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PLANET HUNTER by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein Kirkus Star


Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths

by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: March 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59078-592-8
Publisher: Boyds Mills

On an inhospitable Hawaiian mountaintop, using one of the most powerful optical telescopes in the world, astronomer Dr. Geoffrey Marcy and others search for planets outside our solar system. When the first one was discovered in 1995, he and his team corroborated the discovery; since then they have found nearly half the 400 planets identified so far, using methods they developed. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, diagrams and artists’ renderings, this description of a scientist’s work concentrates on this relatively new branch of astronomy. Debut author Wittenstein includes chapters on Marcy’s background and preparation, the techniques he and others use and the history of extrasolar planet discovery. Sidebars and full-page explanations, set off by a differently colored background, introduce other scientists in this field and define and explain important concepts and parallel investigations. The author’s explanations are clear, well organized and interestingly written with plenty of quotations from the scientists, but the material is not simple. An extensive bibliography provides books and websites for middle- and high-school readers as well as their teachers. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)