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Blue Dot 204: The Last Stargazers: A Conversation With Astronomer Emily Levesque

Dennis Wise


Life long amateur astronomer Dave Schlom is joined by professional astronomer Emily Levesque to talk about her recently published book: The Last Stargazers: True Tales of The Colorful and Vanishing World of Observational Astronomy. A kind love letter to her fellow professionals, Emily takes us on a tour of some of the world's greatest observatories perched on remote mountain tops and explains how professional astronomy is actually practiced.

Levesque takes us also on a tour through the history of astrophysics from the time of using fragile glass plates to record images to the digital revolution that has replaced photography in astronomical imaging. One thing that has held constant, the drive of astronomers to understand the mysteries of the universe. 

"Emily's book was so fun to read," said Schlom. "At times funny and other poignant, it's the best book I've read on the subject since Timothy Ferris's The Red Limit back in 1977." Talking astronomy comes naturally to both Levesque and Blue Dot's host so get ready for a trip around the world and across the universe.



Dave Schlom has taught the physical sciences at Corning Union High School since 1991. A lifelong amateur astronomer and astronomy educator, he has a passion for both the earth and the space sciences, which are the principal areas of focus for guests on Blue Dot. He started doing radio interviews on space and astronomy topics for local stations like KFM and KPAY in the 1980s and into the 90s, where he was a popular go-to guest for local radio personalities. He is also an expert on the history and geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where he has served as a volunteer for decades. Dave enjoys a quiet life at home with his partner in life, Cheryl, and their two dogs, Elvis and Pearl, at their Red Bluff residence.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.