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2010 PROSE Awards Honorable Mention in Cosmology and Astronomy

The PROSE Awards annually recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in over 40 categories. Judged by peer publishers, librarians, and medical professionals since 1976, the PROSE Awards are extraordinary for their breadth and depth.


2011 Outstanding University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries

A colorful and intriguing book that explores astonishing places in our solar system. One can travel to the tallest mountain, see impact craters, the deepest ocean, watch the longest storm still going, view alien objects, and much more with each turn of the page. -Angela Green (Public Library Association)

As the world and climate around us changes, what is happening in our Solar System? This book looks at 50 extremes; some of them do not just happen in one place, but in various places. This book shows what is occurring in space, explains why it occurs, includes science experiments when possible; color pictures and the explanations’ are easy to understand. This is highly recommended to any reader. -Elizabeth Willoughby (American Association of School Librarians) - GeekDad Gift Guide

Brainy astronomy book that lures readers in with the promise, as the title suggests, of the most radical volcanoes, storms, craters and so on in the solar system. But that ruse disguises a wealth of planetary info sure to fascinate Dad.


National Geographic - Germany

With fascinating examples "The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System" shows what peculiar effects the physical properties of the planets in our solar system have. It is not just a collection of impressive records, but rather delves into the question of 'why' and the scientific background of the described phenomena. Numerous pictures, graphics and diagrams complement the entertaining text without convoluting it. This way, the cosmic sightseeing becomes an informative excursion into our solar system that also brings our own home planet a little closer to the reader.


Astronomy Now - Website of UK's best selling Astronomy magazine

I fully recommend this book to anyone of any age with an interest in the Solar System and how much of a hostile, humbling and amazing place it is...


Discover Magazine Galleries: The Freakiest Places in the Solar System

Tallest, deepest, hottest, weirdest: Our solar system is a place of extremes. In a new book, The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System, authors David Baker and Todd Ratcliff take readers on a sightseeing tour of gas giants, icy moons, and the heat-blasted inner planets.


Discover Blog: Science Not Fiction

An extremely interesting book...written by two extremely fascinating gentlemen.

NASA History Program Office - First Quarter 2011 News & Notes Newsletter (page 19)

This book moves our understanding of the extreme earthly phenomena (hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions) into extraterrestrial dimensions and gives us an awe-inspiring sense of what our solar system at its utmost can do.


Scientific American Recommended Reading

From icy volcanoes on Neptune to Eiffel Tower?size lightning bolts on Saturn, the wildest sights in our corner of the universe. Feature Review and Slide Show

A new book highlights the most unique locations in the solar system, some of which are surprisingly close to home.

Science News

Tour Earth’s hottest, coldest, stormiest and stinkiest neighbors, plus the solar system’s weirdest phenomena.


Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Ottawa Center Stan Mott Library

June 2011 Pick of the Month


Mackin Educational Resources 2010 Book Talk Live! Newest Titles Come Alive for K-12 Students

This amazing book highlights unusual physical phenomena in the solar system and discusses why it’s considered extreme. All 50 places are thoroughly illustrated with stunning images, including several from planetary missions. Emphasizing the idea that new discoveries and new answers to unsolved mysteries are still waiting to be found, this book is sure to intrigue.


American Association for the Advancement of Science - Science Books & Film. Highly Recommended. (H. Geller)

It is a beautifully illustrated volume with some outstanding graphics related to the conditions on all of the celestial objects in our solar system. It would be a great book to have available at a trivial pursuit game. However, it also is written well enough so that the reader may actually learn about many of our “most extreme” places inthe solar system and the forces of nature which made them... the authors have quite a wit which comes across clearly in their writing style. If one were to read this volume from cover to cover, one may be surprised with how much space science can be learned in such a frolic through the solar system.


Choice Reviews: Recommended.

