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Rock Legends

The Asteroids and Their Discoverers

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This book relates the history of
asteroid discoveries and christenings, from those of the early pioneering
giants of Hersehel and Piazzi to modern-day amateurs. Moving from history and
anecdotal information to science, the book's structure is provided by the names
of the asteroids, including one named after the author.Free from a need to conform to
scientific naming conventions, the names evidence hero-worship, sycophancy,
avarice, vanity, whimsy, erudition and wit, revealing the human side of
astronomers, especially where controversy has followed the christening. Murdin
draws from extensive historical records to explore the debate over these names.
Each age reveals its own biases and preferences in the naming process.
Originally regarded as “vermin of
the skies,” asteroids are minor planets, rocky scraps left over from the
formation of the larger planets, or broken fragments of worlds that have
collided. Their scientific classification as “minor” planets makes them seem
unimportant, but over the past decades asteroids have been acknowledged to be
key players in the Solar System. This view of their starring role even alters the
trajectories of spacecraft: NASA’s policy for new space missions en route to
the outer planets is that they must divert to study passing asteroids whenever
possible. This book provides for readers a complete tour of the fascinating
world of asteroids.


Titel: Rock Legends
Autoren/Herausgeber: Paul Murdin
Aus der Reihe: Popular Astronomy
Ausgabe: 1st ed. 2016

ISBN/EAN: 9783319318356

Seitenzahl: 207
Format: 27,9 x 21 cm
Produktform: Hardcover/Gebunden
Gewicht: 809 g
Sprache: Englisch

Paul Murdin is a distinguished internationally
known astronomer with a track record of well-written books and eloquent
lectures about astronomy.  He has been honored
with an OBE in 1988, the Award of the Royal Astronomical Society for Services
to [professional] Astronomy in 2011, the Eric Zucker Award of the Federation of
Astronomical Societies for outreach to amateur astronomers, in 2012, and the
name of asteroid 128562 Murdin. Educated at the universities of Oxford and
Rochester, NY, Paul Murdin has worked as an astronomer in the USA, Australia, England,
Scotland and in Spain, where he led the operation of the Anglo-Dutch Isaac
Newton Group of telescopes in the Canary Islands.  He has been a research scientist (studying
supernovae, neutron stars and black holes – in 1972 Paul discovered the nature
of the first black hole known in our Galaxy, Cygnus X-1) and a science administrator
for the UK Government and the Royal Astronomical Society.  He works at the Institute of Astronomy at the
University of Cambridge, England, and is Visiting Professor at John Moores
University, Liverpool.  He has a
secondary career as a broadcaster and commentator for the BBC and CNN, as well
as a lecturer and writer on astronomy, including repeat appearances on BBC
Radio 4’s In Our Time and at a number
of literary and science festivals, like those at Hay-on-Wye and Edinburgh, and
on the QE2.   His most recent books
include Are We Being Watched? The Search for Life in the Cosmos (Thames and
Hudson, 2013), and Planetary Vistas (Springer,
2015). - Newsletter
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