cover image Seeing Earth from Space

Seeing Earth from Space

Patricia Lauber. Orchard Books (NY), $21.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05902-9

A change of perspective can facilitate startling changes in our thinking, even about everyday matters. When the new vantage point is outer space, and the object regarded is our own planet, the possibilities are breathtaking indeed. Lauber has compiled stunning photographs of the Earth taken by astronauts and images compiled from satellite data. She prompts the reader to consider not only their beauty but their significance to an understanding of Earth's evolution. Detailing the ways in which scientists use such images to track storm systems, predict weather and study crop conditions, Lauber pays particular attention to evidence of the environmental changes that humans have wrought. To this end, she offers involved but clear interpretations of infrared pictures of the Arctic's ozone hole and a radar impression of a long-buried Sahara riverbed. This is an unusual and thought-provoking book: it offers the magical sight of the Earth as a distant, luminous orb, and makes a resonant plea to treasure this precious planet. Ages 10-up. ( Aug. )