From Library Journal
In 1995, the first authenticated and accepted discovery of an extrasolar planet was made, and more than 60 such planets have been identified since then, possibly leading the way to the discovery of intelligent life beyond Earth. A contributor to Astronomy, Discover, the Boston Globe, and other publications, science journalist Dorminey devotes most of this work to the various successful search methods and resulting discoveries. The last several chapters discuss future searches with planned new instruments and search methodologies under development. The scientific level of the book will be challenging for lay readers, and the seemingly unavoidable flood of acronyms for new programs is wearisome at times. Still, this well-written volume is useful, particularly for the currency of its information. Other recommended titles in the fast-growing field of extrasolar planets include Michael Lemonick's Other Worlds (LJ 4/1/98) and Ken Crosswell's Planet Quest (LJ 9/1/97). Dorminey's book is recommended for academic and large public libraries. Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In his first book, science journalist Dorminey gives a lucid and enjoyable account of the search for planets beyond our solar system. Although more than 60 such extrasolar planets have been detected, none have so far been directly observed. Instead their presence has been verified by the effects they have on the stars they orbit, such as wobble and interference. Therefore it is primarily the largest, or "Jupiter-class or better," planets that have been detected, and some of them are so large their existence challenges the very definitions of planets and stars. 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. Ultimately they're searching for habitable planets such as our own, and although numerous factors must converge for life to evolve, many believe that the odds are in favor of abundant life in the universe. David SiegfriedCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved