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