Starlight Detectives #279

August 22, 2014

This week, we're exploring the night sky and the history of astronomy. Physics professor Alan Hirshfeld joins us to talk about his book "Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe." And we'll speak to stargazer Chris Beckett about amateur astronomy, and his work with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.


  • Alan Hirshfeld
  • Chris Beckett

Guest Bios

Alan Hirshfeld

Alan Hirshfeld, Professor of Physics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and an Associate of the Harvard College Observatory, is the author of "Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe"; "Parallax: The Race to Measure the Cosmos"; "The Electric Life of Michael Faraday"; and "Eureka Man: The Life and Legacy of Archimedes". He lectures widely about science history and discovery and is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Sky and Telescope, the American Journal of Physics, BBC History Magazine, and American Scientist.

Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett is has been stargazing since early childhood and involved in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for almost 2-decades. He is currently the President of Regina Centre, the National Observing Chair for the entire organization and a Partner of Grasslands National Park Dark Sky Preserve. Originally a maritimer, Chris moved to Regina in 2009 where he has taught 8 astronomy and stargazing classes at the University of Regina and helped coordinate hundreds of events during this time reaching more than 100,000 individuals. He is currently study how public policy can improve astronomy outreach as part of his Masters degree.