Like time machines, observatories reveal distant objects as they once existed, almost too far away to imagine. Their telescopes are our portals to the Universe, to let us understand how it works.
This book charts the progress of astronomy through the observatories used throughout history, from the earliest such as Stonehenge, to places like Birr Castle with its Leviathan telescope used by Herschel. There are places where the secrets of the universe were first unlocked by science. The book also describes instruments now in use around the planet. These technological marvels range from the Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawai'i to Antarctica. In addition, astronomers today use an array of orbiting observatories, and the book looks at Hubble, solar telescopes, and the most advanced telescopes launching in the near future (such as James Webb Space Telescope), plus ground-based observatories which now have near 'Hubble' standards of accuracy, despite peering into space through our atmosphere.
Astronomers can now routinely look across the cosmos, at dim objects that existed at nearly the beginning of time. They have studied distant earth-type planets, delved into stellar birthplaces, examined the minutiae of stellar explosions and galaxy collisions, and searched out the signatures of chemical elements that form the basis of our planets and ourselves. This book looks at the amazing science that has been done using the world's suite of observatories and spacecraft. It presents examples of astronomical discoveries made across the spectrum and the universe, using illustrations to give the reader a clear visual impression of the depth and breadth of astronomy research being done. These can show the most distant galaxies, the first stars, and neighbouring stars with planets, all made visible by astronomers' and scientists' ingenuity over centuries. They extend humanity's vision out across the light-years.
Carolyn Collins Petersen is a writer and producer with extensive experience in a variety of media. Her award‐winning work has appeared in seven books and a number of magazine articles, three major exhibit projects, Web‐based science and technology venues, and more than two dozen documentary scripts for fulldome theaters. Carolyn is also CEO of Loch Ness Productions, an innovative production company. She provides outreach consultation, writing, editing, and other professional services to observatories, museums, planetariums, private companies, and research institutions.