Here’s the inspiring story of Edward Emerson Barnard, an American astronomer who overcame a hopeless life of abject poverty to become the most prolific and skilled observational astronomer of the past two centuries. His early photographs revealed the true nature of “dark clouds” that knot the Milky Way.
William Herschel (1738-1822) was the first astronomer to systematically look beyond the solar system into the depths of intergalactic space, and one of the most skilled observers of all time. His early sky survey formed the foundation of today’s NGC (New General Catalog) of deep sky objects.
A thumbnail sketch of Leslie Peltier (1900-1980), a man once named “the world’s greatest non-professional astronomer”. His book Starlight Nights is a must-read for anyone who loves the stars.
In 1846 Alvan Clark established a telescope factory at Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. Clark and his two sons, with almost no formal training, learned how to build the finest refracting telescopes in the world. Many of their instruments remain in use today.
The artist and architect Chesley Bonestell painted scenes of space exploration that inspired an entire generation of astronomers, artists, writers, engineers and visionaries.