The past few years have seen an incredible explosion in our knowledge of the universe. Since its 2009 launch, the Kepler satellite has discovered more than two thousand exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. More exoplanets are being discovered all the time, and even more remarkable than the sheer number of exoplanets is their variety. In Exoplanets, astronomer Michael Summers and physicist James Trefil explore these remarkable recent discoveries: planets revolving around pulsars, planets made of diamond, planets that are mostly water, and numerous rogue planets wandering through the emptiness of space. This captivating book reveals the latest discoveries and argues that the incredible richness and complexity we are finding necessitates a change in our questions and mental paradigms. In short, we have to change how we think about the universe and our place in it, because it is stranger and more interesting than we could have imagined.
Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life beyond Our Solar System
Author: Michael E. Summers,James Trefil
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
For the first time in human history, we know for certain the existence of planets around other stars. Now the fastest-growing field in space science, the time is right for this fundamental source book on the topic which will lay the foundation for its continued growth. Exoplanets serves as both an introduction for the non-specialist and a foundation for the techniques and equations used in exoplanet observation by those dedicated to the field.
Author: Sara Seager
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
An unprecedented number of planets outside of the solar system have been found, with an explosion in the number of discoveries in recent years. Find out what has been happening in this rapidly advancing arena of human exploration, what these extrasolar planets are like, and why some traditional ideas face being thrown out.
Author: Tahir Yaqoob
Publisher: New Earth Labs
Over the past twenty years, astronomers have identified hundreds of extrasolar planets--planets orbiting stars other than the sun. Recent research in this burgeoning field has made it possible to observe and measure the atmospheres of these exoplanets. This is the first textbook to describe the basic physical processes--including radiative transfer, molecular absorption, and chemical processes--common to all planetary atmospheres, as well as the transit, eclipse, and thermal phase variation observations that are unique to exoplanets. In each chapter, Sara Seager offers a conceptual introduction, examples that combine the relevant physics equations with real data, and exercises. Topics range from foundational knowledge, such as the origin of atmospheric composition and planetary spectra, to more advanced concepts, such as solutions to the radiative transfer equation, polarization, and molecular and condensate opacities. Since planets vary widely in their atmospheric properties, Seager emphasizes the major physical processes that govern all planetary atmospheres. Moving from first principles to cutting-edge research, Exoplanet Atmospheres is an ideal resource for students and researchers in astronomy and earth sciences, one that will help prepare them for the next generation of planetary science. The first textbook to describe exoplanet atmospheres Illustrates concepts using examples grounded in real data Provides a step-by-step guide to understanding the structure and emergent spectrum of a planetary atmosphere Includes exercises for students
Author: Sara Seager
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Twenty years ago, the search for planets outside the Solar System was a job restricted to science-fiction writers. Now it's one of the fastest-growing fields in astronomy with thousands of exoplanets discovered to date, and the number is rising fast. These new-found worlds are more alien than anything in fiction. Planets larger than Jupiter with years lasting a week; others with two suns lighting their skies, or with no sun at all. Planets with diamond mantles supporting oceans of tar; possible Earth-sized worlds with split hemispheres of perpetual day and night; waterworlds drowning under global oceans and volcanic lava planets awash with seas of magma. The discovery of this diversity is just the beginning. There is a whole galaxy of possibilities. The Planet Factory tells the story of these exoplanets. Each planetary system is different, but in the beginning most if not all young stars are circled by clouds of dust, specks that come together in a violent building project that can form colossal worlds hundreds of times the size of the Earth. The changing orbits of young planets risk dooming any life evolving on neighbouring worlds or, alternatively, can deliver the key ingredients needed to seed its beginnings. Planet formation is one of the greatest construction schemes in the Universe, and it occurred around nearly every star you see. Each results in an alien landscape, but is it possible that one of these could be like our own home world?
Exoplanets and the Search for a Second Earth
Author: Elizabeth Tasker
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Until the mid-1990s, scientists only guessed that the universe held exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system. But using advanced physics and powerful telescopes, scientists have since identified more than three thousand exoplanets. This work has revealed fascinating worlds, including a planet that oozes lavalike fluids and a planet that glows bright pink. Even more fascinating, scientists think that some exoplanets might contain life. Many orbit in the Goldilocks zone, the region around a star that's not too hot or too cold for liquid water, a key ingredient for life. This book examines exoplanets, the possibilities for life beyond Earth, and the cutting-edge technologies scientists use to learn about distant worlds.
