Planet Hunter: Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths

Overview

He has discovered more planets than anyone in history. In this inspiring true story, winner of the American Institute of Physics Award, Geoff Marcy's love of space helped him overcome struggles in his studies until finally he became an astronomer. But he was not on track to make major discoveries. Eventually, he went back to the questions that thrilled him as a boy: Are we alone? Do Earth-like planets orbit the stars in the night sky? It would not be easy to find a planet outside our solar system. Others had ...

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Overview

He has discovered more planets than anyone in history. In this inspiring true story, winner of the American Institute of Physics Award, Geoff Marcy's love of space helped him overcome struggles in his studies until finally he became an astronomer. But he was not on track to make major discoveries. Eventually, he went back to the questions that thrilled him as a boy: Are we alone? Do Earth-like planets orbit the stars in the night sky? It would not be easy to find a planet outside our solar system. Others had tried and failed. But Marcy never gave up. Since 1995, he and his colleagues have discovered nearly half of the 380 known "extrasolar" planets. Stunning paintings transport the reader to the exotic worlds that he and others have found.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—The profound thrill of searching for (and finding!) planets orbiting stars other than our own is deftly captured in this profile of Geoff Marcy, one of the great hunt's most successful practitioners. Matched to big, sharp color photos of scientists (mostly) at work and compelling speculative views of exotic suns and landscapes, Wittenstein's matter-of-fact narrative first introduces readers to Marcy and his team on the night shift (what else?) at the W. M. Keck Observatory atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea. The author goes on to describe in exact, lucid detail the indirect but ingenious techniques, particularly Doppler spectrometry, that he and other scientists use to locate extrasolar planets, and then to deduce their orbits, compositions, and even internal structures. These are glory days for planet hunters, and this handsomely packaged introduction is just the ticket for turning earthbound (for now) children into budding skywatchers.—John Peters, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
On an inhospitable Hawaiian mountaintop, using one of the most powerful optical telescopes in the world, astronomer Dr. Geoffrey Marcy and others search for planets outside our solar system. When the first one was discovered in 1995, he and his team corroborated the discovery; since then they have found nearly half the 400 planets identified so far, using methods they developed. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, diagrams and artists' renderings, this description of a scientist's work concentrates on this relatively new branch of astronomy. Debut author Wittenstein includes chapters on Marcy's background and preparation, the techniques he and others use and the history of extrasolar planet discovery. Sidebars and full-page explanations, set off by a differently colored background, introduce other scientists in this field and define and explain important concepts and parallel investigations. The author's explanations are clear, well organized and interestingly written with plenty of quotations from the scientists, but the material is not simple. An extensive bibliography provides books and websites for middle- and high-school readers as well as their teachers. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590785928
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,512,170
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1080L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Vicki Oransky Wittenstein has written articles for Highlights for Children, Odyssey, Faces, and The Best of the Children’s Market (2000). Her writing has been recognized by the Association of Educational Publishers and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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