Download The Hunt for Planet X: New Worlds and the Fate of Pluto by Govert Schilling PDF

By Govert Schilling

Ever because the serendipitous discovery of planet Uranus in 1871, astronomers were looking for new worlds within the outer areas of our sunlight procedure. This fascinating and ongoing quest culminated lately within the discovery of hundreds of thousands of ice dwarfs within the Kuiper belt, robbed Pluto from its ‘planet’ prestige, and ended in a greater knowing of the foundation of the sunlight procedure. This well timed booklet reads like a systematic ‘who performed it’, going from the heights of discovery to the depths of unhappiness in quest of ‘Planet X’. according to many own interviews with astronomers, the well known technology author Govert Schilling introduces the heroes within the race to be the 1st to find one other international, larger than Pluto.

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Additional info for The Hunt for Planet X: New Worlds and the Fate of Pluto

Sample text

She studied and taught economics and, shortly after the end of the Second World War, she married the mathematician Maxwell Phair. And, no, the story of Pluto was not the first thing she told him. That only happened many years later, by coincidence. At the end of the 1960s, when Maxwell had just retired, the couple took a trip around the United States, including a visit to Flagstaff, where they saw the telescope which had been used to discover Pluto. By then Clyde Tombaugh had been working for many years at the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and he and Venetia unfortunately never met.

Airy had been Astronomer Royal at the famous Greenwich Observatory since the summer of 1835 and was an expert on planetary orbits. In 1832 he had written a book on recent developments in astronomy, in which he said that Uranus was one of the great unsolved mysteries of astronomy. John Couch Adams (Courtesy George Beekman) It was this book that attracted the attention of John Couch Adams, a mathematical genius from Cornwall. Adams, who probably suffered from Asperger’s syndrome, conducted precise calculations of solar eclipses as a teenager and won every conceivable mathematics prize at the University of Cambridge.

To kill time, Christy tried to guess what that figure would be next time. To his amazement he guessed it right. Not once or twice, but three times and then four. It was starting to get creepy. When he got it right for the fifth time, he dared not go any further. The chances of predicting five random numbers in a row were one in a hundred thousand. Christy should have spent the day in Las Vegas rather than Washington. He would remember that experience for the rest of his life. On Wednesday, June 21 – a few days earlier than planned – he had finished all the work he had to get done before taking leave.

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