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Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System [Hardcover]

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Item description for Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System by Alan Stern & Jacqueline Mitton...

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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Item Specifications...

Pages   244
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Dec 23, 2005
Publisher   Wiley-VCH
ISBN  3527405569  
ISBN13  9783527405565  

Availability  0 units.

More About Alan Stern & Jacqueline Mitton

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Alan Stern was born in 1957 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > Formats
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Sciences > Astronomy
3Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Astronomy > Astronomy
4Books > Subjects > Science > Astronomy > Astronomy
5Books > Subjects > Science > General
6Books > Subjects > Science > Physics

Reviews - What do customers think about Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System?

Small, dark, cold and very exciting  Feb 21, 2008

As a resident of a small, dark, cold and remote place in Arctic Alaska, I join many of our 4,200 residents in protesting the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status.
This book shows that as we explore the outer regions of the solar system, we are finding so much more than rock-solid, unchanging frozen outposts.
Even before the New Horizons spacecraft reaches Pluto/Charon in 2015, the authors carefully summarize decades of precise science to learn a lot about this dynamic system
We already know that Pluto has an atmosphere, and may resemble Neptune's surprisingly active moon Triton, which has ice geysers, long vapor and dust trails and evidence of a changing surface.
We learn about the hard work, and frequent frustration as astronomers travel around the world to find vantage points when Charon passes in front of Pluto, or Pluto passes in front of a star.
Imagine the challenges of observing such motions of small bodies more than 3 billion miles away!
Get the book, keep it close, and we will all get ready for New Horizons to finally give us a close up view of this fantastic planet and moon
An.McCracken is a fake. REPORT THIS  Aug 12, 2006

The reviewer below - An.McCracken - is a fake. He reviews countless books each day but he does not read the books, just paraphrases other people's reviews. REPORT THIS TO this site. Click on (Report this) link under the review, next to the voting buttons.
Very pedantic tomb about two worthless pieces of ice  Jan 13, 2006
The author and New Horizons Principal Investigator, Alan Stern, is obviously excited (i.e. worse than a creationist zealot) about Pluto and Charon. But he doesn't fairly tackle the other side of the debate: who really cares? Yes, scientists can make up reasons why the American government should waste millions of dollars to send a spacecraft to Pluto, Charon, and the Kuiper Belt, but what startling science will be advanced by two pieces of ice that we already have a pretty good understanding of after Voyager 2's trip past Neptune's moon Triton in 1989? Even if we lack a fundamental understanding of so-called ice dwarf class planets, is the extraordinary cost really worth the benefit? Any scientist will admit that it is extremely unlikely that we will find life on Pluto or Charon. Can we finally solve the debate about whether Pluto is a planet or a KBO? Wow. What a great use of over $700 million. I think that Stern and other Planetary Society members need to focus on more important, and less selfish, world problems, such as genocide and starvation in Somalia or Al Qaeda. Or at the very least, spend the money on a worthy objective, such as sending another craft to Jupiter's moon Europa, a place where we might actually find life.
You want to become a Plutophile?  Oct 30, 2001
If you don't know much about the "King of the Kuiper Belt", read this book, and you will have a very clear scientific description of this "massive comet"...

This book is complete, starting from the historic discovery (blind luck, really) of Pluto, the subsequent observations that kept on shrinking the planet, then the suprising discovery of Charon, the fortuitious Pluto/Charon occultation, and the latest HST results.

Easy to read, and yet technical enough, this book will probably make you love this planet, even though it's only a big comet saved from destruction by its orbital resonance with Neptune... and will make you hate NASA (or the US Congress) for not going forward with their Pluto Express probe.

A good introduction to the ninth planet  Sep 5, 2001
This book is a well-written and enjoyable summary of what we know about Pluto and its relatively huge moon Charon. However, the fact of the matter is we don't know much because we have yet to send a spacecraft to this fascinating double planet! Stern and Mitton do a great job presenting the timeline of our discoveries about Pluto as well as the latest theories on the compositions and origin of these bodies.

I was especially impressed with the discussion of Pluto's atmosphere changing as a result of the planet's greatly elliptical orbit around the Sun. In addition, the authors give a great detailed breakdown of the discoveries gleaned from the mutual occultations in the late 80s. Also, this book was written several years ago but we have since indeed found many more Kuiper Belt objects that lend great credibility to the theory of Pluto simply being one of the largest of that family.

Too much time was spent on describing the birth and continuing struggles of the Pluto Express project. This discussion would have been more appropriate if the spacecraft had even launched, let alone successfully completed its mission. But the fact is that NASA's funding issues have kept the project grounded for now. Hopefully it'll fly in the next couple years. If it doesn't, much of the mission may be compromised because Pluto is getting farther from the Sun each day and as a result its atmospheric activity is dying.

Overall a great effort and worth your time. Don't expect incredible revelations and photographs though, because we still have yet to visit the place!


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