Aquarter century after giving up his first telescope, Charles Laird Calia lay down one evening on his front lawn with his two young daughters, looked up at the stars, and rediscovered a childhood passion. Part primer on the science and history of astronomical observation, part love poem to the night sky, The Stargazing Year is an amateur astronomer's beautifully written account of a year spent observing the cosmos and building an observatory in his New England backyard.
What has inspired millions of people over the millennia to sit quietly in the dark, studying the stars? In twelve chapters spanning the twelve months of the night sky, Calia elegantly weaves the history of amateur astronomy and astronomers with a humorous account of his own obsessive quest to build the ideal backyard observatory. From Galileo's first telescope to the star-infused poetry of Robert Frost, The Stargazing Year details the trials and passions that have fueled amateur astronomers for centuries. It also sheds light on a vibrant new generation of stargazers who, thanks to the affordable equipment available today, have made inroads into the study of variable stars and comets that have proven immensely valuable to scientists. The story of how, one starlit evening, the galaxy opened its arms again to one man again, The Stargazing Year is a paean to the universe and its many mysteries.show more