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227 × 178 × 20 mm
224 pages
100 illustrations, 50 in colour
14 Oct 2019

Saturn William Sheehan

Saturn is the showcase of the Solar System. It may not be the largest of the planets, nor the smallest, nor even the only planet with rings. But it is among the most stunningly beautiful objects in the sky, and is always breathtaking when seen in a telescope.

This is a beautifully illustrated, authoritative overview of the entire history of humankind’s fascination with the ringed planet, from the first low-resolution views of Galileo, Huygens and other early observers with telescopes to the most recent discoveries by the spacecraft Cassini, which studied the planet at close range between 2004 and 2017. The book describes the planet from inside out, details the complicated system of rings and their interaction with Saturn’s bevy of satellites, and considers how Saturn formed and the role it played in the early history of the Solar System. Featuring the latest research and a spectacular array of images, it will appeal to the wide audience for astronomy and popular science.

‘Saturn is a detailed exploration of the most well-known of the ringed planets in our Solar System. It's an amazing account of how much we can learn from so little; how, over time, new things slowly reveal themselves; and how many questions we have yet to answer about this infamous giant world . . . This book manages to show how – with the help of Galileo and his early telescopes – Saturn went from being a pale orange dot wandering across the constellations, to a body vital to the development of ground-based astronomical observations. Sheehan relates the story in detail, but keeps it exciting as he spins the tale of the planet's role in human history, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern-day space missions . . . Saturn is a must read for any enthusiastic amateur astronomer armed with a small telescope and the curiosity to learn more about the planet, its rings and moons.’ — BBC Sky at Night Magazine

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William Sheehan is a noted historian of astronomy, and amateur astronomer who has been an observer of Mercury and the other planets for many years. He has published numerous books on astronomy, including Planets and Perception (1988), The Immortal Fire Within: The Life and Work of Edward Emerson Barnard (1995), The Planet Mars (1996), Galactic Encounters and Celestial Shadows (both 2015) and Discovering Pluto (2018). He lives in Arizona, and asteroid 16037 is named Sheehan in his honour.