© 2017

Cosmic Debris

What It Is and What We Can Do About It


Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 1-17
  3. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 19-42
  4. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 43-93
  5. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 95-107
  6. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 109-118
  7. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 119-132
  8. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 133-149
  9. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 151-178
  10. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 179-216
  11. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 217-237
  12. Jonathan Powell
    Pages 239-246
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 247-267

About this book


This book examines the mysterious and the well-studied debris in Earth’s crowded neighborhood. From orbiting comets to the workings of the Asteroid Belt, and from meteor showers to our home-grown network of orbiting satellites, the full diversity of space objects and the debris they create is explored. Powell also discusses some of the current research techniques used to find potentially harmful rogue elements, with an emphasis on keeping watch for any objects that may intersect Earth’s orbit. Such bodies also impact other worlds, and much has been learned from observing these encounters.

The information in this book is intended to foster thought about the universe in which we live, but without overloading its readers with numbers and lecture-room analysis. Like a good thriller, it allows its readers to pace themselves with the story and, by the end, encourages them to draw their own conclusions.


Asteroids in solar system Observing NEOs risk of asteroid hitting Earth What are meteor showers? Comets and disease Organic life on asteroids Satellite debris risks NEO monitoring Debris in the Solar System Debris in path of Earth's orbit Near earth objects

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Ebbw Vale, GwentUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Jonathan Powell is a native of South Wales. With an interest in astronomy and related subjects since the late 1970’s, Jonathan has written for UK national astronomical magazines, and broadcast on the topic at both regional and national level for BBC Radio, dating back to 1985. Jonathan also took part in a BBC Radio 4 documentary series on meteorites. He has been secretary of his local astronomical society for the past 20 years and is the British Astronomical Association’s ‘Campaign for Dark Skies’ county officer. A former member of the Association for Astronomy Education – which encouraged and promoted astronomy among the young – he also headed up ‘SpaceQuest’, an educational lecture tool, which toured schools with a two hour presentation on astronomy. His publications include three articles in Astronomy Now magazine. He has written a book about castles in South and West Wales – Fortress Wales – and articles on observational astronomy published in astronomical society newsletters.

Bibliographic information


“The author provides a narrative that describes the order of the universe and acknowledges its vastness, as the cosmos is experiencing an ‘expansion phase.’ … Well researched and thought provoking, Cosmic Debris is a good read for the academic space enthusiast. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.” (R. I. Saltz, Choice, Vol. 55 (5), January, 2018)