Pluto and Charon Wh: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System

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Overview

For five decades after its discovery in 1930, the planet Pluto remained an enigma. However, several events during the last two decades have helped to lift the veil of mystery surrounding the ninth planet. The discovery of its satellite, Charon, in 1978 permitted occultation observations that allowed scientists to determine the size of both bodies. Astronomers also detected the presence of an atmosphere, and the Hubble Space Telescope provided views in unprecedented detail. In addition to these two fortuitous events, advances in telescopic instrumentation and computational methods led to exciting observational and theoretical discoveries. This new Space Sciences Series volume focuses on the scientific issues associated with Pluto and Charon. Fifty collaborating authors here review the latest research on the Pluto-Charon binary, from bulk properties, surfaces and interiors to atmospheric structure, composition, and dynamics. They also provide historical perspectives on Pluto-Charon research and discuss the population of the trans-Neptunian region and the origin of the Pluto-Charon binary. Also included are prefatory remarks by Pluto's and Charon's discoverers, Clyde Tombaugh and James Christy. This volume offers the most comprehensive available compendium of research work for understanding these far off members of our solar system, just at a time following dramatic developments in our knowledge but before that knowledge can be advanced by spacecraft missions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816518401
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1997
  • Series: Space Science Series
  • Pages: 728
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

ALAN STERN, PhD, is a planetary scientist and astrophysicist with both observational and theoretical interests. Dr. Stern is an avid pilot and a principal investigator in NASA's planetary research program, and he was a finalist candidate to become a NASA space shuttle mission specialist. He is the leader of the Southwest Research Institute's Geophysical, Astrophysical, and Planetary Science group, located in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Stern has published more than 110 technical papers and 20 popular articles. His research has focused on studies of the satellites of the outer planets, Pluto, comets, the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt, and the search for evidence of solar systems around other stars.
JACQUELINE MITTON, PhD, lives and works in Cambridge, England. She trained as an astronomer at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and has for many years concentrated on bringing astronomy to the general public, mainly as a writer, and through the media in her role as Public Relations Officer for the Royal Astronomical Society. She is a former editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association and the author, coauthor, or contributing editor of 12 previous books, including The Penguin Dictionary of Astronomy, Gems of Hubble, and The Great Comet Crash.
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Table of Contents

1 New frontier 1
2 First facts 27
3 A distant dance 59
4 The importance of snow 93
5 Building a binary planet 127
6 Ice fields and ice dwarfs 153
7 Everest 177
8 New horizons 211
9 Where no one has gone before 229
App A chronology of major events in the exploration of Pluto 233
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