On My Bookshelf: The Last Stargazers

The Last Stargazers Book CoverIt’s one of the best science non-fiction books I’ve read this year. Astronomer Emily Levesque accomplishes something informative and accessible in her book. It’s been well-regarded by reviewers and readers alike.

When I started reading, I thought it was going to be a bit of a memoir, the progress of a science-precocious child to a working astronomer. But most of the book involves a personal story as a doorway into various strains of modern astronomy: supernova research, radio telescopes, spectroscopy, as well as topics like sexism and racism in science, and the controversy that sometimes arises over the use of mountains for telescopes. My favorite chapter involved the American eclipse of 2017 and Dr Levesque’s experience with family in Wyoming.

From the author’s pen:

I wrote this book to capture the human stories of working at telescopes. The past decades of astronomy may have gathered less data than the telescopes of the future, but they also offered a rich set of experiences for the observers who lived through them.

The retelling of those experiences make this book excellent. These are stories you won’t get in a high school text or a college class. They lift this book to a level beyond the usual popular science offering.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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