Twenty-Five Astronomical Observations That Changed the World

And How To Make Them Yourself


"Twenty-Five Astronomical Observations That Changed the World" takes twenty-five journeys through space, back in time and into human history. We begin with the simplest sight of the Tycho Crater on the Moon, through a repeat of Galileo's observations of Jupiter's moons, and then move out towards the nebulae, stars, and galaxies. The astronomical observations repeat the original groundbreaking discoveries that have changed our understanding of science and ourselves.

This title contains graded observing challenges from the straightforward to the more difficult (in chapter order). It offers clear observing tips and lots of practical help, presuming no prior in-depth knowledge of equipment. Binoculars and/or a small astronomical telescope are all that is required for most of the observations.

Secondly, it explores for each observation the science of what is seen, adding to the knowledge and enjoyment of amateur astronomers and offering lots of reading for the cloudy nights when there is not a star in view.

Thirdly, the book puts the amateur astronomers' observations into a wider perspective. "Twenty-Five Astronomical Observations That Changed the World" makes the observer part of that great story of discovery.

Each chapter, each observing challenge, shows how to observe and then how to look with understanding. The projects begin with practicalities: where the object is, how best is it observed and with what appropriate equipment (usually a small-to-medium aperture amateur telescope, binoculars, even the naked eye).

"Twenty-Five Astronomical Observations that Changed the World" guides even the inexperienced amateur astronomer - beginners can use the book - around a variety of night-sky objects, and reminds the more experienced how they can best be seen. These practical observations put us in contact with all the history and culture surrounding them: through scientific speculation and literature to those first fuzzy images made in 1959 by the Russian space probe Luna 3.

  • Springer New York; June 2013
  • ISBN 9781461468004
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Twenty-Five Astronomical Observations That Changed the World
  • Author: Michael Marett-Crosby
  • Imprint: Springer

In The Press

“This book shows how not everything has been so throughout the history of astronomy, and how observations of some objects and details on them have changed the way that humankind views the Universe or their place in it. … I found that it is an excellent book … . I think it's a better first books for observations than any big atlas or guide to specific types of objects. Perfect book to accompany a first telescope.” (, December, 2016) 

“This book may provide an incentive for some undergraduate students and general readers to observe objects that they might not otherwise consider. Marett-Crosby, an amateur astronomer in the UK, places many of the historical observations in context. … useful for novice astronomical observers. Summing Up: Recommended. … Lower-division undergraduates and general readers.” (J. R. Kraus, Choice, Vol. 51 (7), March, 2014)

About The Author

Dr. Marett-Crosby obtained both an MA and PhD from the university of Oxford. After working as a pastoral counselor in academia and in the UK prison service (as a counselor and educator), he became, in 2005, a full-time writer working from his home on the channel island of Jersey. His published books include The Conversion of England (Abbey Press 1998);  the majority of Doing Business with Benedict (Continuum 2002). His most recent project is a novel, Two Thirds Man, which is currently with agents. Parts of this novel have already won national short story prizes. He speaks and writes on astronomical subjects, and believes practical astronomy is important in building bridges between science and the liberal arts. 

A lifelong student of astronomy, he has been an enthusiastic amateur astronomer for most of his life, and is fortunate to be able to view the night sky from the enviable viewpoint of the UK’s southernmost outpost.