Strange New Worlds
The Search for Alien Planets and Life beyond Our Solar System
In Strange New Worlds, renowned astronomer RayJayawardhana brings news from the front lines of the epic quest to find planets—andalien life—beyond our solar system. Only in the past two decades, aftermillennia of speculation, have astronomers begun to discover planets aroundother stars—thousands in fact. Now they are closer than ever to unravelingdistant twins of the Earth. In this book, Jayawardhana vividly recounts thestories of the scientists and the remarkable breakthroughs that have ushered inthis extraordinary age of exploration. He describes the latest findings, includinghis own, that are challenging our view of the cosmos and casting new light onthe origins and evolution of planets and planetary systems. He reveals howtechnology is rapidly advancing to support direct observations of Jupiter-likegas giants and super-Earths—rocky planets with several times the mass of ourown planet—and how astronomers use biomarkers to seek possible life on otherworlds.
Strange New Worlds provides an insider’s look at thecutting-edge science of today’s planet hunters, our prospects for discoveringalien life, and the debates and controversies at the forefront of extrasolar-planetresearch.
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