Worlds beyond Our Solar System
Author: Karen Latchana Kenney
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books
Category: Young Adult Nonfiction
The twentieth century gave us two great theories of physics. The general theory of relativity describes the behavior of very large things, and quantum theory the behavior of very small things. In this landmark book, John Gribbin—one of the best-known science writers of the past thirty years—presents his own version of the Holy Grail of physics, the search that has been going on for decades to find a unified “Theory of Everything” that combines these ideas into one mathematical package, a single equation that could be printed on a T-shirt, containing the answer to life, the Universe, and everything. With his inimitable mixture of science, history, and biography, Gribbin shows how—despite skepticism among many physicists—these two great theories are very compatible, and point to a deep truth about the nature of our existence. The answer lies, intriguingly, with the age of the universe: 13.8 billion years.
The Quest to Find the True Age of the Universe and the Theory of Everything
Author: John Gribbin
Publisher: Yale University Press
Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon explores the farthest reaches of space in the brand-new Exoplanets! There are thousands of exoplanets scattered throughout the Milky Way galaxy, and scientists are on a constant quest to find one just like Earth. In Exoplanets, Simon examines the planets outside of our solar system and uncovers what makes them habitable, our efforts to discover new life, and more. With clear, simple text and stunning full-color photographs, readers will explore the farthest reaches of space and explore the answer to the question: do aliens exist? This book includes an author's note, a glossary, an index, and supports the Common Core State Standards.
Author: Seymour Simon
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction
A complete and in-depth review of exoplanet research, covering the discovery methods, physics and theoretical background.
Author: Michael Perryman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Astronomers are on the verge of answering one of our most profound questions: are we alone in the universe? The ability to detect life in remote solar systems is at last within sight, and its discovery—even if only in microbial form—would revolutionize our self-image. Planet Hunters is the rollicking tale of the search for extraterrestrial life and the history of an academic discipline. Astronomer Lucas Ellerbroek takes readers on a fantastic voyage through space, time, history, and even to the future as he describes the field of exoplanet research, from the early ideas of sixteenth-century heretic Giordano Bruno to the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995 to the invention of the Kepler Space Telescope. We join him on his travels as he meets with leading scientists in the field, including Michel Mayor, who discovered the first exoplanet, and Bill Borucki, principal investigator for NASA’s Kepler mission. Taken together, the experiences, passion, and perseverance of the scientists featured here make the book an exciting and compelling read. Presenting cutting-edge research in a dynamic and accessible way, Planet Hunters is a refreshing look into a field where new discoveries come every week and paradigms shift every year.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Life
Author: Lucas Ellerbroek
Publisher: Reaktion Books
With over 500 planets now known to exist beyond the Solar System, spacecraft heading for Mars, and the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence, this timely book explores current ideas about the search for life in the Universe. It contains candid interviews with dozens of astronomers, geologists, biologists, and writers about the origin and range of terrestrial life and likely sites for life beyond Earth. The interviewees discuss what we've learnt from the missions to Mars and Titan, talk about the search for Earth clones, describe the surprising diversity of life on Earth, speculate about post-biological evolution, and explore what contact with intelligent aliens will mean to us. Covering topics from astronomy and planetary science to geology and biology, this book will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered 'Are we alone?'
Conversations on Astrobiology
Author: Chris Impey
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
On July 23, 1999, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the most powerful X-ray telescope ever built, was launched aboard the space shuttle Columbia. Since then, Chandra has given us a view of the universe that is largely hidden from telescopes sensitive only to visible light. In Chandra's Cosmos, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra science spokesperson Wallace H. Tucker uses a series of short, connected stories to describe the telescope's exploration of the hot, high-energy face of the universe. The book is organized in three parts- "The Big," covering the cosmic web, dark energy, dark matter, and massive clusters of galaxies; "The Bad," exploring neutron stars, stellar black holes, and supermassive black holes; and "The Beautiful," discussing stars, exoplanets, and life. Chandra has imaged the spectacular, glowing remains of exploded stars and taken spectra showing the dispersal of their elements. Chandra has observed the region around the supermassive black hole in the center of our Milky Way and traced the separation of dark matter from normal matter in the collision of galaxies, contributing to both dark matter and dark energy studies. Tucker explores the implications of these observations in an entertaining, informative narrative aimed at space buffs and general readers alike.
