This book tells the story of two giants and a dwarf. The giants, Uranus and Neptune, are mostly huge balls of gas, and they make their home in the remotest reaches of the Solar System. The dwarf, Pluto, which can usually be found even farther out than the two giants, was always small, but up until a short while ago, it enjoyed the same status as the other planets, a full-fledged member of the Solar System. Today, Pluto has been re-classified as a "dwarf planet."
In this clear and succinct overview of the current research on these remote Solar System objects, Richard Schmude, Jr., tells us what facts we do know about these faraway entities, what we are seeking to know, and also how to observe them for yourself, using commercially available telescopes. He also explains why Pluto was re-classified and what it means, exactly, to be a dwarf planet.
Intrigued by these objects since boyhood, Schmude has compiled a loving tribute to them, if not making them warm and fuzzy, at least making them seem less remote and bringing them into our current frame of reference, giving them personality and revealing their worth in our understanding of the structure and nature of the Solar System in which we live.
Author's Note.- The Uranus System.- The Neptune System.- Pluto and Its Moons.- Observing Uranus and Neptune with Binoculars and Small Telescopes.- Observing with Medium Sized Telescopes.- Observing with Large Telescopes.- Appendix.- Bibliography.- Index.
Richard Schmude Jr. has a Ph D in Physical Chemistry, and has taught solar system astronomy for over 10 years. He has been Remote Planets Coordinator for the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO) since 1990, and has written 18 scientific papers about the remote planets in various journals. He has a total of 103 published papers. He has been a full-time college Professor at Gordon College since 1994.
From the reviews: "Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and How to Observe Them is truly an enthusiast's book, aimed at the serious amateur astronomer. Schmude ! reviews in detail the findings from Voyager as well as Earth-based telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope. He does this in a tone that is accessible to nonscientists, offering them the latest information as well as allowing them to tailor their observation ! about these fascinating objects. ! Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels." (E. S. Perlman, Choice, Vol. 46 (7), March, 2009)