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This exciting tour of our Universe explores our current knowledge of exoplanets and the search for another Earth-like planet. Beginning with the basic concepts of planet formation and the composition of the Universe, Stuart Ross Taylor summarises our knowledge of exoplanets, how they compare with our planets and why some stars have better habitable zones. Further sections provide a detailed study of our Solar System, as a basis for understanding exoplanetary systems, and a detailed study of the Earth as our only current example of a habitable planet. The book concludes with a philosophical and historical discussion of topics surrounding planets and the development of life, including why our chances of finding aliens on exoplanets is very low. This is an engaging and informative read for anyone interested in planetary formation and the exploration of our Universe.
List of abbreviations
2. The Universe
3. Forming planets
4. The exoplanets
5. Our Solar System
6. Earth and Moon
Appendix A. Sources
Appendix B. The geological time scale on the Earth
Appendix C. The geological time scale on Mars
Appendix D. The geological time scale on the Moon
"This book is an encyclopaedic reference of the vast range of intertwining phenomena and processes which compete to shape the paths of planet-making. It is comprehensive, thorough, and admirably up-to-date. With many intriguing historic antidotes and vivid analogies, Taylor lucidly conveys some deep concepts in layman terms, without the distraction of intimidating formula or excessive jargon. It is a must-have for all amateurs or professionals who are fascinated by our place in the Universe."
- Douglas Lin, Lick Observatory, University of California
"In his highly readable style, Ross Taylor describes the most recently discovered members of the solar system family, and the planets found to circle other stars. Anyone interested in planetary formation will be interested by his argument for their formation by chance and the laws of physics, not by destiny or design, and his conclusion that other peopled earths must be extremely rare."
- John Wood, former Associate Director, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics