A sweeping inquiry into how the night sky has shaped what it means to be human.
One of our species’ most enduring and universal relationships has been with the night sky itself – yet in the glow of today’s artificial lighting, we have forgotten this intimacy with the cosmos.
In Starborn, cosmologist Roberto Trotta reveals how stargazing has shaped the course of civilisation. Origin myths made the Sun into a life-giving creator and the Milky Way a gateway for departed souls. The motion of celestial bodies sustained the illusion that the Earth was at the centre of the cosmos – until looking at them more closely sparked the Scientific Revolution.
Across the ages, the stars have served as clocks, maps, compasses, muses, and gods, defining our laws of reality and our dreams of the sublime. How radically different would we be if we looked to the night sky and saw . . . nothing? Trotta also offers a dramatic alternate history, imagining how a world without stars would change our understanding of science, art, and ourselves.
Revealing the fundamental connections between astronomy and the story of civilisation, Starborn summons us to lose ourselves in the immeasurable vastness above – and will change how you think of the night sky forever.