Looking for Earths: The Race to Find New Solar Systems

Overview

The ultimate insider's account of astronomy's fantastic voyage in search of brave new worlds in faraway galaxies

"Highly recommended." -Science and Technology

"Full of humor, heartbreak, and a deep understanding of the ardor and luck that compose years of research. . . . The reader becomes not merely a receiver of Boss's vision, but a fellow explorer." -Astronomy

"A rewarding account." -Scientific American

Are we alone in the universe . . . or are there other planets generating ...

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Overview

The ultimate insider's account of astronomy's fantastic voyage in search of brave new worlds in faraway galaxies

"Highly recommended." -Science and Technology

"Full of humor, heartbreak, and a deep understanding of the ardor and luck that compose years of research. . . . The reader becomes not merely a receiver of Boss's vision, but a fellow explorer." -Astronomy

"A rewarding account." -Scientific American

Are we alone in the universe . . . or are there other planets generating and sustaining life? The question may be as old as civilization, but in the twilight of a century marked by countless frustrated quests to find other solar systems, several teams of pioneering astronomers have at last discovered a rich crop of mammoth, Jupiter-sized gas planets -the first compelling evidence that there may indeed be life in other galaxies.

In Looking for Earths, a prominent planetary scientist takes us along on this thrilling hunt for new life, revealing the behind-the-scenes stories of scientific determination, frustration, and triumph. Ushering us to the mountaintop observatories that house the world's most powerful telescopes, and into the tension-filled scientific meetings where new results are announced and old results overturned, Alan Boss brings the process of exploration vividly alive. Experience the roller-coaster ride as intricate observations of minuscule stellar wobbles raise hopes that at last a true planet has been found, only to be almost immediately shattered by more powerful observations. Boss also introduces the principal players whose dreams defied all odds and made the first major discovery possible.

Like no other book, Looking for Earths captures the lively tension between theory and observation that defines cutting-edge astronomical discovery, along with the heated battles that will determine the direction of big-ticket American astronomy for years to come.

"You will find no better introduction to one of the truly revolutionary developments in modern astronomy."-Natural History

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As an historical account of the long history of planet finding it is very good, and if you also want a detailed account of the workings of NASA committees then it is ideal." (Chemistry in Britain, November 2000)
Scientific American
Boss traces the story chronologically, telling it from the viewpoint of an astrophysicist and incidentally providing a rewarding account of how astronomers and astrophysicists do their work.
Times Higher Educational Supplement
...an excellent primer for the discoveries that are to come over the next decade.
Chemistry in Britain
As an historical account of the long history of planet finding it is very good, and if you also want a detailed account of the workings of NASA committees then it is ideal.
Booknews
A popular science treatment of the personalities, projects, and theories, that have gone into the continuing attempt to find planetary-size objects orbiting nearby stars. The story is told chronologically from Peter van der Kamp's 1963 announcement of a planet orbiting Barnard's star to the 1996-97 confirmed discoveries of a number of planets. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471379119
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

ALAN BOSS is a research scientist and NASA adviser at the prestigious Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., and has long been one of the world?s leading figures in the search for extrasolar planets. His gift for clarifying complex scientific issues for a lay audience has led to articles in Scientific American, Nature, and Physics Today. He has also been quoted regularly in front-page articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as in Time.
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Table of Contents

Barnard's Remarkable Star.

Other Stars, Other Planets.

Barnard's Star Changes Its Course.

Making Planets for Fun and Profit.

I Thought I Saw a Brown Dwarf Last Night.

We Know You Are Out There...

...And We Are Coming to Get You.

Brown Dwarfs by the Handful.

A Fresh Start.

Who Ordered THAT?

The Battle of Palomar Mountain.

The Road Goes Ever On and On.

The Swiss Hit.

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