The Saturn System was a free book from NASA at the completion of the Cassini-Huyghens space expedition. I downloaded it like a shot.

I chose to look at it now as I needed to do some research on planetary ring systems… Yes, I finished the first draft of Zanzibar’s Rings with lots of questions about the real science in the fiction I was writing. Not that Saturn’s rings are the same as my planet Zanzibar’s, but it’s good to know the difference in case some smarty-pants tells me I’ve got the detail wrong.

The Saturn System: Through the Eyes of Cassini

by National Aeronautics and Space Administration

This free NASA e-Book celebrates Saturn as seen through the eyes of the Cassini spacecraft. 

The Cassini-Huygens mission has revolutionized our knowledge of the Saturn system and revealed surprising places in the solar system where life could potentially gain a foothold—bodies we call ocean worlds.

Since its arrival in 2004, Cassini–Huygens has been nothing short of a discovery machine, captivating us with data and images never before obtained with such detail and clarity. Cassini taught us that Saturn is a far cry from a tranquil lone planet with delicate rings. Now, we know more about Saturn’s chaotic, active, and powerful rings, and the storms that rage beneath. Images and data from Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus hint at the possibility of life never before suspected. The rings of Saturn, its moons, and the planet itself offer irresistible and inexhaustible subjects for intense study. As the Cassini mission comes to a dramatic end with a fateful plunge into Saturn on Sept. 15, 2017, scientists are already dreaming of going back for further study. ….

Credit: NASA / Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Caltech / Lunar and Planetary Institute (goodreads)

My Review

This is, in essence, a picture book, with several sections: Saturn, Rings, some named planets and the rest. Each has a one page introduction, then there are full colour (mainly) photographs with explanations and a bit of detail (and photography detail).

The full colour takes a bit of getting used to–it’s subtle. The cover is full colour although at first glance it looks like greyscale. You may be able to distinguish between the slightly golden glow in the lower half of the planet compared with the bluer upper half. I had it on my iPad, and several times I enlarged a photo to see some detail they described and barely found it, or just assumed that a splodge was it. So if you are interested, get it for something with a touchscreen. It is also interactive in places: the 360 degree view of Titan from the ground was very impressive.

There’s not a lot of reading, but there’s a magnificent amount of beautiful imagery. That’s one of the things Cassini did wonderfully–gave us Saturn as we’d never seen it before. And I learned the answers to most of my questions, which is even better.

Book Review | The Saturn System: Through the Eyes of Cassini @NASA 5 stars (and a whole lot of rings) 'not a lot of reading, but a magnificent amount of beautiful imagery' #space #science Click To Tweet

Book Review | The Saturn System: Through the Eyes of Cassini @NASA
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