In support of Pluto-the cutest and most unfairly treated planet
Pity poor Pluto: It's a planet that was discovered because of a mistake, a planet that turned out not to be a planet at all, thanks to a still-disputed decision made in 2006. And yet, Pluto is the planet best-loved by Americans, especially children, one that may have contained the building blocks of life billions of years ago and may well serve as life's last redoubt billions of years from now.
In The Case for Pluto, award-winning science writer Alan Boyle traces the tiny planet's ups and downs, its strange appeal, the reasons behind its demotion, and the reasons why it should be set back in the planetary pantheon.
Tells the compelling story of Pluto's discovery and how it became a cultural icon
Makes the case for Pluto as planet, countering the books that argue against it
Comes in a small, friendly package -- just like Pluto -- and features a handsome design, making it a great gift
The Case for Pluto is the must-read tale of a cosmic underdog that has captured the hearts of millions: an endearing little planet that is changing the way we see the universe beyond our backyard.
Alan Boyle is MSNBC.com's science editor and the award-winning blogger behind Cosmic Log. He's been a talking head on NBC's The Today Show and the MSNBC cable channel, holding forth on scientific subjects ranging from the chances of an asteroid Armageddon to the 3-D wizardry behind the "Harry Potter" movies. But he writes better than he talks.
When the International Astronomical Union voted in 2006 to evict Pluto from the roster of planets in our solar system, little did they expect the public outcry that would arise. Boyle, an award-winning science writer and the science editor at MSNBC.com, presents the issues regarding Pluto's status, both popular and scientific, in a winning fashion. After its discovery in 1930, the icy rock formerly known as Planet X was embraced by the public imagination, partly due to its status as the oddball of the solar system; no doubt having Walt Disney name a cartoon dog after it also helped. But as astronomers learned more about the solar system and the distant Kuiper Belt at its fringes, they realized that Pluto, with its lopsided spin and strangely tilted orbit was very special indeed. Now astronomers have identified at least five dwarf planets, or mini-worlds, orbiting our Sun. When the New Horizons spacecraft reaches Pluto in 2015, we'll know more about this underdog of the solar system. Even then, the furor is bound to continue. Photos. (Nov.)
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November 08, 2009
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