Friday, August 12, 2022

Sophia Rose Reviews Solar System Reference for Teens by Dr. Bruce Betts

Today Sophia Rose is back reviewing a nonfiction guide to our solar system for ages 12 to 16.

Solar System Reference for Teens by Bruce Betts, PhD

Non-Fiction, Young Adult

Publisher:  Rockridge Press

Published:  6/7/22

Page: 227

Rating: 5 stars

Format: eARC

Source:  Callisto Publishing Group

Sellers: Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads


Amazon Blurb:

Take a tour of our solar system with this guide for teens ages 12 to 16

From the moons of Jupiter to the surface of Mars, our solar system is home to a multitude of wild, weird worlds. Crack open this solar system book and embark on a journey through space as you meet key figures in history, explore careers in astronomy, uncover some of the solar system’s biggest mysteries, and more.

  • Tons of images—Bring celestial objects into focus through more than 160 images, illustrations, and diagrams that provide a close-up look into our solar system and how it works.
  • Fascinating facts—Did you know the Moon gets farther from Earth each year at about the same rate that your fingernails grow? Discover all sorts of awe-inspiring facts about our solar system’s planets, moons, and more.
  • Exciting exploration—Learn about important historical achievements and technological developments—including missions to different parts of the solar system—and get tips for your own stargazing sessions.

Explore all the cool stuff in our solar system with this accessible reference guide for teens.


Sophia Rose's Review:

Now and then, I get the Astronomy bug and want to do a shallow dive into what’s new out there among the planets and stars.  When I spotted this reference guide, I was eager to pour through the pages and particularly the photos to refresh my knowledge and glean more from what scientists continue to learn.


Solar System Reference for Teens is obviously written for a target group younger than my own.  It is informational, but also meant to inspire a love for the study of what is out there beyond our world and how our world fits into the system.  I liked the tone of simple explanation and definitions that painted a picture rather than obscured with complex facts and figures.  There were good analogies to get over the heavy ground of distance and speed that is difficult to wrap my mind around.


Solar System Reference for Teens was broken into five sections after the intro: Solar System at a Glance, Terrestrial Planets and Asteroids, Gas Giants and Ice Giants, Dwarf Planets, Kuiper Belt and Beyond, and Exploring Space.  This is followed up by a nice glossary, reference guide and index.  A reader is encouraged in whatever chapter order grabs the attention, but the book takes an inward to outward approach starting with our sun and working out to the fascinating area of space in the distant, unexplored region of our system beyond Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.


There are amazing color photos and photos taken in different spectrums to showcase the objects in space (sun, planets, moons, asteroids, planetary rings, space stations, exploring crafts, and satellites) and their unique features.  There are insets of mini bios of movers and shakers in space science, careers in space science, and how tech developed for space has been incorporated into our daily lives- cell phone camera and weather satellites, anyone?


I was fascinated by fun tidbits like in the section about the sun describing the effect of solar flares the 1859 Corona Mass Ejection was biggest ever and caused telegraphs to catch fire.  Later it was entertaining to get a pop culture reference for Saturn’s ‘Death Star’ moon, Mimas, because of its general appearance and odd crater that have a strong resemblance to the Star War’s weapon.  I was also fascinated that Saturn has a water spewing moon, Enceladus, and the water turned to ice makes up one of Saturn’s rings.  Man oh man, I was startled that there are over 5,000 satellites orbit the earth and even more constantly being sent up.


All in all, it was full of lovely up to the minute photos that were the centerpiece of interest and the well-organized and written facts that caught the attention and fired interest in the reader.  It made me appreciate the work that has gone into the study of astronomy in the past, what work is being done now and how the work affects even our daily lives, and just how much there is still to learn.  My love for science was enforced and I had the urge to snatch up binoculars or get my hands on a telescope and sit outside on a clear, dark night to appreciate what is above us.  Definitely recommend.


Author Bio:

Dr. Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist who loves teaching people about planets, space, and the night sky in fun and entertaining ways. He has lots of college degrees, lots of big dogs, and two sons. Read on to learn more about his background and where to find him on social media and the Internet.

Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist, science communicator and educator, and manager. He is the Chief Scientist and LightSail Program Manager for the world’s largest space interest group, The Planetary Society. He has a B.S. (Physics and Math) and an M.S. (Applied Physics, emphasis Astronomy) from Stanford and a Ph.D. (Planetary Science, minor in Geology) from Caltech. His research there and at the Planetary Science Institute focused on infrared studies of planetary surfaces. He managed planetary instrument development programs at NASA Headquarters.

At The Planetary Society, he heads the Science and Technology and the Education and Outreach programs. He has managed several flight hardware projects, and led additional science and outreach projects. He is the Program Manager for the Society’s largest project: the LightSail solar sail spacecraft. He regularly writes for the member magazine The Planetary Report and his blog on His popular twitter feed @RandomSpaceFact and Facebook page (Dr. Bruce Betts) provides easy night sky astronomy and random space facts. His Random Space Fact video series ( provides space facts mixed with humor and graphics. He also hosts the "What's Up?" feature on the weekly Planetary Radio ( show (100+ stations, XM/Sirius, podcast). He has been a guest expert on History Channel’s The Universe, is a frequent contributor to Professional Pilot magazine, and has appeared frequently in TV, print, web media, and public lectures. Dr. Betts is an Adjunct Professor with California State University Dominguez Hills and his Introduction to Astronomy and Planetary Science class, featuring lots of pretty space pictures, is available free online ( He is an Alumnus Senior Scientist with Planetary Science Institute. His website is


Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

Sophia’s Social Media Links:






  1. Gorgeous review! Wonderful Post! Have a great day!
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  2. Oh wow this looks great I love all of the Nova type shows on PBS in fact the other night I watched the Big Bang. I wish I had type of books when I was a sponge for learning LOL :)

    1. I enjoyed Nova, too. We tried to sit out and watch the Perseid Meteor shower, but picked the night of the Supermoon. D'oh! ;)

  3. This sounds like it would be good for anyone wanting to learn more on this subject.

    1. I agree, Mary. Kids can get into it, but adults will find it fascinating, too.

  4. This would be a great book to have on hand. I think that all of my knowledge on this subject has been lost over the years.

    1. That was me, too, Carole. I loved honing up on astronomy and seeing all the new discoveries.