Distant Wanderers

The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System

Authors: Dorminey, Bruce

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  • ISBN 978-1-4757-5001-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $32.95
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  • ISBN 978-0-387-95074-7
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Softcover $32.95
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  • ISBN 978-1-4419-2872-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Recent discoveries of planet-like objects circling other sun-like stars have stirred enormous interest in what other planets may exist in the universe, and whether they support intelligent life, or at least could do so. This book will take us into the thick of this search for extrasolar planets. Unlike other books, it will focus on the people behind the searches--many of whom the author knows--and the extraordinary technology that is on the drawing boards and currently in use to detect distant wanderers and describe their characteristics, thus bringing us to the cutting edge of knowledge of the subject. The author is an experienced, award-winning science journalist who was technology correspondent for the Financial Times of London and is now working as a journalist in France. He has written on many topics in astronomy and astrobiology, and has had pieces published in over 35 different newspapers and magazines worldwide.

Reviews

From the reviews:

"Dorminey hits the mark with the most up-to-date and complete account of the ongoing hunt for elusive extrasolar planets. With an eclectic narrative style equally fitting for a travel journal and a scientific monograph, Dorminey injects his personal experiences with planet hunters, their prey, their weapons, adn their hopes and fears throughout each chapter of Distant Wanderers...It's an enjoyable book for both armchair enthusiasts and astronomy professionals... DW is perhaps most impressive for its efficiency...In the end, DW leaves you feeling in the know about the search for distant planets and all that it entails, now and in the future." Astronomy Magazine:"

"This book could not have been written 10 years ago...The informality of the writing and accounts of personal visits to far-off places like Chile or Mauna Kea in Hawaii help put the reader at ease . . . As the searches for extra-solar planets grew, it was necessary that some non-technical account for the layperson appear in print. By writing a very readable account, Bruce Dorminey has filled a much-needed slot." Current Science:

"In his first book, Bruce Dorminey … brings us up to date on the revolution raging in astronomy. … In his book, Dorminey takes us to some of the world’s prominent observatories, from Chile to Hawaii to France, explaining to the lay reader the astounding discoveries announced (almost literally) each day. … As a survey … ‘Distant Wanderers’ conveys to the non-specialist something of the excitement of the recent finds. Awaiting us, it’s clear, is nothing less than a universe of wonders." (Doug Wyatt, Savannah Morning News, January, 2002)

"Dorminey looks at the history, methods, and future of extrasolar planet hunting. ... He makes the science seem simple enough for lay readers to grasp and explains the strengths and limitations of each method. … Dorminey himself wandered to far-off places, meeting the scientists and visiting the telescopes that are searching for extrasolar planets. His reports on his travels make the book much more human, interesting, and also tell us something about the writer. Buy this book and read it. I learned and enjoyed." (Linda Mamassian, SETI Central, 2001)

"A veteran science journalist, Dorminey writes from the front lines of this fast-growing field of modern astronomy. He explains what has already been found out and what might be found out in the future. … USA Today said that this book provides ‘ a short course in one of the most exciting areas of astronomical discovery.’ … I certainly look forward to reading further books by this talented science journalist." (Allen Tough, SETI League, December, 2002)

"Recent discoveries of Jovian-mass planets … have completely revolutionized our understanding of the origin and evolution of planetary systems. … Dorminey has very nicely chronicled this sudden and dramatic change in our thinking with his book Distant Wanderers. … The technical details are set off in the text, and can easily be skipped by those who prefer. The narrative style is light and easy to read. I found Distance Wanderers to be well-researched and to be quite well written and entertaining." (William Cochran, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Vol. 36, 2001)

"This book focuses on the current race among astronomers to identify planets orbiting stars other than the sun. The narrative, written by a science journalist, is based on an extensive series of interviews with leading astronomers. It conveys the excitement of rapid scientific discovery as technology opens up new opportunities. The book also delves into the impact of these ‘distant wanderers’ on theories of planet formation and possible fingerprints of another living planet." (Geotimes, November, 2002)

