“The Hunt For Planet X” by Govert Schilling (Springer, 2008)

The Hunt For Planet Xstarstarstar

Dutch author Govert Schilling is an internationally acclaimed astronomy writer who has published more than forty books and written for many publications, including New Scientist and Science; he even has an asteroid – 10986 – named after him. In The Hunt for Planet X, he answers just about every question you might have about our solar system, from why Pluto was demoted from being a planet, to who discovered which planet, when, and how.

In a volume divided into thirty chapters, Schilling covers it all, from the days when planets, moons, and other galactic objects were first discovered – giving a brief history lesson on each person and how they discovered said object – up to the present with why Pluto isn’t a planet any more, to what’s being discovered right now, and what the future holds for astronomy. The book is filled with glossy photos of the important people in astronomy, as well as the planets, asteroids, and whatever else Schilling is talking about. There’s even a helpful index and extensive chronology in the back of the book, starting with Galileo, taking readers on a quick journey through time up to 2007.

The Hunt For Planet X is a great resource for any (scientifically minded or not) person looking for answers about our solar system, what exactly people are looking for up there in the great blackness of space, and how they’re finding it. It’s an invaluable reference for those wanting either quick answers or long discussions on the mysteries of space.

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Originally written on March 27th 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.