Is Pluto a Planet

Author: David A. Weintraub
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400852978
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A Note from the Author: On August 24, 2006, at the 26th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Prague, by a majority vote of only the 424 members present, the IAU (an organization of over 10,000 members) passed a resolution defining planet in such a way as to exclude Pluto and established a new class of objects in the solar system to be called "dwarf planets," which was deliberately designed to include Pluto. With the discovery of Eris (2003 UB313)--an outer solar system object thought to be both slightly larger than Pluto and twice as far from the Sun--astronomers have again been thrown into an age-old debate about what is and what is not a planet. One of many sizeable hunks of rock and ice in the Kuiper Belt, Eris has resisted easy classification and inspired much controversy over the definition of planethood. But, Pluto itself has been subject to controversy since its discovery in 1930, and questions over its status linger. Is it a planet? What exactly is a planet? Is Pluto a Planet? tells the story of how the meaning of the word "planet" has changed from antiquity to the present day, as new objects in our solar system have been discovered. In lively, thoroughly accessible prose, David Weintraub provides the historical, philosophical, and astronomical background that allows us to decide for ourselves whether Pluto is indeed a planet. The number of possible planets has ranged widely over the centuries, from five to seventeen. This book makes sense of it all--from the ancient Greeks' observation that some stars wander while others don't; to Copernicus, who made Earth a planet but rejected the Sun and the Moon; to the discoveries of comets, Uranus, Ceres, the asteroid belt, Neptune, Pluto, centaurs, the Kuiper Belt and Eris, and extrasolar planets. Weaving the history of our thinking about planets and cosmology into a single, remarkable story, Is Pluto a Planet? is for all those who seek a fuller understanding of the science surrounding both Pluto and the provocative recent discoveries in our outer solar system.

Lives of the Planets

Author: Richard Corfield
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465008429
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Lives of the Planets describes a scientific field in the midst of a revolution. Planetary science has mainly been a descriptive science, but it is becoming increasingly experimental. The space probes that went up between the 1960s and 1990s were primarily generalists-they collected massive amounts of information so that scientists could learn what questions to pursue. But recent missions have become more focused: Scientists know better what information they want and how to collect it. Even now probes are on their way to Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Pluto, with Europa-one of Jupiter’s moons-on the agenda. In a sweeping look into the manifold objects inhabiting the depths of space, Lives of the Planets delves into the mythology and the knowledge humanity has built over the ages. Placing our current understanding in historical context, Richard Corfield explores the seismic shifts in planetary astronomy and probes why we must change our perspective of our place in the universe. In our era of extraordinary discovery, this is the first comprehensive survey of this new understanding and the history of how we got here.

Life on Mars

Author: David A. Weintraub
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400889944
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The story of the search for life on Mars—and the moral issues confronting us as we prepare to send humans there Does life exist on Mars? The question has captivated humans for centuries, but today it has taken on new urgency. NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars orbit by the 2030s. SpaceX wants to go by 2024, while Mars One wants to land a permanent settlement there in 2032. As we gear up for missions like these, we have a responsibility to think deeply about what kinds of life may already inhabit the planet--and whether we have the right to invite ourselves in. This book tells the complete story of the quest to answer one of the most tantalizing questions in astronomy. But it is more than a history. Life on Mars explains what we need to know before we go. David Weintraub tells why, of all the celestial bodies in our solar system, Mars has beckoned to us the most. He traces how our ideas about life on Mars have been refined by landers and rovers, terrestrial and Mars-orbiting telescopes, spectroscopy, and even a Martian meteorite. He explores how finding DNA-based life on the Red Planet could offer clues about our distant evolutionary past, and grapples with the profound moral and ethical questions confronting us as we prepare to introduce an unpredictable new life form—ourselves—into the Martian biosphere. Life on Mars is also a book about how science is done—and undone—in the age of mass media. It shows how Mars mania has obscured our vision since we first turned our sights on the planet and encourages a healthy skepticism toward the media hype surrounding Mars as humanity prepares to venture forth.

The Outer Solar System

Author: Erik Gregersen Associate Editor, Astronomy and Space Exploration
Publisher: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc
ISBN: 1615300147
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Presents an introduction to the solar system, focusing on the Sun and the four planets furthest from it, along with information about Pluto, the Kuiper Belt, asteroids, meteors, and comets.

Pluto Confidential

Author: Stephen Maran
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
ISBN: 1935251856
Format: PDF, Docs
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When the International Astronomical Union adopted a new definition of a "planet" in August 2006, Pluto became a dwarf planet, drawing a divisive line in science and public opinions. The controversy of whether Pluto is a planet continues years later, and passion about the decision remains, pitting scientist against scientist and invoking sentiments and nostalgia from the rest of the world. With the IAU definition, the future of space objects is forever changed. Learn how this resolution came to be and what it means for astronomy, who implemented it and who is against it, and whether it's the first or millionth time the world's view of astronomy has rotated on its axis. Written by an astronomer and educator who voted for the IAU resolution--Laurence A. Marschall—and a NASA scientist who supported the opposing petition that resulted—Stephen P. Maran—Pluto Confidential leaves no perspective out and no asteroid unturned in the Pluto debate. A telescopic look inside the book: History of planetary disputes, including why Jupiter almost wasn't acknowledged What Bode's Law is and how it has influenced observations Who discovered Pluto and how it was named The Kuiper Belt and its role in what it means to be a planet Beyond Pluto and the eight distinguished planets From Astronomy Today: "Overall, this is a highly readable book which engages, without overpowering, the reader.… The authors' opposing views on Pluto's status in the final chapter provides a calm reasoned exploration of the arguments. This is a neat conclusion …”

How Old Is the Universe

Author: David A. Weintraub
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691147314
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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"Tells the story of how astronomers solved one of the most compelling mysteries in science and, along the way, introduces readers to fundamental concepts and cutting-edge advances in modern astronomy"--From publisher description.

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming

Author: Mike Brown
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
ISBN: 0385531109
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The astronomer who inadvertently triggered the "demotion" of Pluto in his effort to officially recognize the solar system's tenth planet describes the ensuing debates and public outcry while revealing the behind-the-scenes story of his discovery.

Pluto and Charon

Author: Alan Stern
Publisher: Wiley-VCH
ISBN:
Format: PDF, ePub
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The exploration of the ninth planet, Pluto, its moon, Charon, and their relationship to the newly discovered Kuiper Belt, is a tale of perseverance, ingenuity and dedication on the part of the planetary scientists who have been lured by the fascination of these far-flung miniature worlds. In Pluto and Charon, Alan Stern and Jacqueline Mitton turn that story into an entertaining adventure, starting with the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. In a highly accessible narrative, they bring to life the many 'Plutophiles', who with skill and resourcefulness have pieced together over several decades an amazingly detailed picture of the nature of Pluto and Charon. The book also documents vividly the struggle by Plutophiles and the public to persuade NASA to fund a mission to Pluto, the only planet not yet explored from close proximity by a spacecraft. Hopes were alternately raised and dashed before eventual victory. At last, New Horizons (led by author Stern as Principal Investigator) is due to be launched in early 2006 on a 9-year journey to Pluto, Charon and beyond. For this second edition, Stern and Mitton have brought their 1998 book fully up to date, including the latest discoveries about Pluto's ancient relationship with the members of the Kuiper Belt of icy bodies and dwarf planets beyond Neptune. They have also added a completely new chapter on the New Horizons mission.

The Solar System Jup Sat

Author: David G. Fisher
Publisher: Salem PressInc
ISBN: 9781587655326
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Covers 180 features of Earth's solar system, including every major body and phenomenon, offering detailed basic information on all major aspects.