Dark Matter, Black Holes, and Other Wonders Revealed by NASA's Premier X-ray Observatory
Author: Wallace H. Tucker
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
"In the past year, we have witnessed unprecedented breakthroughs in the seemingly unrelated fields of synthetic biology and exoplanetary astronomy. Just recently, arsenic-based bacteria was discovered in a California lake-both puzzling and electrifying the scientific world. In The Life of Super-Earths, expert astronomer Dimitar Sasselov aims to highlight these groundbreaking findings and explain how what we learn in the laboratory informs our investigation of the universe, and vice versa. The discovery of a New Earth, or other world, may be in our future. But a truly 'alien' life form is more likely to emerge from our planet's natural environment or in a petri dish at a research lab. We may cross a milestone into the era of synthetic biology under the microscope. These breakthroughs will shed new light on our place in the universe and answer the age-old question: Are we alone in the universe? The Life of Super-Earths offers nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of life and its place in the cosmos"--
How the Hunt for Alien Worlds and Artificial Cells Will Revolutionize Life on Our Planet
Author: Dimitar Sasselov
Publisher: Basic Books
In these lively and fascinating essays, scientists from around the world weigh in on the latest advances in the search for intelligent life in the universe and discuss just what that might look like. Since 2000, science has seen a surge in data and interest on several fronts related to E.T. (extraterrestrials); A.I. (artificial intelligence); and SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence). The debate has intensified over whether life exists outside our solar system, what that life would look like, and whether we’ll ever make contact. Included here are essays from a broad spectrum of the scientific community: cosmologists, astrophysicists, NASA planetary scientists, and geneticists, to name just a few, discussing the latest research and theories relating to alien life. Some of the topics include: If life exists somewhere in space, what are the odds that it evolves into something we would recognize as intelligent? What will space travel look like in the future, and will it all be done by cyborg technology? How long until we are ruled by robot overlords? (This is actually a serious consideration.) Are we simply a simulation in the mind of some supreme being, acting out a virtual reality game? For those who have ever wondered, Is there anybody out there? here are the latest theories and evidence that move us closer to answering that question.
The World's Leading Scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life
Author: Jim Al-Khalili
A biography of the famous aviatrix who disappeared in the South Pacific on an around-the-world flight attempt in 1937
Author: Rich D
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Based on the latest missions results and supported by commissioned artwork, this book explores the possible lessons we may learn from exoplanets. As the number of known Earth-like objects grows significantly, the author explores what is known about the growing roster of "pale blue dots" far afield. Aided by an increased sensitivity of the existing observatories, recent discoveries by Keck, the Hubble Space Telescope, and Kepler are examined. These findings, once thought to be closer to the realm of science fiction, have fired the imaginations of the general public as well as scientists. All of us are mesmerized by the possibility of other Earth-like worlds out there. Author Michael Carroll asks the tough questions of what the expected gain is from identifying these Earth analogs spread across the Universe and the reasons for studying them. Potentially, they could teach us about our own climate and Solar System. Also explored are the more remote options of communication between or even travel to these distant yet perhaps not so dissimilar worlds.
How We Find Them, Communicate with Them, and Maybe Even Travel There
Author: Michael Carroll
In Strange New Worlds, renowned astronomer Ray Jayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets--and alien life--beyond our solar system. Only in the past two decades, after millennia of speculation, have astronomers begun to discover planets around other stars--thousands in fact. Now they are closer than ever to unraveling distant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts the stories of the scientists and the remarkable breakthroughs that have ushered in this extraordinary age of exploration. He describes the latest findings--including his own--that are challenging our view of the cosmos and casting new light on the origins and evolution of planets and planetary systems. He reveals how technology is rapidly advancing to support direct observations of Jupiter-like gas giants and super-Earths--rocky planets with several times the mass of our own planet--and how astronomers use biomarkers to seek possible life on other worlds. Strange New Worlds provides an insider's look at the cutting-edge science of today's planet hunters, our prospects for discovering alien life, and the debates and controversies at the forefront of extrasolar-planet research. In a new afterword, Jayawardhana explains some of the most recent developments as we search for the first clues of life on other planets.
The Search for Alien Planets and Life beyond Our Solar System
Author: Ray Jayawardhana
Publisher: Princeton University Press
In an illustrated, accessible text, the author explains the life cycle of stars, from dense molecular clouds to the enigmatic nebulae some stars leave behind in their violent ends.
Author: Kenneth R. Lang
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
For the first time, scientists could have the knowledge to prevent a natural disaster epic in scale—an asteroid hitting the earth and in this exciting, adventuresome book, Carrie Nugent explains how. What are asteroids, and where do they come from? And, most urgently: Are they going to hit the Earth? What would happen if one was on its way? Carrie Nugent is an asteroid hunter—part of a group of scientists working to map our cosmic neighborhood. For the first time ever, we are reaching the point where we may be able to prevent the horrible natural disaster that would result from an asteroid collision. In Asteroid Hunters, Nugent reveals what known impact asteroids have had: the extinction of the dinosaurs, the earth-sized hole Shoemaker Levy 9 left in Jupiter just a few decades ago, how the meteorite that bursted over Chelyabinsk in Russia could have started a war, and unlucky Ms. Anne Hodges—the only person (that we know of) in US history to be the victim of a direct hit. Nugent also introduces the telescope she uses to detect near-Earth asteroids. Ultimately, detection is the key to preventing asteroid impact, and these specialized scientists are working to prevent the unthinkable from happening. If successful, asteroid hunting will lead to the first natural disaster humans have the know-how and the technology to prevent. The successful hunt and mapping of asteroids could mean nothing less than saving life on earth.
Author: Carrie Nugent
Publisher: Simon and Schuster