Amateur astronomers can make breathtaking discoveries. This new photobook on Kickstarter shows how

a black and white photograph of a group of people crowded around a telescope
People crowd around telescopes at the Spectro Star Party, L'Observatoire de Haute-Provence, France. (Image credit: Dan Homer)

Shining with a striking assembly of astronomy-centric imagery, a new Kickstarter campaign from artist Daniel Stephen Homer hopes to create what's being described as the world's first photobook exploring the deep global collaborations between amateur and professional astronomers.

This limited edition project, titled "Route de la Belle Etoile" (Route of the Beautiful Star), highlights the myriad accomplishments in the field of astronomy by amateur astronomers, weekend astrophotographers and backyard stargazers. It's an ambitious crowd-funded effort showcasing gorgeous black-and-white photographs of amateur astronomers and their observatories in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, India, Australia and Canada.

The Kickstarter page for the project launched on Feb. 6 and runs through March 7, 2024.

Related: Almost anyone can become an amateur astronomer. What will you find?

Amateur astronomer, Spectro Star Party, L'Observatoire de Haute-Provence, France. (Image credit: Dan Homer)

Here's a description from the book's Kickstarter campaign page:

"The night sky is vast. Professional astronomers have never had the resources to chart the heavens completely alone. Amateurs have long filled in the cracks.

"Shot across four continents, 'Route de la Belle Etoile' ('Route of the Beautiful Star') is the first photobook to document the world of amateur astronomers who have an outsized impact on professional astronomical research.

"Over five years, I traced this tangled web of collaborators, following small threads of amateur science - quite literally across the planet. But it is now complete. Blending the domestic and the scientific, the mundane and the cosmic, the final project is a sometimes-surreal journey into the world of astronomical citizen science. These amateur astronomers have contributed to the science of astronomy in very real, but largely unsung-ways." 

Trevor Barry's custom telescope, Broken Hill, Australia. (Image credit: Dan Homer)

Homer's special volume documents the private lives of many of the most accomplished of these notable citizen scientists, including Canadian Jack Newton, whose efforts in the search for the progenitor of Type Ib supernova 2010O in colliding galaxies Arp 299 led to his being named an investigator on the Hubble Space Telescope, and Dave Gault, who teamed up with fellow Australian Peter Nosworthy, to locate a moon around asteroid 2002 YE25. 

Upon publication, Homer's120-page, hand-signed book is expected to measure 245mm X 300mm and contain roughly 55 unique photographs, all to be printed at EBS Italy in May for a potential delivery sometime in November 2024. 

For additional information on reward levels and more sample images, please visit the illuminating project's official Kickstarter page, which ends on March 7, 2024.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.