"This book is written without equations in a style that should be accessible to the interested non-specialist. … The author is a journalist and the writing reflects this style. It is an appropriate style for this story. … While clearly aimed at a general audience, this book is a good, easy-to-read review of the various approaches and technologies in extrasolar planet detection and provides an excellent introduction; one that I recommend for all graduate students beginning in this field." (Christopher P. McKay, EOS, August, 2002)

"In a refreshing and accessible narrative, veteran science journalist Bruce Dorminey explains what’s already been found out and what’s likely to be found out as astronomers gaze even further and more keenly into space. … In interviews with dozens of key astronomers … and other scientists, the author shows us how the … global search for new planets is opening up a great new frontier. … This is his first book and I may say keep it up! It is well written and well illustrated." (Europe & Astronomy, Issue R920, 2003)

"Dorminey touches the findings of scientists like ancient Egypt’s Ptolemy as well as the contemporary … evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould to give a rich context for this ‘state of the art’ anthology. … Dorminey provides an admirable synthesis of the quest for ‘extra-solar’ planets. His eye for pertinent detail is keen. … Dorminey hits all the marks for pacing, and he deftly shifts between spinning a great yarn and providing nonspecialist readers … with enough technical information to read intelligently." (Renee Guillory, Arizona Daily Sun, January, 2002)

"Dorminey is a journalist who writes about astronomy. … He has demonstrated a wide knowledge and deep understanding of research activities currently going on in the field of extra polar planet detection. At the same time, his well developed writing skills combined with a refreshing style (not lacking fine sense of humor) and a many year journalistic experience, are a guarantee that the reader will be presented with an excellent book which is easy to read and provides a comprehensive review of its topic." (Jovan Skuljan, Southern Stars, Vol. 41 (4), 2002)

"Over the past few years, the number of planets known to orbit stars other than the sun has grown to more than 100. In Distance Wanderers … journalist Bruce Dorminey portrays this avalanche of discovery as a very human business. … Overall, the book provides an engaging portrait of what drives the people who pursue this fascinating new area of scientific endeavor, and of the remote and spectacular places where they do it." (Sue Bowler, Astronomy & Geophysics, Vol. 44, 2003)

"Excellent account … of the transnational efforts to locate planets circling other stars … . Dorminey’s narrative is first and foremost a history of a feverish hunt that has led to so many fascinating discoveries in recent years. … Dorminey excels in bringing the individual planet hunters to life. He knows many of them personally and we get a real feel for their ambitions … . Highly readable and generously peppered with useful definitions Distant Wanderers has the mark of all great books on cosmology." (Adrian Cosgrove, The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 86 (507), 2002)

"The search for planets beyond the Solar System is one of the most exciting and fast-moving areas of science, and this book does capture the excitement. … The book is at its strongest in its treatment of the history of the subject, and in its comprehensive account of current developments and future plans, where it relies heavily on a large number of interviews with scientists … . It is a ‘good read’, in a journalistic style … ." (Barrie W. Jones, Earth, Moon & Planets, Vol. 88, 2002)

"The book is primarily aimed at non specialists, but practicing scientists, including astronomers, will find the narrative very interesting and sometimes offering a perspective that is unfamiliar to professionals. … discoveries and technological developments, currently taking place and being planned for the future, in the search for extra-solar planets, are narrated by the author, Bruce Dorminey, in simple language and lucid style. … The book is … well written and succeeds in communicating the excitement of the hunt for the distant wanderers." (H. C. Bhatt, Bulletin of the Astrological Society of India, Issue 30, 2002)

"Science journalist Bruce Dorminey’s new book … is a good read for those who want to find out more about planets … . Bruce Dorminey is well qualified to write on the subject of planets as he has been covering the search for extra-solar planets for the past six years. … His light-hearted approach makes the book enjoyable to read and his sometimes irreverent style strips away the mystery surrounding astronomers and astrophysicists … . this is a good book to read." (ESA Portal, April, 2002)

"Written by a science writer for that public, it takes a whirlwind tour of the people and places involved. … Of course, it all depends on the writing – and Dorminey has pulled it off. … the excitement of the writing, the well-thought-out balance between people and science, between the details and the grand sweep, between the enthusiasm and the daunting practicalities. … The readers of this magazine, professional and amateur astronomers, can read this book with pleasure … ." (Alan Penny, The Observatory, Vol. 122 (1169), 2002)

"A flood of new books describing the exciting search for planets beyond the Solar System has hit the book shops. … Bruce Dorminey presents the most concise and up-to-date version of this ongoing search. … Distant Wanderers manages to present a friendly and scientifically accurate picture of this exciting frontier of human knowledge … . This is a highly engaging text that manages to accurately convey the sense of awe and wonder that comes with the contemplation of planetary systems beyond our reaches." (Neil English, Astronomy Now, September, 2002)

"Science journalist Dorminey gives a lucid and enjoyable account of the search for planets beyond our solar system. … Dorminey does an excellent job of explaining the complex techniques involved in their study … . He takes readers for a night’s viewing at the world’s major observatories, and introduces the patient scientists at the forefront of this painstaking yet exciting field." (David Siegfried, Amazon.de, May, 2002)

"This new book is very timely with astronomy gripped by searches for planets around other stars … . My immediate impression of this book is how friendly it was to read, having been prepared in a very topical style that will surely enhance its appeal to a wide audience from hardened professional and amateur astronomer to anyone with a genuine interest in cutting edge science. … Overall, the book was an exciting read, retaining the topical style throughout. … I strongly recommend the book … ." (Guy M. Hurst, The Astronomer, Vol. 38 (456), April, 2002)

"Acclaimed science journalist Bruce Dorminey is well known for his engaging and thorough reports from science’s cutting edge. And in his first book, Distant Wanderers … Dorminey hits the mark again with the most up-to-date and complete account of the ongoing hunt for extrasolar planets. Dorminey packs a wealth of timely information into an easily manageable span of just over 200 pages. ... Additionally, each chapter is generously illustrated with photos, graphs, and tables. Perhaps most importantly, Dorminey successfully injects personality into the pages … ." (William Schomaker, Astronomy.com, May, 2002)

"Bruce Dorminey is an experienced astronomy and space technology writer, and it shows. This is a well researched and completely up-to-date account of the quest to find planets orbiting other stars. … In many ways, this is a detective story. For half a century, astronomers were convinced that other planets must be out there. But only during the past seven years did they start finding them – and they didn’t find what they expected. It’s a great ongoing saga, and Dorminey tells it well." (Terence Dickinson, Sky News, Vol. 8 (1), May/June, 2002)

"'Distant Wanderers' is a compelling tale of how in just a few years more than 60 planets have been discovered orbiting distant suns. Dorminey goes to remote observatories around the world, joining professional planet finders determined to track down Earth-like, life-sustaining worlds. Dorminey presents the intensely technical field of astrophysics, planetary cosmology and the science of astronomy … in a highly readable style. The book is sprinkled with explanations and clarifications for the novice but also has some depth and meat to satisfy the professional." (Bob Duke, The Oregonian, May, 2002)

"They’re astronomers and they’re looking for planets around other suns. … Their quest is the subject of ‘Distant Wanderers: The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System’ by science writer Bruce Dorminey. It’s an engrossing account of the progress made and a look into the future of planet-hunting. … The book is technical enough to make it clear how the scientists go about their daunting task but not so technical that it overwhelms the lay reader." (L. D. Meagher, CNN.com, April, 2002)

"Dorminey’s excellent new book Distant Wanderers does a great job of conveying the exquisite difficulty of extra solar plant hunting. … Distant Wanderers is scientific story telling at its best … . Dorminey has peppered the chapters with indented asides containing definitions of major terms … . These are placed in contextually logical places and I found them to be helpful and interesting while reading the text. … His ability to take thorny scientific issues and explain them in terms anyone can understand is excellent." (John Rummel, Capitol Skies, April, 2002)

"This book that took two-and-a-half years … sets out to give the background including the tools used as well as the debates regarding the observations made with the tools. … The style is journalistic with traveling to different groups. Dorminey covers future missions like Next Generation Space Telescope … . The book includes a bibliography and index making it a good introduction to a subject that will go on and perhaps generate the general interest space exploration needs at present." (Anders Hansson, Spaceflight, Vol. 44 (4), 2002)

