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Pluto: Sentinel of the Outer Solar System 1st Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521194365
ISBN-10: 1107024943
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Pluto: Sentinel of the Outer Solar System + Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System, 2nd Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Pluto’s demotion from planetary status is chronicled in David Weintraub’s Is Pluto a Planet? (2007); nonetheless, Pluto remains an interesting sphere of study as one of the largest known Kuiper Belt objects that orbit beyond Neptune. What scientists know at present about Pluto, and how they know it, is the subject of this compendium by Jones, an astronomy professor in Britain. After a historical run-through of Pluto’s bruited existence and actual discovery in 1930, he delivers a fascinating presentation of how facts have been compiled since, extending the Plutonic database to include a crude map of its surface, the composition and temperature of its atmosphere, and orbital dynamics. Big boosts to in-depth understanding of methods in research are Jones’ sidebars about relevant equations in gravitational or spectral analysis, none of which require math skills beyond high-school algebra. Concluding with a description of the spacecraft presently en route to Pluto, Jones’ work will be the most informative for a curious general audience until New Horizons encounters Pluto and its three satellites in 2015. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

"The author writes in a clear, matter-of-fact style, including sidebars on related subjects from Kepler's laws of planetary motion to calculating a planet's surface temperature using nothing more complex than high school algebra. Jones's thorough approach offers popular science readers pretty much everything known about mysterious Pluto...." - Publishers Weekly

"All in all an excellent book which includes some Figures reproduced in colour and archive-quality paper − thoroughly recommended to all those wishing to read up about Pluto ahead of the New Horizons encounter with the 'planet'." Richard Miles, J. Br. Astron. Assoc.

"Presented in a style that gives the feel of a friendly uncle telling stories over coffee at the dinner table. It is a most relaxing and enjoyable read...this book strikes me as a perfect gift for a young teenager with an interest in space." - Brother Guy Consolmagno, Meteoritics & Planetary Science Journal

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (October 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107024943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521194365
  • ASIN: 0521194369
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F. Baker on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely incredible. The author takes you on a historical trip from the initial discovery of the solar system's outer members (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) to the gathering of a fantastic amount of information that has been learned about Pluto from telescopic observation, and he does so without snowing you, explaining each step in detail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thomas G. Haeberle on January 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In this book Jones explores the assortment of bodies at the end of the Solar System and describes its most significant member. No, this is nothing like Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson's book, "the Pluto File" a humorous look at his plight with Pluto and the public's perception about the planet that is not. This book takes the subject of Dwarf planets and their kin very seriously. The book is intelligently crafted and full of facts with exceptional charts and figures.
There is a quick run through of historical events about discovery; included David Jewitts and Jane Luu's discovery of 1992 QB1, the object that fulfilled the prophecy of Kenneth Edgeworth and Gerard Kuiper. Jones confesses to not liking the term Kuiper Belt objects because it robs Edgeworth of his contribution of their existence; yet, in order to abbreviate, he elects to use the term KBO's anyway because of its popularity.
The book ends rather dull in the chapter: Gateway and beyond. I was hoping for a more exciting possibility for the rejected planet, but the author concludes that Pluto would not make a useful launch platform to the stars after all; except maybe for "plutonauts" to erect a large robotic telescope that can be remotely operated after humans have left.
The "further reading" section lists key scientific papers, books, internet links and magazines that enable readers to explore various topics in greater detail. Despite the demotion of Pluto, Jones shows it still and always will remain an interesting study of one of the largest known objects that orbit beyond Neptune.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a terrific way of understanding everthing about the ninth body in our solar system. In the 1960's classrooms we were taught that our solar system had nine planets. The recent declassification of Pluto doesn't bother me at all. It's a moot point. Moot because it's simply semantics, our way of trying to understand objects in space by classifying them. Still, these objects ARE what they've always been regardless of our efforts to separate them into understandable notions. The far more important thing is the details of the objects themselves. Those details are in this book. It will be interesting to see if this book is updated now that New Horizons has actually seen Pluto, Charon, Nix, Hydra, and now, the other two bodies in the Pluto system. I'm so pleased that in my lifetime we have finally visited all nine planets. Yes, in my mind it's a planet. We now know Pluto has it's own beautiful colorization, reddish like Mars but really a more subtle hue more like human skin tones, the "heart" being caucasian. What a sight! With an unthinkable young uncratered terrain. The far side of Pluto not visible in New Horizon's closest approach appearing forboding, almost like a vision out of an H.P. Lovecraft horror tale than a planetary photo, and the near side with of all things, a heart shaped, light colored plain. A reading of this book will give one all the backgroung information needed to add to the new information coming from the science team behind the New Horizons mission!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book; I am one "of THOSE people" who still bemoans the loss of our ninth planet's major status, and its reclassification to the minor league by popular and arbitrary vote. Jones gives a good treatment of the subject and gave me insight into how subjective the entire process of scientific classification can be. This was an easy read for "Plutophiles" and Neil deGrasse Tyson types alike.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely the best book on Pluto available. Written for the layman, it has technical discussions separated by boxes. Jones cove basic astronomy, discovery of the out planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), detailr
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