meteorites and what their analysis reveals about their origins and the early history of the Solar System.
and Their Parent Planets by H Y McSween,
An extremely interesting explanation of meteorite types and how their origins can be deduced. A little heavy in places but well worth persisting with. ‘…a complete introduction to the science of meteorites written by one of the community’s foremost and respected experts on the subject’; M Grady, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, April 2000. If rocks and suchlike stuff is of particular interest to you then you might like to take a look at ‘Physical Geology’ by B J Skinner and S C Porter, published by Wiley.
Meteorite Hunter: The Search for Siberian Meteorite Craters by R A Gallant, published by McGraw-Hill ($24.95)
the authors journey through the former
Ice and Antarctica: A Personal Account by William Cassidy, published by
The author describes the trials and trepidations of the United States Antarctic Search for Meteorites project from obtaining permission through the exploration to the return home. The science and results of the expedition are covered together with the human side of the journey. Reviewed in Sky and Telescope, August 2003.
Meteors and How to Observe Them by Robert Lunsford, published by Springer (£27.99)
Contains much useful information for a newcomer to meteor observing. One third of the book covers the major shows, another the lesser known ones and the rest is devoted to observational methods.
Meteors in the Earth’s Atmosphere by Edmund Murad and Iwan P. Williams, published by Cambridge University Press (£60)
This work integrates astronomical observations and theories with geophysical studies to present a comprehensive overview of the extraterrestrial matter that falls to Earth from space.
Meteorites, Messengers From Space by F Heide and F Wlotzka, published by Springer-Verlag (DM38.00)
The book covers; meteorite falls, meteorite properties and classification and meteorite’s origins and formation. ‘..a useful book, but with a slightly out of date feel’; G Day, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, October 1995.
– Their Impact on Science and History by B Zanda and M Rotaru,
A comprehensive guide to meteorites – their; origins, composition and effects.
Meteors by N Bone, published by Philip’s (£10.99)
How to observe and photograph meteors by the Director of the Meteor Section of The British Astronomical Association.
the Earth’s Atmosphere edited by
A comprehensive review of the extraterrestrial material that falls to Earth from Space.
Observing Comets by N James and G North, published by Springer-Verlag (£26.00)
Intended for those who wish to improve their comet observation skills. Covers; history, nomenclature, physical characteristics, instruments, observing techniques, magnitude estimation, imaging, use of computers, astrometry and photometry. CD ROM included. Reviewed in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, August 2003 and in Sky and Telescope, September 2003.
Observing Meteors, Comets, Supernovae and other transient phenomena by N Bone, published by Springer-Verlag (£19.00)
‘...the BAA’s Meteor Section Director gives a simple account of transient phenomena that amateurs can observe’; J Rogers, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, June 1999.
The Origin of Chondrules and Chondrites by D Sears, published by Cambridge University Press (Dec 2004), (£65.00)
This book summarizes the ideas surrounding the origin and history of chondrules and chondrites including citations to every published paper on the topic. It forms a comprehensive bibliography of the latest research, and extensive illustrations provide a clear visual representation of the scientific theories. Will be of interest to graduate students and researchers in planetary science, geology and astronomy.
The Quest for Comets by D H Levy, published by Plenum Press, ($28.74)
‘…a very personal view of the history and attraction of comet discovery’; J Lancashire, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, April 1995.
Clyde Tombaugh, Discoverer of Planet Pluto by David H. Levy, published by Sky and Telescope (£8.42)
Describes the life of one of the American astronomer who discovered the planet (now dwarf planet) Pluto.
Exodus to Arthur – Catastrophic Encounters with Comets by M Baillie, published by Batsford (£19.99)
Professor Mike Baillie argues that the Earth has undergone several catastrophic encounters with comets, or their debris, over the last thousand years. This scenario is based on the scientific analysis of ancient tree-ring patterns. (‘Catastrophe’ by D Keys, published by Arrow argues the case for volcanism as the cause of ancient catastrophes).
by Levy – The Man Who Made an Impact by D H Levy, published by
The life and times of Eugene Shoemaker – one of the great names in astrogeology and terrestrial impact cratering. Best known in recent times for giving his name to comet Shoemaker – Levy 9. Reviewed by R Dymock in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, April 2001.
Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Second Edition by Lucy-Ann McFadden, Paul R Weissman and Torrence V Johnson, published by Academic Press (£55.09 from Amazon which you will, of course, access via the link on the BAA Journal webpage)
The second edition of this book was published in 2007 and I obtained it as a birthday present from my wife (she still owes me the 9p !). It contains chapters on the Solar System in general, each planet, asteroids, comets and meteors and extra solar planets. So far I have only read the first two chapters concerning the Solar System and it is not as ‘heavy’ as the size of the book might indicate. If the rest of the book explains complicated matters such as resonances as well as is done in the first couple of chapters it will be very well worth the money.
The Art and Science of CCD Astronomy by D Ratledge, published by Springer (£19.95)
Includes contributions by twelve leading amateurs from around the world, people who are routinely producing astronomical images rivalling those of professional astronomers of merely a decade ago. ‘…a useful contribution to the field of amateur CCD astronomy’; T Platt, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, June 1997.
Digital Astrophotography - The State of the Art by D Ratledge, published by Springer-Verlag (£22.00)
chapters by many acknowledged experts. Covers simple techniques and more
serious work. 'I can thoroughly recommend this book…If you are new to digital
imaging it will help to get you started. If you are already an 'expert' it will
inspire you to higher things…'
astronomical photometry by Edwin
Budding and Osman Dermircan, published by
authors describe this book as ‘a textbook on astronomical photometry intended for
university students, research starters, advanced amateurs and others with this
special interest’. This is an accurate assessment of its level and audience’
Introduction to Digital Astrophotography: Imaging the Universe with a Digital Camera by R Reeves, published by Willmann-Bell ($34.95)
A compendium of night sky imaging that will be useful for many years to come. Includes virtually everything there is to know about digital cameras. Reviewed in 'Sky and Telescope', March 2006.
of Astrometry by Jean Kovalevsky and Kenneth Seidelmann, published by
This comprehensive reference will be invaluable for graduate students and research astronomers.
Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing by R
second edition is, to quote from the review in 'Sky and Telescope', May 2000, 'the
finest book to date to covering the entire gamut of digital astrophotography'.
A CD-ROM of images allows you to try out the various methods of enhancement,
astrometry and photometry using the
Introduction to Digital Astrophotography by Robert Reeves, published by Willman-Bell ($34.95)
…virtually everything there is to know about digital cameras… Reviewed by Sean Walker in Sky and Telescope, March 2006.
The New CCD Astronomy by R Wodaski, published by New Astronomy Press ($49.95)
book is loaded with the tricks and techniques that the best imagers use and it
explains them in easy-to-understand language’;
Orbital Motion by A E Roy, published by the Institute of Physics
A comprehensive textbook encompassing the analytical methods of classical celestial mechanics. Described by A Hollis in his review of Solar System Dynamics as ‘The standard work on planetary dynamics for many years’.
Practical Guide to CCD Astronomy by P
Describes how a CCD camera works and then goes on to cover image acquisition and processing. ‘This is an invaluable guide in a field with few comparable publications’; M Gavin, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, October 1998.
A Practical Guide to Lightcurve Photometry and Analysis by Brian D Warner, published by Bdw Publishing ($40 inc. postage and packing)
This book is for those who want to use their telescope and CCD camera to obtain and contribute data to the study of asteroids and variable stars. It takes you through the essentials of generating and analysing lightcurves. Reviewed by R. Miles in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, February 2004 and in Sky and Telescope, January 2004.
Setting up a Small
‘It covers various telescopes and mounts available to the amateur, types of observatory both run-off and domed, and their siting within the owners’ gardens. …. This is a comprehensive review of all the options needed for a permanent observatory and any observer considering building one should consult this book’ Extract from review by Maurice Gavin in the 2008 August issue of the Journal of the BAA. Also reviewed in 2008 September Sky and Telescope.
System Dynamics by C D Murray and S F Dermott, published by
‘This book will be of interest to the advanced amateur as well as the academic interested in orbital evolution’; A Hollis, Journal of The British Astronomical Association, October 2000.
orbit determination by G
This book presents new algorithms capable of handling the millions of bodies which could be observed by next generation surveys, and which can fully exploit tracking data with state-of-the-art levels of accuracy. After a general mathematical background and summary of classical algorithms, the new algorithms are introduced using the latest mathematical tools and results, to which the authors have personally contributed. Case studies based on actual astronomical surveys and space missions are provided, with applications of these new methods. Intended for graduate students and researchers in applied mathematics, physics, astronomy and aerospace engineering, this book is also of interest to non-professional astronomers.