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In Search of Planet Vulcan: The Ghost in Newton's Clockwork Universe cover
  • ISBN: 9780306455674
  • ISBN10: 0306455676

In Search of Planet Vulcan: The Ghost in Newton's Clockwork Universe

by Baum, Richard

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Plenum Publishing Corporation
  • Publish date: 01/01/2007
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Description
"A beautiful blend of detective story, character profile, and history of science....spellbinding and rewarding". -- Dave Either, Managing Editor, Astronomy

"This saga is beautifully recalled and meticulously documented". -- Leif J, Robinson, Editor-in-Chief, Sky and Telescope

Here for the first time in popular form is the fascinating true story of the search for the phantom planet Vulcan. Newton's laws anticipated a planet closer to the sun than Mercury. Named "Vulcan" for the Roman god of fire, the planet was no sooner spotted in the nineteenth century than lost. Still, it reappeared enough to tantalize even skeptics into considering its shadowy existence possible. This fast-paced tale follows the true exploits of the autocratic astronomer Le Verrier, and later his followers, in what grows to be his unbridled obsessions: to extend the universality of Newton's Laws, to prove Vulcan's existence, and to secure his place in history as one of the greatest astronomers of his time.

The suspense builds as the saga invokes the best and worst of humankind: man at his noblest and at his pettiest. In what becomes a worldwide obsession to prove or disprove Vulcan's existence, we witness the intrigue, the games of intimidation, and the passionate strategies played by rivaling scientists and nations as they vie to "win" the glory of discovering a new planet. Stranger than fiction, the story reaches an exciting climax in the final showdown in the unlikeliest of places: a solar eclipse as viewed in America's Wild West. Exquisitely told, this irresistible tale is destined to become a classic.

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