Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System / Edition 2

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Rave reviews for Pluto and Charon 1/E: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System

"The story of the quest to understand Pluto and the resulting transformation of our concept of the diminutive planet from that of solar-system misfit to king of the Kuiper Belt is told in this book by Alan Stern and Jacqueline Mitton. Stern, a Plutophile to the core, is one of the most energetic, talented, and savvy planetary astronomers in the business today. Mitton, trained as an astronomer, is an experienced writer and editor of scientific books for nonscientists. Together they have created an immensely informative book . . . Written in an engaging and informal style, Pluto and Charon takes the reader step by step from the discovery of the ninth planet in 1930 to the current understanding of Pluto and its moon, Charon." - Sky & Telescope

"More than a book summarizing what we know about [the] planet, [Pluto and Charon is] about how far and how fast astronomical technology has come since 1965 . . . Stern and Mitton use the narrative of Pluto research to explain in comfortable, everyday language how such work is done . . . One of the nice touches in the book is that Stern and Mitton tell us something about each astronomer. - Astronomy

"Pluto and Charon presents the exploration of the ninth planet-written as a vivid historical account - for anyone with an interest in science and astronomy ... the authors describe in simple language the methods researchers use to explore the universe and the way ever-improving instrumentation helps their knowledge advance." - Physics Today

" engaging account of how we reached our current state of knowledge." Observatory

"In this new edition, excellent writer Mitton and productive NASA scientist Stern have significantly updated their book ... highly recommended."

"... contains a wealth of scientific findings about Pluto, Charon, and many other Kuiper Belt objects."
Sky & Telescope

"... an engaging account of how we reached our current state of knowledge."

"In this new edition, excellent writer Mitton and productive NASA scientist Stern have significantly updated their book...highly recommended."

"...contains a wealth of scientific findings about Pluto, Charon, and many other Kuiper Belt objects."
Sky & Telescope

"... this well-written, amply illustrated book serves as a useful, informative guide...will appeal to the specialist and non-specialist alike."
Applied Organometallic Chemistry

"...offers a useful and reasonably accessible guide to current knowledge of Pluto."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783527405565
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/23/2005
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

S. ALAN STERN, PhD, is a planetary scientist and astrophysicist with both observational and theoretical interests. Dr Stern is a pilot, a former NASA F-18 and WB-57 flight astronomer, and a principal and experienced research investigator in NASA's planetary research program. He was a finalist candidate to become a NASA Space Shuttle mission specialist. He is the Director of the Department of Space Studies of the Southwest Research Institute; the department is located in Boulder, Colorado. Dr Stern has published more than 170 technical papers and 30 popular articles. His research has primarily focused on studies of the satellites of the outer planets, Pluto, comets, the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt, and the formation and evolution of the outer solar system. Dr Stern has led instrument teams for several NASA planetary missions, for the Space Shuttle, and for airborne and suborbital rocket expeditions as well. He is the Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

JACQUELINE MITTON, PhD, lives in Cambridge, England and works as a writer and editor. She trained as an astronomer at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and has for many years concentrated on bringing astronomy to the general public. For 15 years she was Press Officer for the Royal Astronomical Society, making frequent contributions to radio and TV programs. She writes for both children and adults and has 23 previous books to her credit. Her recent titles include 'Once Upon a Starry Night' and 'Zodiac', (both for children), 'Lifting Titan's Veil' and 'The Cambridge Dictionary of Astronomy'.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Encounter!
Chapter 1: New Frontier
Chapter 2: First Facts
Chapter 3: A Distant Dance
Chapter 4: The Importance of Snow
Chapter 5: Building a Binary Planet
Chapter 6: Icefields and Ice Dwarfs
Chapter 7: Everest
Chapter 8: New Horizons
Chapter 9: Where No-one has Gone Before
Appendix: A Chronology of Major Events in the Exploration of Pluto and Charon
Suggested Reading

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