"Dorminey gives us a glimpse of the future … . In a narrative that is accessible and refreshing, Dorminey clearly explains what has been found and what remains to be uncovered. The result is a fascinating account of a determined handful of pioneers endeavoring to master a difficult art … . Dorminey spanned two continents interviewing every scientist … involved in planet finding … . Dorminey takes his readers with him on his world travels to meet with headline-making astronomers in their mountain-top telescopes." (Bill Almond, Times Colonist, January, 2002)

"Journalist Bruce Dorminey gives a detailed account of the amazingly successful search for planets outside our solar system. Through dozens of interviews, Dorminey gives an accurate portrayal of the science and scientists as they hunt down their distant quarry." (Barnes & Noble, December, 2001)

"Distance Wanderers by Bruce Dorminey follows the short history of successful planet hunting … . Dorminey takes the time to explain each term when it appears (like Doppler spectroscopy) simply and clearly in a sidebar, to make sure you grasp the concept before going any further. … It’s mostly a science book, but it also feels like a travelogue … it’s hard not to get caught up in the adventure. … I definitely recommend Distant Wanderers ... ." (Universe Today, December, 2001)

"Distant Wanderers … by Paris-based journalist in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics Bruce Dorminey is an amazing look at the practice of searching for planetary systems other than the nine familiar solar system planets … . The culmination of a century of experiments, work, calculations, and speculations are presented all within one fascinating book, Distant Wanderers is enthusiastically recommended for personal and academic astronomy reference collections and lists." (Midwest Book Review, January, 2002)

"He takes readers with him to several observatories in Europe and North America, remote sites in Chile, Arecibo, Puerto Rico and the peak of Mauna Kea … . At each destination, readers meet dedicated and opinionated scientists and learn about techniques and instruments that detect telltale wobbles in stellar motion. … Readers will be able to compare the discoveries of the next several years to the works in progress that Mr. Dorminey so carefully chronicles." (Alfred B. Bortz, Dallas Morning News, February, 2002)

"In his first book, science journalist Dorminey gives a lucid and enjoyable account of the search for planets beyond our solar system. … Dorminey does an excellent job of explaining the complex techniques involved in their study, such as Doppler spectroscopy, astrometry, and interferometry. He takes readers for a night’s viewing at the world’s major observatories, and introduces the patient scientists at the forefront of this painstaking yet exciting field." (Booklist, December, 2001)

"The content is one of the best surveys of the search for extrasolar planets to date. … Apart from information about the planets themselves, there are also useful digressions into the theory and practice of looking for life in those other solar systems, and some information about why our own planet might – or might not – be special. An excellent overview of a fascinating subject." (Richard Wentk, Focus, April, 2002)

"Award winning science journalist, Bruce Dorminey, writes for the informed amateur and traces the recent history of the discovery of planets orbiting stars other than our sun. … Since it is not possible to ‘see’ these planets … other means have to be used. … he is able to introduce many of these difficult topics in an accessible and readable way. … ‘Distant Wanderers’ will certainly find a space on my bookshelf and I’ll keep another space for the companion volume in ten years time!" (Case Rijsdijk, Science in Africa, February, 2002)

"In his timely book, Distant Wanderers, Bruce Dorminey, an award-winning aerospace journalist, takes us on a world tour to meet the astronomers undertaking one of the most fascinating searches of all time: for planets around other suns. The vivid descriptions of their observing vigils in isolated observatories help to give a real sense of discoveries in the making. … this book is a highly worthwhile read and will enable you to appreciate what lies behind each discovery and its significance to our own future." (Ian Morison, New Scientist, February, 2002)

"A short course in one of the most exciting areas of astronomical discovery lies within Distant Wanderers, The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System … . In short chapters that profile key players in the planet-hunting game, Dorminey tackles the science behind the finds … . He keeps the language simple … . Dorminey lays out the science behind the arguments about whether life exists on those distant locales, once they are discovered, a dispute sure to pick up intensity." (USA Today, November, 2001)


Table of contents (17 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $24.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4757-5001-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $32.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-95074-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $32.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-2872-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Distant Wanderers
Book Subtitle
The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System
Authors
Copyright
2002
Publisher
Copernicus
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4757-5001-0
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4757-5001-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-387-95074-7
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4419-2872-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 226
Topics