Accidental Astronomy

How Random Discoveries Shape the Science of Space


By Chris Lintott

Read by Chris Lintott

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  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged) $24.99
  2. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD
  3. Hardcover $30.00 $39.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 11, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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.  

  • “Chris Lintott has an eye for the most entertaining astronomical stories and the experience to take us behind the scenes. Highly recommended.”
    Tristan Gooley, author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs
  • “Grab a front row seat! Chris Lintott’s Accidental Astronomy is wonderfully engaging, full to bursting with remarkable, celestial tales of the unexpected.”
    Ananyo Bhattacharya, author of The Man from the Future
  • “A fascinating look at the strange and alien side of space from a wonderfully human astronomer.”
    Dr. Lucy Rogers, author of It's Only Rocket Science
  • “A scientific tour de force of the weird and wonderful. Chris brings these discoveries to life by telling the stories of the people behind the research, diving into the science history, and by sprinkling in a few joyful personal anecdotes. An absolutely delightful read.”
    Dr. Becky Smethurst, author of A Brief History of Black Holes

On Sale
Jun 11, 2024
Hachette Audio

Chris Lintott

About the Author

Chris Lintott is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford, after a stint at Adler Planetarium, Chicago, and the winner of the American Astronomical Society’s prestigious Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize. He is best known as co-presenter of the BBC’s long-running Sky at Night program. He is the author of The Crowd and the Cosmos and coauthor of Bang! He lives in Oxford, UK.

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