The Stargazers

The Stargazers

Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest aren’t your usual astronomers, Yes, they’re qualified astrophysicists; but their mission is to share with you the fantastic Cosmos we inhabit.
The Stargazers both got the bug when they were eight years old: after all when you're that age it's either dinosaurs or space!

They met at Leicester University, studying astrophysics, before Heather moved to research at Oxford, and Nigel at Cambridge. But they both realised that academia wasn't their scene; and hit the media seriously.

Their first book was published when they were still students. It's been followed by around fifty others for the international market, many of them picking up awards. While Nigel initially concentrated in journalism (including being Astronomy Consultant to New Scientist magazine), Heather waded into the deep waters of broadcasting, presenting two major television series for Channel 4, as well appearing extensively on radio.

Together, Heather and Nigel hosted the long running international radio series Seeing Stars on BBC World Service. The Stargazers team have also led many expeditions to remote parts of the world - ranging from Sumatra to China - to observe total eclipses of the Sun. In addition, Heather was chief astronomer on Concorde on her Halley's Comet flight to New Zealand.

With an ex-BBC colleague, Heather and Nigel then set up Pioneer Productions, one of the leading factual TV production companies in the world. Their award-winning international documentaries include On Jupiter, Black Holes and Universe.

The International Astronomical Union has honoured The Stargazers with real estate in space: asteroid 3922 is officially named Heather, and number 3795 is designated Nigel.

The Stargazers give presentations all over the world - from the US to Australia, Colombia to China - as well as after-dinner talks and corporate functions. Plus cruise ships, including Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria; and P&O's Arcadia.




Professor Heather Couper CBE, FRAS

Heather was first woman President of the British Astronomical Association and first female Professor in 400 years at London's Gresham College.

She's always been fascinated by astronomy. It all started at the age of eight, when she saw a green shooting star. Two years later, she had her first telescope.

After a mistaken foray into the world of retailing (management trainee at Top Shop), Heather studied astrophysics at Leicester University, followed by research at Oxford. She went on to become Senior Lecturer at the Greenwich Planetarium, which led to a string of appearances on Patrick Moore's The Sky at Night. She has since presented three TV series - Heavens Above, The Planets, and The Stars - and many radio series on BBC Radio 4. Her most monumental was the 30-part series Cosmic Quest, detailing the history of astronomy.

The next milestone for Heather was becoming Professor of Astronomy at centuries-old Gresham College in the City of London. She was the first woman to hold any Professorship at Gresham, and followed in the footsteps of Sir Christopher Wren. She holds the Professorship in perpetuity. She was invited onto the Millennium Commissiion, selecting projects (like Eden and the Leicester Space Centre) that would transform the country.

Heather is also a prolific writer for the general public. She has written over 40 books, many of them bestsellers. She gives presentations all over the world from China to Colombia, the USA to Europe.

For her services to science, she was awarded a CBE in 2007.


Professor Nigel Henbest, FRAS

Inspired by the Apollo landings on the Moon, and by the mysteries of space - black holes, the Big Bang and alien life - Nigel has spent his life exploring deep space, and communicating the excitement of the Universe and space travel.

Born in Manchester, Nigel grew up in Belfast before studying at Leicester University and researching in radio astronomy at Cambridge. He is now a prolific science communicator, having penned over 40 books and 1000 articles that have been translated into 17 languages.

A former Astronomy Consultant on New Scientist magazine, Nigel has also been Editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, media consultant to the Royal Greenwich Observatory and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 science quiz The Litmus Test.

Nigel's 60+ television credits include Challenger: Countdown to Disaster, How the Universe Works and Black Holes. He has given major presentations around the world, from Australia and China to the Queen Mary 2.

In addition, Nigel is signed up as a Future Astronaut with Virgin Galactic, and has already undertaken his astronaut training in the centrifuge and on the zero-gravity flight ('Vomit Comet'). He has also travelled to the South Pole with Buzz Aldrin. Nigel gives solo talks on these topics: see the Nigel Henbest entry on Speakersden.



BOOKS
Between them, The Stargazers have written 50 books. This is a summary of the best-sellers.

