An important new book on extrasolar planets

Posted by David Eicher
on Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yesterday, I told you about Phil Harrington’s new book on challenging sky objects. Another book written by a regular from the Astronomy magazine family has appeared, and is a significant contribution to a scientific subject — exoplanets. In Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets (255 pp., hardcover, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2011, $24.95, ISBN 978–0–691–14254–8), Ray Jayawardhana of the University of Toronto describes the story of extrasolar planets from the front line of research. A contributing editor of Astronomy, Ray is a prize-winning writer whose smooth blend of hard science and his great storytelling ability make his works a delight to read.

Ray’s book vividly recounts the history of exoplanet research from the first discoveries to the more than 550 exoplanets now known, including the recent explosive research with the Kepler Space Telescope that will multiply that number in the coming months and years. Ray covers the “hot Jupiters” and the “super Earths” equally well, and describes the undercurrent of the drive to find earthlike worlds and, ultimately, evidence of other living worlds in the cosmos.

It is a terrific book, and I highly encourage anyone interested in the subject to grab a copy!

For more on the book, visit

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