As planetary scientists, they write clearly about the most extreme physical aspects of solar system bodies such as planets, moons, and comets, but deftly mix in more familiar comparisons from planet Earth as well. Using amusing section headings like "When Comets Attack" and "Stinkiest Place--The Rotten Egg of Io," the authors cover many of the basics a course on
planetary astronomy would cover, in addition to some of the latest results from NASA missions that are still studying Mars, Saturn, and the sun.


American Association for the Advancement of Science - Science Books & Film. Highly Recommended. (L. Evans)

The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System may not sound like the title of a serious scientific book, but a catchy name can be deceiving...the book is more than a travelogue of the solar system, as interesting as that might be. Many phenomena are presented which show that science is an active process?and those phenomena are explained, along with problems associated with the explanation and even alternative explanations.


Science Recent Picks - Wellington Library (New Zealand)



Coalition for Space Exploration

As the authors suggest, once you’ve finished diving through the pages: “You may never look at our Solar System in the same way again.” They have succeeded in that ambition…and then some.


Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland Newspaper)

Extreme Places not only amazes, bemuses and teaches the reader - the book also awakens respect for the sensitive environment of our Earth, that needs to be protected.


SciTech Book News

Combining superb photographs, explanatory diagrams, and scientific information conveyed via an engaging, entertaining, and amusing writing style, planetary science experts Baker (physics, Austin College) and Ratcliff (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA) translate the “wow” factor of our solar system into accessible explanations for students and general readers.


San Francisco Book Review

You could easily spend hours with this book. I mean, who knew there were volcanoes that spew ice instead of lava?

Also appeared in Sacramento Book Review.


Caltech Engineering and Science Magazine

And a beautiful piece of work it is: The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System combines the gorgeous, and gorgeously reproduced, illustrations and photography of a coffee-table book?225 color, 25 halftones?with text as entertaining as it is informative, all packaged in a 7-by-8-inch, 304-page volume that can easily be carried around and?what a concept!?actually read.


Sentinel Record - Hot Springs on the Go (Hot Springs, Arkansas)

Baker and Ratcliff don't soft-peddle the hard stuff, but they don't bang you over the head with it, either...It's fun stuff, and educational at the same time.


Times Higher Education - UK

David Baker and Todd Ratcliff have launched themselves on a truly epic mission...Laid out in 50 brief but beautifully illustrated chapters, The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System is hugely enjoyable.

This is the sort of book I would have pored over for hours at a certain phase in my life; if you have a young or young-at-heart stargazer in your home, I would encourage you to check it out.


WDR 5 Television and Radio - Germany

50 times Baker and Ratcliff know how to astound perfectly. It's wonderful to browse in their gripping stories - often evoking a cosmic 'wanderlust'. A glossary explains the most important scientific terms...A true joy to read...In a conversational tone, David Baker and Todd Ratcliff help us gain a new view of our cosmic neighborhood and Earth's place in it.


Dallas Morning News McKinney-Allen Neighbors Go

The book provides an intimate, smart, and eye-opening look at our corner of the galaxy, sure to fascinate anyone who has ever looked up at the sky and wondered what it is like out there.


Die Zeit (The Times) - Germany

Did you find it too hot in recent weeks? Then you were not on Venus.


Observer (Vienna, Austria)

This richly illustrated amusing and easy to understand and overall fantastic.


Eltern (German equivalent to "Parenting" magazine)

For Mommies and Daddies who want to beam themselves far away: A physicist and a NASA planetary scientist take the reader on a journey through our solar system. You will need the knowledge of the latest superlatives from Earth to Mars when your children reach their 'why' phase.


Horzu (a widely read German TV magazine)

The 50 Most Extreme Places in our Solar System" offer plenty of material for awe. It is exciting, surprising and at the same time always supported by scientific insights.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Records with no end in sight in the most unusual places of the solar system.



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The 50 Most Extreme Places in Our Solar System by David Baker and Todd Ratcliff

Most Extreme Voting Results

Extreme Earth
Tallest Mountain - Olympus Mons
The Hardest Rain - Diamond Hail on Uranus and Neptune
Deepest Ocean - Europa
Stinkiest Place - The Rotten Egg of Io
View Full Results

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