STARGAZING 2019
The leading annual month-by month-guide to the night sky. It's been going strong since 2005.

THE ASTRONOMY BIBLE
A comprehensively chunky book, packed with essential information for viewing the heavens, along with a concise description of planets, stars and galaxies.

THE HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY
A beautifully illustrated overview of the whole history of astronomical investigation; plus anecdotes about the maverick researchers along the way.

UNIVERSE
An art gallery celebrating the most beautiful images of the Cosmos.

MARS: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE RED PLANET
Mars revealed: from its infamous canals to the current search for life.

THE GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
A unique, in-depth probe of our own star-city which has become a cult book.

SPACE ATLAS
A grand introduction to space and astronomy, suitable for young people, too. It has sold over half a million copies.

THE NEW ASTRONOMY
A pioneering book comparing views of the Universe as seen at different wavelengths, from light to radio waves and X-rays.
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Price from: £ 3,000

Keynotes

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COSMIC QUEST

Over 40,000 years of the history of astronomy, from Stonehenge and ancient Australian lore to planets of other stars - featuring the wacky characters who often made the major breakthroughs, including a Persian poet, a Danish nobleman and a German musician.
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ET – PLEASE PHONE EARTH

Extraterrestrial life: does it exist? An investigation that ranges from the sands of Mars to the icy moons; from the depths of Earths oceans to the thousands of planets orbiting other stars; and from bizarre theories of UFOs to the search for a radio message from real-life aliens.
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THE UNIVERSE EXPLAINED

All your cosmic Q&As answered, a presentation based on inspirational and off-the-wall questions that The Stargazers are asked, at talks or down the pub - from Why is the sky blue? to What happened before the Big Bang? Not to mention Can you see planets with the naked eye?, Is there alien life? and Whats inside a black hole?
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MARS – THE RED PLANET REVEALED

The inside story of Mars, from its infamous canals to the present-day invasion of spacecraft probing the Red Planet for signs of life. The Stargazers investigate claims that NASA found living Martian microbes in 1976; and check out the latest plans for astronauts to land on Mars.
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BEARS, BULLS AND AIRPUMPS

The sky is full of strange constellation patterns, from a Great Bear to an Airpump - not to mention the menagerie making up the Zodiac, along with Table Mountain and a Chisel. The Chinese see a war-chariot in the heavens; and the native Australians a Emu. Who created the patterns in the sky and why?
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VISIONS OF THE COSMOS

An Art Gallery of the Universe, where The Stargazers bring you the most stunning images of the Universe from picturesque planets and glorious galaxies to the iconic Pillars of Creation - along with an insiders guide to the science behind the spectacle.
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BLACK HOLES

Gravitys ultimate triumph: a lurking celestial beast devouring everything that comes its way. Some black holes are snacking on companion stars; while supermassive black holes wreak devastation on whole galaxies. But how do black holes form; how can astronomers discover a black hole against the darkness of space; and what happens inside...?
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COMETS – CELESTIAL VERMIN

Of all astronomical objects, comets are most associated with doom and destruction - ghostly interlopers hanging in the sky with long luminous tails. Halleys Comet has appeared throughout history, most notably before the Battle of Hastings. But are comets all bad news? New research suggest they actually brokered life on Earth.
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THE DAY THE SUN DISAPPEARED

A total eclipse of the Sun is the most beautiful sight youll witness in the sky - and the most terrifying. The familiar bright orb is replaced by a monster: a black disc sprouting twisted tendrils. The Stargazers - veterans of seven total eclipse - share the primal fear and the awesome science of the day the Sun disappears.
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THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

Inspirational talk based on Heather and Nigels lives in astronomy and the media. From keen young backyard stargazers, they researched at Oxford and Cambridge at the cutting edge of astrophysics, before becoming leading figures in the media. The Stargazers show how anyone with a passionate commitment to astronomy - or any of the sciences - can scale the ultimate heights.
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STARRY STANZAS

An entertaining after-dinner talk, featuring poems about the sky that range from the sublimely inspirational to down-to-Earth doggerel!

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