Review of “The Planets”

Many people find Astronomy and space something spectacular. Thus, they like to enhance their knowledge, either from documentaries or through the net. I do the same, but it is nice to have a few books on various subjects of science. Today I will provide a thorough review of “The Planets”, a book written by Professor Brian Cox, and Andrew Cohen. which seems to be a book that is worth owning. But for whom is this book? Time to see yourself.

An overview of “The Planets”


Title: The Planets
Authors: Professor Brian Cox & Andrew Cohen
Published; 23 May 2019
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, kindle
Price: Hardcover (£11.99), Paperback (£6.99), kindle(£4.99)
Public Rating: 4.8


The book covers only the eight planets of the Solar system and the Kuiper belt, the area where Pluto is. After an introduction of our planetary system, the book starts with the first two planets of our Solar system, presenting Mercury and Venus, while in the second our Earth, Moon and Mars. After the rocky worlds, the books on the gaseous giants of Solar system and a chapter is for Jupiter, and another for Saturn, The last section covers the ice giants Uranus and Neptune, together with the Kuiper belt and Pluto.

About the Authors

Professor Brian Cox is a Royal Society research fellow, a particle physicist and a professor at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. He is also a researcher at CERN in Switzerland, in one of the most ambitious experiments ever, the ATLAS. He is best known to the public as a broadcaster of the BBC Wonders trilogy, Human Universe, Forces of Nature, and Stargazing Live. In the 90s he was the keyboard player in the UK pop band D:Ream.

Andrew Cohen is Head of the BBC Science Department and the producer of the BBC series The Planets. During his career on BBC, he has been the executive producer of science documentaries, including the Wonders trilogy Human Universe, Forces of Nature, and Stargazing Live. He lives in London with his wife and three children.

Who is “The Planets” for?

If you are interested in Astronomy and our Solar System, but you lack any scientific background, this book is an excellent choice to enhance your knowledge. If you would like to own a book simple to follow, updated with findings from the latest missions, most likely you need not look further. It can be ideal for young kids, opening the door of science to them. Thus, it is suitable for all ages interested in Astronomy. Apart from being a treat to yourself, it can also be a splendid gift.

What is an insight into “The Planets”? 

1. Solar System – An introduction

Have a quick overview of what this book is about and get the basic information about our Solar System and important historical events.

2. Mercury + Venus – A moment in the Sun

Star your Solar system trip from the rocky worlds that are the closest to the Sun. Find out why Mercury is not the hottest planet of the Solar System and why Venus resembles what we call hell. Learn why both of these planets are full of surprises.

3. Earth + Mars – The two sisters

Find out about our planet and Moon, see what makes our planet so unique, and what protects our atmosphere responsible for our existence. Learn interesting facts about the Moon and the space program that took people there for the first time. Move then to Mars and see the exploration timeline of the planet and you will understand why Mars has attracted such interest from the scientific community.

4. Jupiter – The Godfather

The largest planet of the Solar System is just not just a massive sphere made of gas. Find how Jupiter formed, and see its evolution. Investigate its interesting atmosphere and weather, which makes Earth storms look like nothing. Check the magnificent “art-works” that Juno sent to us and learn more about the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter’s atmosphere. Investigate the structure of the planets and what is responsible for its immense magnetic field. Finally, see the most spectacular volcanoes in our Solar system, in Jupiter’s Io, and get to know why Europa is the best candidate to find life on another planet.

5. Saturn – The celestial jewel

When it comes to looks, then Saturn surely has them. Explore the gas giant that is surrounded by a beautiful ring system and see how both were formed. Go through the structure of the planet, only to see a planet that is lighter than water. Know inside out, the space probes visited Saturn and check the timeline of discoveries. Finally, see what makes Saturn’s largest satellite Titan, a celestial object that we should further investigate.

6. Uranus Neptune Pluto – Into the darkness

Move to the frozen worlds of our Solar System and go through a timeline of discoveries. See how different Uranus and Neptune are from the gaseous giants and learn why Pluto “fell from grace” and it is not considered a planet anymore. As you go through this section, you find that Uranus and Neptune have both something common with Saturn and this is a system of rings. End your trip in the Kuiper belt, where its largest object Pluto is located together with thousands of minor planets and planetesimals.

Pros and Cons on “The Planets” 


  • An excellent choice for someone that has no background in Astronomy.
  • Easy to follow without complicated terminology.
  • It contains material from the latest probe missions in our Solar System.


  •  Honestly, I cannot find anything. Perhaps the only thing I can mention is that it eventually has an end.

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My final thoughts on “The Planets”

The book shows why Professor Brian Cox is a great communicator and has excellent knowledge of the material that he is covering. He presents material easily to follow, while the support from the pictures in the book helps the reader understand without leaving bleak areas.

The book was published in May 2019, and the latest discoveries from space probes like MESSENGER and New Horizons are here, thus the reader gets the most updated view of the Solar System.

Perhaps people with a background in Astronomy may state that the book is boring and not suitable for them, but like everything in life, science needs a starting point and this book proves to be ideal for this job. People that would like something more advanced should look somewhere else. But if you are a beginner, this book is definitely for you.

My rating on this book is 5 out of 5, since it will provide the fundamentals of knowledge to the reader in our Solar System. 


Share your thoughts

I am looking forward to receiving feedback from you about this book. If you have read this book, tell me what you think. Please leave a comment below and share your opinion with me.

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4 thoughts on “Review of “The Planets””

  1. We love astronomy in our house. We often look at the stars and try to name the constellations. My son wants to be an astronaut. This is great information and we will be buying ‘The Planets’ to add to our collection of books about space and astronomy.

    • Dear Dustin,

      First of all I would like to thank you for visiting my webpage and for your comments. I am always happy to come across people who like Astronomy. I also have a blog with articles in Astronomy and on my current plans, is the creation of a youtube channel related to Astronomy. If you would like any recommendation on anything related to Astronomy please let me know. I will be glad to help.

      P.S. This book is an ideal beginning for someone that is a space enthusiast.

    • Hi Richard,

      Thank you for visiting my page. This book indeed is a very good gift to anyone that likes Astronomy.


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