Reviews on Amazon for ‘A Breathtaking Window on the Universe’

A Breathtaking Window cover

“A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: A guide to the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos SECOND EDITION”
By Sheila M. Crosby
(Non-Fiction Paperback)
164 pages

Welcome to the Roque de Los Muchachos, where 17 telescopes from 19 nations use the best night sky in Europe to explore the cosmos. Find out what it’s like to work in this strange world above the clouds. Learn about each telescope, how they’re run, and a little of what they’ve discovered.

This book is written for the general public rather than professional astronomers, with over 120 photos and diagrams, and a full glossary of all the technical terms for non-geeks.

Reviews on  (All 5 star!)

What a fantastic book covering Astronomy in a language that could be understood by a layman and one of a few books with travel information on the Island of La Palma. Highly recommended.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sheila Crosby’s “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe”—a guide to the observatory at Rogue de Los Muchachos on the Canary Islands of Telerife and La Palma.

Having visited there and experiencing the actual tour led by Ms Crosby, the book is an added bonus of grasping an in-depth understanding and amazement of life and the working mechanism of the observatories on these islands. Reading along is as close to an ‘audio book’, as I can hear Ms Crosby speak as I picture the delightful metaphors and euphemisms she vividly paints with her words.

The reader may wish to pass this book to share the joy with others but this book is a keeper! It informs as much as it entertains, with accurate facts and statistics to refer back time and time again. The contents Ms Crosby’s engineering skills has documented is presented with an abundance of illustrations and though being present is a treat, the reader is easily transported there, (especially with the full page breathtaking photograph of the star trails over the Rogue.

I truly found this to be an easy read. The dry facts became a page turner in anticipation of what’s next. Among other areas covered, the description of the unique plant species—and legends such as ‘tears of a weeping woman’, and real characters as the Raven Carmelo, are precious to this being a totally complete guide that Sheila Crosby has compiled and presented! Both Technician and non technical reader will be rewarded with a satisfaction that leaves nothing more to ask. I do recommend this book!


An awesome tour of science in action

After a visit to the Roque de Los Muchachos, I felt inclined to learn more about this surreal place, and hence bought a copy of this book. I’m wishing now that I bought a copy before the trip, so as to appreciate the visit more. There’s plenty of detail in the book about all the telescopes, so it ought to please the keen amateur astronomers out there. The book includes some interesting human aspects, including for example, a brief history of La Palma’s summit, and the sheer madness of tourists left stranded in freezing conditions in their cars wearing shorts and t-shirts (intrigued? read the book!). Sheila’s style of writing is accessible to all, and yet fascinating to the point that you feel the inner geek in you squeak with glee! There are plenty of excellent quality photographs throughout the book too, and diagrams that help explain some of the complex science. There’s also a useful glossary at the back to help explain this harder to understand ideas, but don’t worry either way, as Sheila’s style of writing makes the science of the telescopes very accessible.

I can’t compare this book to any others on this subject, but I would otherwise highly recommended it whether you’re planning a trip to the area or otherwise. Either way, you’ll want to visit (again!) after reading it, I’m sure.


A fantastic guide to the telescopes at the top of the beautiful island of La Palma in the Canaries. It is more than just a book on the telescopes at the top of the extinct volcanic peak, it is also a great introduction to astronomy and why we go to extraordinary lengths to build these amazing instruments in remote location observing the dark skies. Beyond reading the book, go visit the island and the observatory with Sheila as your guide – you won’t be disappointed!

To see more details or to buy the book online, go to Dragon Tree Publishing. To see the list of places on La Palma which stock it, go here.

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