Publication Date: June 11, 2024
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A top astronomer reveals why his field depends on luck
If you learn about the scientific method, you learn that first we hypothesize about something we’ve experienced, and then we look for more of it. This works well enough—but what if you are interested in studying a heretofore unknown comet or supernova? That is the essential problem of the astronomer: the most important discoveries happen without notice!
Indeed, as Chris Lintott argues in Accidental Astronomy, luck defines astronomy. Lintott explores the ways in which happenstance shapes how we investigate the sky. To catch a glimpse of a comet, asteroid, or even a sign of alien life, we must be in the right place at the right time. And if we can’t be there, we must have a team of professionals and amateurs, across the globe, ready to spring into action at a moment’s—or a night’s—notice. For any astronomer, regardless of their experience or resources, the first step to discovery is the same: to stare at the sky and wait.
A celebration of astronomy, stargazing, and cosmic discovery, Accidental Astronomy offers an irresistible window into how luck defines our knowledge of the skies.
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