Authors' Bios   

Govert Schilling

Govert is a self-taught astronomy writer and populariser in the Netherlands. As a teenager, he started out as an amateur astronomer after seeing the planet Saturn through a three-inch telescope. Although Govert never lost his interest in astronomy, he did not pursue an academic career. Instead, he trained as a mechanical engineer and subsequently became a picture researcher for a Dutch encyclopedia publisher and editor-in-chief of the Dutch amateur astronomy monthly magazine Zenit.

In 1982 Govert was hired as a scriptwriter and programme editor by the planetarium in Amsterdam. He also began to write newspaper and magazine stories about astronomy, and his first book was published in late 1985. In 1987 the planetarium moved to Artis (the Amsterdam zoo) and Govert continued to produce popular planetarium shows, including a children’s show based on Sesame Street characters, for which he received an Award of Excellency from Children’s Television Workshop.

For many years Govert combined his part-time job for the Artis Planetarium with his freelance work for newspapers, magazines, radio and television. In 1998 he became a full-time freelancer. He writes about astronomy and space science for the Dutch daily national newspaper de Volkskrant, for a number of other Dutch weekly and monthly magazines, for New Scientist and BBC Sky at Night in the United Kingdom, and for Sky & Telescope (for which he is a contributing editor), Science and Scientific American.

Govert has written almost fifty books on various astronomical topics, from children’s books and simple sky guides to topical books about new developments in astronomy. Some of his books have been translated into German and English, including Flash! The Hunt for the Biggest Explosions in the Universe, Evolving Cosmos, and The Hunt for Planet X.

He is also the owner and editor of the popular Dutch astronomy portal site In 2002 he received the prestigious Dutch Eureka Prize for his contribution to the popularisation of science and technology.

Asteroid 10986 was named Govert by the International Astronomical Union in 2007.

Lars Lindberg Christensen

Lars is a science communication specialist heading the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre group in Munich, Germany, where he is responsible for public outreach and education for the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in Europe. He obtained his Master’s Degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Before assuming his current position, he spent a decade working as a science communicator and technical specialist for the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen.

Lars has more than 100 publications to his credit, most of them in popular science communication and its theory. His other productive interests cover several major areas of communication, including graphical, written, technical and scientific communication. He has written a number of books, notably The Hands-On Guide for Science Communicators and Hubble — 15 Years of Discovery. His books have been translated to Finnish, Portuguese, Danish, German and Chinese.

He has produced material for a multitude of different media from star shows, laser shows and slide shows, to web, print, television and radio. His methodology is focussed on devising and implementing innovative strategies for the production of efficient science communication and educational material. This work involves collaborations with highly skilled graphics professionals and technicians. Some of the products of these collaborations are visible at:

Lars is Press Officer for the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a founding member and secretary of the IAU Commission 55 Communicating Astronomy with the Public (, manager of the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator project, executive editor of the peer-reviewed Communicating Astronomy with the Public journal, director of the Hubblecast video podcast, manager of the IAU International Year of Astronomy Secretariat and the Executive producer and director of the science documentary Hubble — 15 Years of Discovery. In 2005 Lars was the youngest recipient so far of the Tycho Brahe Medal for his achievements in science communication.

Lars lives in Garching near Munich, Germany, with his wife and son.