- Hardcover: 257 pages
- Publisher: Wiley-VCH; 2 edition (October 28, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3527405569
- ISBN-13: 978-3527405565
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,496,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System, 2nd Edition Hardcover – October 28, 2005
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Rave reviews for Pluto and Charon 1/E: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System
"The story of the quest to understand Pluto and the resulting transformation of our concept of the diminutive planet from that of solar-system misfit to king of the Kuiper Belt is told in this book by Alan Stern and Jacqueline Mitton. Stern, a Plutophile to the core, is one of the most energetic, talented, and savvy planetary astronomers in the business today. Mitton, trained as an astronomer, is an experienced writer and editor of scientific books for nonscientists. Together they have created an immensely informative book . . . Written in an engaging and informal style, Pluto and Charon takes the reader step by step from the discovery of the ninth planet in 1930 to the current understanding of Pluto and its moon, Charon." - Sky & Telescope
"More than a book summarizing what we know about [the] planet, [Pluto and Charon is] about how far and how fast astronomical technology has come since 1965 . . . Stern and Mitton use the narrative of Pluto research to explain in comfortable, everyday language how such work is done . . . One of the nice touches in the book is that Stern and Mitton tell us something about each astronomer. - Astronomy
"Pluto and Charon presents the exploration of the ninth planet-written as a vivid historical account - for anyone with an interest in science and astronomy ... the authors describe in simple language the methods researchers use to explore the universe and the way ever-improving instrumentation helps their knowledge advance." - Physics Today
"...an engaging account of how we reached our current state of knowledge." Observatory
"In this new edition, excellent writer Mitton and productive NASA scientist Stern have significantly updated their book ... highly recommended."
"... contains a wealth of scientific findings about Pluto, Charon, and many other Kuiper Belt objects."
Sky & Telescope
"... an engaging account of how we reached our current state of knowledge."
"In this new edition, excellent writer Mitton and productive NASA scientist Stern have significantly updated their book...highly recommended."
"...contains a wealth of scientific findings about Pluto, Charon, and many other Kuiper Belt objects."
Sky & Telescope
"... this well-written, amply illustrated book serves as a useful, informative guide...will appeal to the specialist and non-specialist alike."
Applied Organometallic Chemistry
"...offers a useful and reasonably accessible guide to current knowledge of Pluto." www.satellite-evolution.com
From the Back Cover
The exploration of Pluto and its moon, Charon, is a tale of perseverance and ingenuity on the part of the planetary scientists who have been lured by the fascination of these far-flung miniature worlds. In their book, Stern and Mitton turn that story into and entertaining adventure, starting with the discovery of Pluto in 1930. In a highly accessible narrative, they bring to life the many Pluto researchers (“Plutophiles”), who with skills 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 to persuade NASA to fund the first mission to Pluto, At last, New Horizons (led by author Stern and Principal Investigator) is due to be launched in early 2006 on a 9-year journey to Pluto, Charon and beyond.For the 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
Top customer reviews
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I'm doing a review of this book not my views of new spending of taxpayers money for Pluto probes.
I read Clyde Tombaugh Discover of Planet Pluto (Sky and Telescope observers series) and really liked it as an introduction of Pluto and Clyde Tombaugh. 5 stars see my review. That book got me interested to learn a little more about Pluto. Moon Charon was a pleasant extra.I wanted to reach a mid level understanding of Pluto and Pluto and Charon by Alan Stern and Jacqeline Mitton does that very well.
There is no heavy math in the book. The authors do a great job of keeping the book light, crisp and interesting without getting clogged down with heavy math. There are nice pictures of the various scientists and administrators through the years of different parts of Pluto and then Charon discovery. The book is laid out in a well documented time table of discovery. We learn why it took decades after Clyde Tombaugh's discovery of Pluto get more information and details of Pluto. We just didn't have the technology then.
We see increasingly more sophisticated technology invented and the use of better instruments through the decades.
Its extremely difficult to get an image of Pluto. Even with a huge 200 inch scope we still have to fight the atmosphere and "seeing", plus the disadvantage of Pluto being so far away.
Now we have CCD cameras with multi mega pixel resolution and the Hubble telescope, plus now we have huge radio telescopes. Years back there was just crude photographic plates.
We learn how moon Charon was discovered and how the size of Pluto and Charon were obtained as well as the extremely weak atmosphere of Pluto. We see how the atmosphere changes as Pluto gets closest to the sun and farthest away ( Pluto has a gigantic elliptical orbit). Even so its extremely cold only 40 to 70 degrees K above absolute zero.
We learn why Pluto has such a high brightness reflection percentage and Charon not as much. We learn Pluto is laying on its side even more so than Uranus. I found it very interesting them confirming their findings of Pluto having an extremely weak atmosphere by observing Pluto occluding a star. Fascinating stuff. Spectral analysis of Pluto is also used.
We see the 3 theories of Pluto's creation more or less disproved and the major theory of a large impact by a large body helped create Charon. Its incredible that Charon is almost half the size of Pluto and they are in effect binary worlds.
Also the discovery that there hundreds perhaps thousands of small bodies between Neptune and Pluto and hundreds of thousands in the Oort cloud way past Pluto. So we learn Pluto has many tiny sisters. Much more is discussed and presented in the book in a logical orderly way.
This book got me to a mid level knowledge level and appreciation of Pluto and Charon and the various scientists that gave so much time and effort exploring and getting data on such a difficult planet and moon. Hats off to them! Thanks Alan and Jacquelin for getting me up to speed on Pluto and Charon. I'm sure much more will be learned in the future. 5 stars
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!
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 thoroughly enjoyable easy-to-read book. More hard science/discovery books should be written this way.
It's not just the facts that are amazing but the proven-wrong theories we use to have on Pluto. Too bad we're still waiting for our first encounter with this mysterious planet. If history proves right, the Voyager probes were just another step in our discovering the 'real' solar system.