Nicole Mortillaro is a passionate amateur astronomer and children's book editor.
This slim album's suite of photographs highlights the beauty of Saturn and its moons. Sourced mostly from the Cassini Huygens dual-purpose spacecraft, the imagery showcases the famous rings in detail... Captions explain tiny moons and boulders that one sees through Cassini's cameras and while zoom-out frames display the whole Saturnian system, Mortillaro's minitext delivers a basic description of the scene. In a section devoted to Saturn s moon Titan...Mortillaro introduces viewers to photographs of its dynamic methane-dominated atmosphere and its lakes, as well as the ground where the Huygens probe landed. Likewise with a gallery of Saturn's lesser moons. Mortillaro's texts briefly note what is of scientific interest, such as geologic activity on ice-coated Enceladus. Admittedly an eyecatcher, Mortillaro's visually exuberant work may whet desire for more scientific information than she provides.-- (11/15/2010) Saturn has been a source of fascination to both the professional and amateur astronomer for millennia -- it's visible to the naked eye from Earth and its rings make it one of the more visually stunning worlds in our solar system. While Mortillaro's book includes mentions of the early Pioneer and Voyager missions that went by Saturn, the bulk of this lavishly illustrated book is devoted to the discoveries made since 1997 when the Cassini-Huygens satellite was launched. The purpose of Cassini-Iluygens was to study Saturn -- the satellite is still in orbit around the planet -- and its 62-and-counting moons. The photographs (courtesy of NASA) are breathtaking, revealing details the like of which have never been seen before. It is a book that gives its readers a sense of the beauty and immensity of what lies beyond the Earth's atmosphere.-- (12/19/2010) Saturn is one of the five planets that stargazers can see with the naked eye. In 1997 the satellite Cassini-Huygens was launched with the sole purpose of studying Saturn and its moons and rings. Cassini is still in orbit, and in 2009 it witnessed Saturn's equinox firsthand, providing an entirely new perspective of the planet and a basis for amazing discoveries. Its accomplishments so far include landing on Saturn's moon Titan, recording images of a storm raging across Saturn that has lightning 10,000 times more powerful than any lightning on Earth, discovering there may be as many as 10 million tiny moonlets in Saturn's rings, and finding that a newly discovered moon embedded in the planet's G ring may actually be responsible for that ring. Featuring extraordinary photos selected from NASA resources on almost every page, this book examines the planet and its place in our universe with a special emphasis on the most recent discoveries of the Cassini probe.-- (09/01/2010)