The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers (Hardcover)

The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers By Emily Levesque Cover Image

The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers (Hardcover)


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The story of the people who see beyond the stars—an astronomy book for adults still spellbound by the night sky

Embark on a captivating cosmic journey with The Last Stargazers. This enthralling book takes you on an awe-inspiring exploration of the night sky, offering a unique perspective on the vast celestial wonders that have fascinated humanity for millennia.

Written by astrophysicist Dr. Emily Levesque, The Last Stargazers combines scientific expertise with captivating storytelling, making it the perfect companion for both astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds. Dr. Levesque's passion for the stars shines through as she shares her personal experiences and encounters while working at some of the world's most renowned observatories.

Delve into the fascinating world of astronomy as you uncover the secrets of distant galaxies, supernovae, and elusive celestial phenomena. 


  • Inspiring narratives: Dr. Levesque's engaging storytelling transports readers to the front lines of astronomical research, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of a modern-day stargazer.
  • Cutting-edge research: Stay up to date with the latest scientific breakthroughs and advancements in the field of astronomy, as Dr. Levesque shares her firsthand experiences and encounters.
  • Accessible explanations: Complex astronomical concepts are made understandable and relatable, allowing readers of all backgrounds to appreciate and comprehend the wonders of the cosmos.
  • Personal perspective: Gain insight into the personal journey of a dedicated scientist as she navigates the challenges and triumphs of studying the stars.

Whether you're a seasoned astronomer, a casual stargazer, or simply someone with a curiosity about the universe, The Last Stargazers is an indispensable guide that will ignite your passion for the cosmos and leave you in awe of the wonders that lie beyond. Take a leap into the vast unknown on a celestial odyssey like no other.

Emily Levesque is a professor at the University of Washington and lives in Seattle. She received her SB in physics from MIT and a PhD from the University of Hawaii. She has won the American Astronomical Society’s Annie Jump Cannon Award and Newton Lacy Pierce Prize, among other awards.

"[A]ny stargazer would enjoy this joyous adventure through modern astronomy." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"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." — Kirkus Reviews

"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." — Library Journal

"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." — Zach Weinersmith, New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of Soonish and Open Borders

"Childhood stargazers who have since become inquisitive adults, and any fans of Sagan’s Cosmos, will devour this book. " — Booklist

"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." — Erik Asphaug, author of When the Earth Had Two Moons

"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." — Phil Plait, astronomer and author of Bad Astronomy

"Emily Levesque is smart and funny, and her insider’s tale of stars and the astronomers who study them bursts with color and energy." — Edward Dolnick, author of The Clockwork Universe

"Levesque’s writing is witty and honest, and asks us all to reconsider our relationship with the Universe." — Science Focus

"Immensely readable, and worth recommending to anyone who ever saw a constellation, an eclipse or a shooting star, and wondered about giving chase." — Zenger News

"The awesome endeavours and intellectual adventures in the physical practice and gains in understanding that are the heart and passion 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 Alec Boksenberg, former director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory

"Emily Levesque depicts the adventurous life of professional hands-on astronomers, from the top of the Andes, Chile through the Arizona cliffs to Big Island, Hawaii, telling stories of the cosmic silence of an observing night. … I have hugely enjoyed this book. It is engaging, humorous, full of quotes and stories of well-reputed colleagues. To be read, before all astronomical observations become fully automatized!" — Professor Claudia Maraston, Eddington Medal for Astronomy 2018, University of Portsmouth

"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." — Dr. Chris Lintott, BBC The Sky at Night

"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." — Tamara Robertson, host of Mythbusters: The Search, STEM speaker

"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." — Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Astrophysicist, Oxford

"Through captivating stories, Levesque gives us both a vivid and accessible inside look at the enigmatic mountain-top astronomers. A unique and engaging read." — Sara Seager, professor of astronomy at MIT

"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." — Shelf Awareness

"Emily Levesque's The Last Stargazers takes you on a personal journey through the art, science, frustrations and passion of modern astronomy, especially those ever-evolving mountaintop tools that let us pry secrets out of the sky—those magnificent telescopes." — Brian Keating, author of Losing the Nobel Prize

"Immensely informative and inspiring, The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers is the perfect complement to a summer night under the stars." — BookPage

"The book is replete with anecdotes and the candid narrative style allows the reader a fly-on-the-wall view of the life of an astronomer. " — Nature Astronomy