The Hunt for Planet X: New Worlds and the Fate of Pluto

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Springer Science & Business Media, Jan 24, 2010 - Science - 281 pages

Ever since the serendipitous discovery of planet Uranus in 1871, astronomers have been hunting for new worlds in the outer regions of our solar system. This exciting and ongoing quest culminated recently in the discovery of hundreds of ice dwarfs in the Kuiper belt, robbed Pluto from its ‘planet’ status, and led to a better understanding of the origin of the solar system.

This timely book reads like a scientific ‘who done it’, going from the heights of discovery to the depths of disappointment in the hunt for ‘Planet X’. Based on many personal interviews with astronomers, the well-known science writer Govert Schilling introduces the heroes in the race to be the first in finding another world, bigger than Pluto.

 

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Contents

A Larger Solar System
1
Eleven Planets
11
The Writing Desk Planet
19
Ive Found Your Planet X
29
The Kid Planet
39
A Strange and Wonderful Week
47
Fortunate Circumstances
55
Nix and Hydra
65
The Migrating Planet
165
Icy Treasure Troves
175
The Big Five
183
The Tenth Planet
195
The Spanish Invasion
205
Pas de deux
217
Model from Nice
225
Planet Under Siege
235

The Unauthorized Planet
75
Problem Solved?
85
Mysterious Forces
93
The Hunt for the Death Star
101
The Secret Planet
111
Vulcanoids and EarthGrazers
119
The Kuiper Connection
127
Comet Puzzles
135
Smiley
145
Family Portraits
155
Planetary Elections
245
The Continuing Story
255
A Thousand Planets
265
New Horizons
275
Chronology
285
Glossary of terms
291
Bibliography
295
Index
297
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Govert Schilling is an internationally acclaimed astronomy journalist and writer. He is a regular contributor to "New Scientist, ""Sky & Telescope", and "Sky at Night". In 2007, asteroid 10986 was named Govert in his honor by the International Astronomical Union. He lives in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

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