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Space Photography

OrbitOrbit: NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth Shuttle astronaut Jay Apt, together with scientists Michael Helfert and Justin Wilkinson, has put together a wonderful book of photographs under the auspices of National Geographic, Orbit. These are all photographs taken by astronauts from the space shuttle while in orbit, with a few exceptions, historically significant photographs from moon circlings and early trips into space. Photography, interestingly enough, is never really scheduled as a shuttle activity, but rather done in between the other assignments. The photographs included in this book do not come from special space cameras, but rather from regular hand-held, off-the-shelf cameras that astronauts took with them. The shuttle offers a unique platform for photography, to say the least. It has 11 different windows, and as the shuttle orbits in what one might consider an upside-down position, the windows and cargo-bay with doors open are almost always facing the earth. Astronauts take lots of film with them, and record many phenomena. This book is divided geographically, by earth region: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, Middle and South America, and North America. There is also a special section on the Aurora, with dazzling photographs of things that look right out of Star Trek! The images include daytime and nighttime views, calm views and stormy views. One can see hurricanes and cyclones from high above, stretching their entire lengths across great portions of the globe. One can see the difference lighting makes in an urban area at night, the way terrain and human-engineering connect, and how much of the world seems to remain unspoilt when viewed from a distance of even a few hundred miles away. This is a remarkable book, full of glorious photographs of the 'home world', a great coffee-table book, a great gift, and a great guide of inspiration for younger readers who might be interested in science, geography, or even becoming an astronaut. Space Photography.

BeyondBeyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes Michael Benson has spent years compiling images collected by the unmanned probes that NASA has been sending into space to explore the solar system since the 1960s. The resulting book consists of two parts: the first is a visual tour of the solar system; and the second is a series of essays that explain the how and why of these photographs - the history of the journeys of the probes, how they work and why they were built. The volume has a foreword by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and an afterword by Lawrence Weschler.

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