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216 × 138 × 22 mm
208 pages
31 illustrations, 27 in colour
10 Aug 2020

Twenty Worlds The Extraordinary Story of Planets Around Other Stars Niall Deacon

Thirty years ago the only planets we knew were the ones orbiting our own Sun; we now know of thousands of other worlds orbiting distant stars. In this book astronomer Niall Deacon journeys to twenty of these globes: from giant, blisteringly hot planets orbiting close to their parent stars to planets that float through the cold wilderness of space alone, and from dead stars shredding asteroids to worlds made of diamond and even planets that may be similar to the Earth. Deacon also takes in the latest exoplanet discoveries, and explains how astronomers have come to learn so much about these strange and distant worlds.

Twenty Worlds tells a sweeping story, of real planets around other stars, and appeals to the wide audience for popular science and astronomy.

‘this is the perfect book to introduce exoplanet science . . . But Twenty Worlds is not really for those who want to find out more about any one of the planets covered. Rather it reveals what each of them represents to the field in general. Its real value is in the analogies that Deacon uses to clarify difficult and complex exoplanetary scientific methods to the reader. Nowhere will you find a more descriptive book to understand the processes used to learn about the existence of these worlds.’ — BBC Sky at Night Magazine

‘This is a truly entertaining and informative book, but the reason I’m giving it the full five stars has as much to do with the refreshing novelty of the author’s style as anything else. There’s novelty in the subject-matter too – the wide variety of recently discovered exoplanets orbiting other stars . . . He’s a professional astronomer too, though you wouldn’t guess that from his writing style, which is as straightforward and lucid as science writing gets.’ — PopularScience.co.uk

‘A wonderfully enjoyable tour of twenty diverse worlds that orbit distant stars. Niall Deacon uses simple ideas from science to show us how each world has its own personality – its own story. Twenty Worlds is an accessible introduction to some of the most exciting discoveries in astronomy.’ — Michael E. Summers, Professor of Planetary Sciences and Astronomy, George Mason University

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Niall Deacon is an astronomy researcher and writer, and lives in Heidelberg, Germany. His research focuses on failed stars called brown dwarfs and giant planets orbiting other stars.

Introduction: An Ordered Family Portrait

Alien Worlds
1 A World beyond Expectation
2 A World Obscuring
3 A Tempestuous World
4 A Glimmer of Atmosphere
5 A World in Reverse

Towards Earth
6 A Flash from Darkness
7 A World You Can’t Set Your Watch By
8 A Contrasting Sibling
9 A World Like Ours?

10 An Unseen Embryo
11 A World through the Blur
12 An Ember Spat from a Fire
13 A Lonely Planet
14 A Dreich World?

15 A Cursed World
16 A World that’s Just Right?
17 A World Bombarded

18 A Dark Cloak of Death
19 A World Torn Asunder
20 A Diamond Born from Death

Epilogue: Yet More Worlds

Appendix: The Twenty Worlds
Photo Acknowledgements