Monday, July 02, 2007

faraway worlds

Science fiction has bombarded us with so much detail about putative planetary worlds beyond our solar system that many people may not be aware of the novelty of extrasolar planets.
In fact, it was only 12 years ago that Mayor and Queloz found the first conclusive evidence for the existence of _any_ extrasolar planet. Since then, researchers have found over 100 more.
My MySpace buddy Paul Halpern has written a children's book about these "faraway worlds", which is lavishly illustrated by Lynette Cook. I reckon it must be difficult to sell the hard little biscuit of the actual facts in competition to the abundance of fiction and fantasy confectionery that is everywhere. While Halpern's text sticks with the facts and vivid explanations, Cook has compensated for reality's handicap with artistic licence, making up the bits that we don't know yet about those worlds.
So if you and/or your children are wondering what landscapes might greet the space traveller on planet HD 209458b, check this out.

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