The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers

Sourcebooks. Aug. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781492681076. $25.99. SCI
Introduced to the wonders of the night sky as a toddler using a telescope in her backyard, Levesque (astronomy, Univ. of Washington, decides to become an astronomer. Here she combines memoir with the science of astronomy, written for general readers. She shares her own experiences, as well as those of dozens of friends and colleagues who study the universe. She relates the changes in large telescope observation techniques that led to the ability to control telescopes in remote locations from an office laptop, along with the different kinds of equipment that record myriad data from the universe. Levesque also details the increased participation of women in the field, discoveries confirming hypotheses, and how carefully planned observing time at telescopes can be derailed by high winds or an errant cloud. She also touches on the controversy over a planned new telescope in Hawaii.
VERDICT Levesque does a wonderful job explaining the science behind astronomy as she conveys the awe and beauty of the universe, the dedication of the people who study it, and the excitement of discovery in this fascinating account that will appeal to fans of narrative nonfiction and fellow stargazers.
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