THE NINE PLANETS: A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System.

So many otherwise admirable web sites are diminished by overblown graphics and inappropriate trick effects that this unpretentious and effective resource is enough to make you cheer.

The site, created by Bill Arnett at the University of Arizona, consists of about 90 web pages. Each page provides at least one, and usually several, images of the planet or moon in question - many derived from the Voyager 2 mission. Essential information follows - size and mass, date of discovery, the meaning of its name, and various other facts.

There's an excellent glossary, lists of planetary images available elsewhere on the Net, some history, video clips, and even snippets from the relevant movements of Holst's planets.

Like a good reference book, the site can be dipped into as and when you need, with no fear of being assaulted by gyrating logos, pushy online ads or invitations to view the author's collection of digital holiday snaps.

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