Poor Pluto ...

It's a planet that was discovered because of a mistake, a planet that turned out not to be a planet at all, thanks to a still-disputed decision made in 2006. And yet, Pluto is the planet best-loved by Americans, especially children, one that may have contained the building blocks of life billions of years ago and may well serve as life's last redoubt billions of years from now.

In The Case for Pluto, award-winning science writer Alan Boyle traces the tiny planet's ups and downs, its strange appeal, the reasons behind its demotion, and the reasons why it should be set back in the planetary pantheon.

  • Tells the compelling story of Pluto's discovery and how it became a cultural icon 

  • Makes the case for Pluto as planet, countering the books that argue against it

  • Explains why scientists think there are worlds bigger than Mercury yet to be found in our solar system

  • Lays out the reasons why a Planet X or Nibiru "death star" won't be a threat in 2012 or anytime soon

  • Ties the historical search for planets to the current discoveries of worlds beyond our solar system

  • Comes in a small, friendly package just like Pluto and features a handsome design, making it a great gift

The Case for Pluto is the must-read tale of a cosmic underdog that has captured the hearts of millions: an endearing little planet that is changing the way we see the universe beyond our backyard.

Alan Boyle is MSNBC.com's science editor and the award-winning blogger behind Cosmic Log. He's been a talking head on NBC's The Today Show and the MSNBC cable channel, holding forth on scientific subjects ranging from the chances of an asteroid Armageddon to the 3-D wizardry behind the Harry Potter movies.

The Case for Pluto
ISBN: 978-0-470-50544-1
272 pages
Publication date: Oct. 26, 2009

Table of contents

READ Chapter 1: The Planet in the Cornfield ... Rediscovering a monument to the picked-on planet
Chapter 2: Fellow Wanderers ... Why the course of the planet quest never did run smooth
Chapter 3: The Search for Planet X ... How a Midwestern farmboy found a world that shouldn't have been found
Chapter 4: Pluto and Its Little Pals ... "The ninth planet" put an English schoolgirl and a Disney dog in the spotlight
Chapter 5: The Meaning of a Moon ... How Charon's discovery sparked a breakthrough on the solar system's edge
Chapter 6: There Goes the Neighborhood ... Worlds galore are found in the icy Kuiper Belt, leading to a rethinking
Chapter 7: Not Yet Explored ... Years of work by the "Pluto Underground" result in the New Horizons space mission
Chapter 8: Betting on the Tenth Planet ... An astronomer wins his wager by finding a world bigger than Pluto
READ EXCERPT FROM Chapter 9: The Battle of Prague ... Planethood becomes subject to scientific politics
Chapter 10: The Lighter Side of Pluto ... The public reacts to Pluto's plight with interest, and more than a few laughs
Chapter 11: The Great Planet Debate ... The debate over dwarf planets becomes a teachable moment
Chapter 12: Day of the Dwarfs ... Five mini-worlds get their day in the sun
Chapter 13: Planet X Redux ... Why there's probably another "Planet X" out there, and why it won't pose a threat
Chapter 14: Alien Plutos ... You think Pluto is weird? Wait until you hear about these extrasolar planets
READ EXCERPT FROM Chapter 15: The Case for Pluto ... Closing arguments? Hardly. This case is far from closed.
Appendix A: What to Tell Your Kids About Planets
Appendix B: The International Astronomical Union's Resolutions and Revisions
Appendix C: Planetary Vital Statistics
Acknowledgments, Notes, Selected Bibliography and Index

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