The Little Book of Exoplanets

Princeton Univ. Jul. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780691215471. $22.95. SCI
Since 1995, scientists have identified more than 5,000 exoplanets, including several with earthlike properties. In this riveting work, Winn (astrophysics, Princeton), part of NASA’s ongoing Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite mission, explains how advances in astronomical technology have led to the discovery of exoplanets and how these findings have challenged scientific thinking about the formation of solar systems. As Winn explains, exoplanets are impossible to detect directly but can be spotted using specialized equipment and specific methods. Astronomers have discovered fascinating worlds and solar systems, including several with unexpected properties. Among the surprising revelations are compact planetary systems, stars with eccentric orbits, and solar systems in which the planets do not align to each other on a flat plane. The author enthusiastically explains how these discoveries have changed the way scientists understand and speculate about what future discoveries may reveal about the cosmos. Due to Winn’s straightforward writing style and the book’s helpful charts, this work is ideal for non-scientists or beginning astronomers.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who appreciate astronomy or are intrigued by the possibility of life on other planets.
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