O'Reilly logo

Strange New Worlds by Ray Jayawardhana

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 6

Blurring Boundaries

Neither Stars nor Planets

Over the past two decades, astronomers have uncovered a surprising variety of worlds in the outer realms of our solar system and beyond. Of the thousands of icy bodies circling the Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune, the biggest few—all found in the twenty-first century—resemble Pluto in many ways. For a while there was talk of inducting a tenth planet, but Pluto was demoted instead, stirring a public debate that got emotional at times. The revelations at the other end of the planetary-mass range are perhaps even more profound. At the same time as the extrasolar planets, astronomers have discovered a whole new class of objects called brown dwarfs that span the mass gap between stars and planets. ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required