Astronomer Emily Levesque describes her adventures with the scrappy (and shrinking) crew of scientists working with stars and telescopes. She dissects both the romance and the real human curiosity that is so important to our exploration of space, showing how scientists are going beyond the machines to infuse important creativity and intimate passion into the stars.
This is no dry technical narrative. Levesque knows how to tell a story, and her conversational style and clear, easygoing prose bring readers into the action, whether it’s her own first experience of a total eclipse or another astronomer’s discovery of a supernova with the naked eye. Readers will learn what it takes to be granted access to a single night of observation at one of the world’s premier telescopes or to ride along in NASA’s flying SOFIA telescope—and what happens when things go wrong. This is also an introduction to the community of astronomers working today, many of whom Levesque interviewed for her book and whose stories help make her narrative shine. She even devotes a section to how technology may change the field for future astronomers ... the perfect complement to a summer night under the stars.
Levesque charts a course through the rapidly evolving field of astronomy. With humor and heart, she explains the basics of what astronomers do while relating dozens of entertaining anecdotes about her chosen field. She also makes a strong case for why humans should continue to study the skies ... Warm, engaging and packed with highly accessible science, The Last Stargazers is thoroughly entertaining and an impetus for readers to take up a little stargazing of their own.
This book is a well-organized account of astronomy’s mechanics (accessible explanations of technologies and space phenomena), misadventures (funny, poignant, and invigorating narratives about astronomers past and present), and metaphorical resonance ... Levesque is unabashedly passionate and reverent without ignoring the continued problems of racism, sexism, and settler colonialism present in science. She illuminates the field’s culture in clear and enjoyable prose with a wonderfully earnest sense of humor. Rudimentary physics knowledge will enhance the reading experience, but it is not necessary. Childhood stargazers who have since become inquisitive adults, and any fans of Sagan’s Cosmos, will devour this book.