Posted on Tuesday, December 27, 2016
By Kadri

Earths of Distant Suns: How We Find Them, Communicate with Them, and Maybe Even Travel There by Michael Carroll

As astronomers find ever more and more exoplanets, both far and near, giant and slightly smaller ones, more and more books about how exoplanets are found and what we hope to find there are published.

As with the different types of exoplanets that are described in detail in "Earths of Distant Suns" - hot Jupiters that are just a little way off from their star and have just a little bit of mass missing to have become a star themselves, hot Neptunes that might lose their atmospheres and become rocky super-Earths or water covered worlds, there are many books about them. If I'd compare it to a type of planet - it's certainly not massive, so no Jupiter or Neptune kind, it doesn't drown you in unnecessary details, but rather just the fascinating and essential characteristics of some exoplanets, so most likely it would be a pretty small rocky planet that might possibly be in the habitable zone of its star.

Carroll talks about the different ways that can be used for discovering exoplanets - a necessary part in a book about this topic. He doesn't go into deep detail about the history of the dicoveries the people behidn it nor the technicalities involved in for example the construction of the Kepler space telescope. However he writes about the reasons why some methods find more huge planets near their stars and how using several observing methods in case of one planetary system yields more information and smaller error bars in case of the planets.

In addition to discussing and presenting some interesting exoplanets, Carroll also goes into the topic of SETI, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Again, without going back into the history of the ideas about extraterrestrial intelligence and attitudes toward it, he keeps it clean and simple and almost glides over it getting more into why we haven't found extraterrestrial intelligence so far, and how could we communicate with them and would it be possible to reach a different star system.

"Earths of Distant Suns" provides the bare essentials in a well narrated way with numerous illustrative artworks by the author.

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