Exoplanets: Finding, Exploring, and Understanding Alien Worlds

Springer Science & Business Media
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Exoplanets: Finding, Exploring, and Understanding Alien Worlds probes the basis for possible answers to the fundamentals questions asked about these planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. This book examines what such planets might be like, where they are, and how we find them.

Until around ten years ago, the only planets that we knew about were within the Solar System. The first genuine planet beyond the confines of the Solar System was discovered only 1988. Since then another 350 or so exoplanets have been detected by various methods, and most of these haven been found in the last ten years. Although many more exoplanets discoveries may be expected to occur even as this book is being read, a large enough data set is now available to form the basis for an informed general account of exoplanets.

The topic hence is an extremely "hot" one - all the more so because the recently launched Kepler spacecraft should soon start uncovering many more exoplanets, some perhaps comparable with the Earth (and therefore possibly alternative homes for mankind, if we could ever reach them). Exoplanets: Finding, Exploring, and Understanding Alien Life gives a comprehensive, balances, and above all accurate account of exoplanets.

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About the author

Chris Kitchin has written or contributed to over two dozen books, and has published more than 500 articles in the astronomical journals and magazines. He also appears regularly on television, including many appearances on BBC TV's Sky at Night. His works for Springer includes, A Photo Guide to the Constellations: A Self-Teaching Guide to Finding Your Way Around the Heavens (1997), Solar Observing Techniques (2001), Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Astronomy (2002), and most recently Galaxies in Turmoil (2007). In his 'day job' Chris is Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Hertfordshire, where until recently he was also Head of Physics and Astronomy, and Director of the University Observatory. Like many other astronomers Chris's interest in the subject started early. At the age of fourteen, he constructed an 8-inch Newtonian after spending hundreds of hours grinding and polishing the main mirror from scratch. Despite using some of the largest telescopes in the world since then, Chris still enjoys just 'gazing at the heavens' - though nowadays it's through a German-made Zeiss Maksutov telescope.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 2, 2011
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Pages
281
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ISBN
9781461406440
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Sky Observation
Science / Astronomy
Science / Earth Sciences / Geology
Science / Physics / Astrophysics
Technology & Engineering / Aeronautics & Astronautics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The "water" in many places in our Solar System is a poisoned brew mixed with ammonia or methane. Even that found on Jupiter's watery satellite Europa is believed similar to battery acid. Beyond the Galilean satellites may lie even more "alien oceans." Saturn's planet-sized moon Titan seems to be subject to methane or ethane rainfall. This creates methane pools that, in turn, become vast lakes and, perhaps, seasonal oceans. Titan has other seas in a sense, as large shifting areas of sand covering vast plains have been discovered. Mars also has these sand seas, and Venus may as well, along with oceans of frozen lava. Do super-chilled concoctions of ammonia, liquid nitrogen, and water percolate beneath the surfaces of Enceladus and Triton? For now we can only guess at the possibilities.

'Alien Seas' serves up part history, part current research, and part theory as it offers a rich buffet of "seas" on other worlds. It is organized by location and by the material of which various oceans consist, with guest authors penning specific chapters. Each chapter features new original art depicting alien seas, as well as the latest ground-based and spacecraft images. Original diagrams presents details of planetary oceans and related processes.
Astronomers' Universe Series

The aim of this book is to provide an up-to-date account of active galaxies that is appropriate to the background knowledge of amateur astronomers, but might also be picked-up and read for interest by any reader with a scientific bent.

Active galaxies (including Quasars, QSOs, Radio galaxies, BL Lacs, Blazars, LINERS, ULIRGS, Seyfert galaxies, Starburst galaxies, N galaxies, etc.) are a major field of current astronomical research. Up to a fifth of all research astronomers are working on active galaxies. Huge amounts of time on major telescopes are devoted to their study. In almost all cases the galaxies are thought to be powered by 100 million solar mass black holes at their centres.

Some of the objects are bright enough to be seen in small telescopes, and an amateur astronomer with a 20 cm telescope and a CCD detector could obtain images of many more. Lists of such objects, and their visual and imaged appearance in commercially available telescopes are an important component of this book. This detailed but accessible work will be the only coherent and complete source of information for non-technical readers on an area of astronomy that fascinates many people and whose spectacular images from the Hubble space telescope, Gemini, VLT and other major telescopes frequently make the pages of the quality newspapers and occasionally appear on TV.

It also has the potential to be chosen as a set text or background reading for university courses on the subject, althought he writing style is such that it will appeal to all readers.

“Telescopes and Techniques” has proved itself in its first edition, having become probably one of the most widely used astronomy texts, both for numerate amateur astronomers and for astronomy and astrophysics undergraduates. The first and second editions of the book were widely used as set texts for introductory practical astronomy courses in many universities.

This book guides the reader through the mathematics, physics and practical techniques needed to use telescopes (from small amateur models to the larger instruments installed in many colleges) and to observe objects in the sky. Mathematics to around Advanced Placement standard (US) or A level (UK) is assumed, although High School Diploma (US) or GCSE-level (UK) mathematics plus some basic trigonometry will suffice most of the time. Most of the physics and engineering involved is described fully and requires no prior knowledge or experience.

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