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People, Stars, and Scopes

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Science  16 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5742, pp. 1817-1818
DOI: 10.1126/science.1117658

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Miss Leavitt's Stars. The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe. By George Johnson. Norton, New York, 2005. 176 pp. $22.95, C$34. ISBN 0-393-05128-5. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London. £14.99. ISBN 0-297-84647-7. Great Discoveries.

Stargazer. The Life and Times of the Telescope. By Fred Watson. Da Capo, Cambridge, MA, 2005. 352 pp. $24.95, C$32.95. ISBN 0-306-81432-3. Allen and Unwin, St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia, 2004. A$35. ISBN 1-865-08658-4.

Writing for a popular audience, the authors take a human-interest approach to the history of astronomy. Johnson focuses on the woman whose computations led to the use of Cepheid variable stars as a cos-mic yardstick. Watson highlights people who made important contributions to the development of optical telescopes over the past four centuries.