Slide The Last Stargazers
The Enduring Story of
Astronomy's Vanishing
Explorers
Publishers Weekly Starred Review Order at The Last Stargazers Book Cover

The evening had been going excellently until one of the control room computers produced an unsettling “bloonk” noise, prompting the telescope operator — the only other person with me on the mountain — to freeze in her seat. When I asked what was up, she cautiously informed me that one of the mechanized supports holding up a mirror had just failed, but “it’s okay, I think the mirror is still on the telescope…”


“…You THINK?”


“Yeah. If it wasn’t we would have heard a crash.”

Lab Girl meets Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,
The Last Stargazers follows astronomer Emily Levesque around the world as she celebrates the ragtag group of heroes behind the telescope.

The story of the people who see beyond the stars

Humans from the earliest civilizations were spellbound by the night sky-craning their necks each night, they used the stars to orient themselves in the large, strange world around them. Stargazing is a pursuit that continues to fascinate us: from Copernicus to Carl Sagan, astronomers throughout history have spent their lives trying to answer the biggest questions in the universe. Now, award-winning astronomer Emily Levesque shares the stories of modern-day stargazers, the people willing to adventure across high mountaintops and to some of the most remote corners of the planet, all in the name of science.

In The Last Stargazers, Levesque takes readers inside the most powerful telescopes in the world and introduces them to the people who run them. She also explores the future of one of the most ancient and inspiring scientific disciplines as we gain the ability to see farther beyond our planet than ever before while relying increasingly on code and computers to study the stars.

From the lonely quiet of midnight stargazing to tall tales of wild bears loose in the observatory, The Last Stargazers is a love letter to astronomy and an affirmation of the crucial role that humans can and must play in the future of scientific discovery.

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Praise for The Last Stargazers

Starred Review

Publishers Weekly

Levesque, a University of Washington astronomy professor, leads readers on a pilgrimage to observatories throughout the world in her wonderful debut… [A]ny stargazer would enjoy this joyous adventure through modern astronomy. [Read More]

Kirkus Reviews

An astronomy professor captures the human stories—from the quirky to the luminous—of her discipline…Entertaining, ardent tales from an era of stargazing that may not last much longer. [Read More]

Library Journal

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. [Read More]

Booklist

She illuminates the field’s culture in clear and enjoyable prose with a wonderfully earnest sense of humor… Childhood stargazers who have since become inquisitive adults, and any fans of Sagan’s Cosmos, will devour this book. [Read More]

Shelf Awareness

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. [Read More]

Upcoming Events

August 25

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Astronomers journey to some of the most inaccessible parts of the globe while handling equipment worth millions. It is a life of unique delights and absurdities, and one that may […]

Observations from other stargazers

Emily’s book is a compulsive read. It demonstrates what being an observational astronomer is really like – the highs, the lows and the unscheduled things that can happen at telescopes around the world! Give this book to every young person (especially the girls!) that you know who likes math and science.

Astrophysicist, Oxford, Recipient of Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Emily Levesque is smart and funny, and her insider’s tale of stars and the astronomers who study them bursts with color and energy.

author of The Clockwork Universe

Edward Dolnick

If you’ve ever wondered what astronomers do–what they really do–and the human journey from the era of eyepieces to gigantic robotic cameras, The Last Stargazers puts you there with compelling honesty, following the scientists and students with hundred-ton telescopes as backdrop.

author of When The Earth had Two Moons

Erik Asphaug

It’s like catching a glimpse of the magic behind the curtain galaxies away and leaves you hanging on every spectacular word. A must-read for anyone who has looked up at the sky and felt a sense of wonder as well as those considering the world of astrophysics and astronomy.

host of Mythbusters: The Search and STEM speaker

Tamara Robertson

Through captivating stories, Levesque gives us both a vivid and accessible inside look at the enigmatic mountain-top astronomers. A unique and engaging read.

professor of astronomy at MIT

Sara Seager

Astronomy is dangerous. Wild (sometimes venomous) animals, thin air, heavy equipment, hazardous chemicals… Dr. Levesque captures all this with amusement and personal experience, making this a delightful read for everyone.

astronomer and author of Bad Astronomy

Phil Plait

The perfect primer for a future astronomer or an amateur astronomy buff, it captures the highlights, lowlights, and day-to-day life of the professional stargazer.

creator of SMBC Comics, New York Times best-selling author/illustrator of Soonish and Open Borders

Zach Weinersmith

The Last Stargazers is perfect for anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to actually be an astronomer, or who has dreamt of staring up at the stars. Amidst the stories of mishaps and mistakes is a surprisingly romantic view of the glory of exploration, taken one dark night at a time.

astrophysicist and host of BBC's The Sky at Night

Chris Lintott

The awesome endeavours and intellectual adventures…of astronomers are gloriously portrayed from the mind of a wonderful practitioner, Emily Levesque. Her range of experiences and insights through the recent period of rapid developments and future planning in this progressive human effort gloriously reach out to everyone.

professor and former director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory

Alec Boksenberg

Emily Levesque depicts the adventurous life of professional hands-on astronomers…I have hugely enjoyed this book. It is engaging, humorous, full of quotes and stories of well-reputed colleagues

2018 Eddington Medal for Astronomy, University of Portsmouth professor

Claudia Maraston