“Even today, amateurs trade images over the Internet that professional astronomers incorporate into their work. This abundant crossplay informs Starlight Detectives . . . Author Alan Hirshfeld explains how ‘the human eye itself was a fundamental roadblock to progress’ and how the heroes are the ones who made higher-quality telescopes and photographs. Those who applied substances like collodion, and then gelatin, to create crisper photographic negatives, are key here. And because of mounting technological advances, our era boasts great gains and great excitement. Hirshfeld sums it up: ‘The classical astronomer’s question, ‘Where is a star?’ evolved into the astrophysicist’s more profound inquiry, ‘What is a star?’”

Boston Globe

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