Your Ticket to the Universe

A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos, by Megan Watzke & Kimberly Arcand


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Further information for press/media:

  1. Authors’ Bio

    KIMBERLY K. ARCAND and MEGAN WATZKE have a combined thirty years of experience working to bring the wonders of the cosmos to the public. Megan is the press officer and Kim is the visualization lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has its headquarters at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are the authors of dozens of published media articles and scholarly journal articles.

    Megan’s full bio

    Kim’s full bio

  1. Book Description

    Fasten your seat belt, sit back, relax, and enjoy this well-organized tour of the cosmos with your expert tour guides, Megan Watzke and Kimberly K. Arcand of NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. In this book, they provide all the best views of the Universe, with gorgeous photography taken by the Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer space telescopes. Your tour begins on Earth, then to the Moon and the Sun before stopping at all the major attractions in our Solar System. Your guides provide informative and entertaining explanations as you soar across the Milky Way, collide with galaxies near and far, experience the gravitational effects of dark matter, and ponder mysterious cosmic energies. You will discover so much by trip’s end and will be further amazed by how much is left to be explored in this vast Universe.

  1. Author Photos (high res)

    Megan Watzke (jpg). Photo courtesy of Adeline and Grace Photography

    Kimberly Arcand (jpg). Photo courtesy of Adeline and Grace Photography

  1. Book Information

    Title: Your Ticket to the Universe

    Subtitle: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos

    Release Date: April 2, 2013

    Publisher: Smithsonian Books

    Paperback: 224 pages, 200 color images

    ISBN-10: 1588343758

    ISBN-13: 978-1588343758

    Language: English

  1. Buying information

    Your Ticket to the Universe was released April 2, 2013 from Smithsonian Books

    Order a copy at Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound

  1. Contact information

    Kim:  /  Twitter @kimberlykowal

    Megan: /  Twitter @megwatzke


  1. Sample interview questions (.pdf)

  1. FAQ’s

  1. Book Trailer/Teaser in HD on YouTube

  1. Sample chapter/excerpts

    A short selection (6 pages) from chapter 2:  Introduction to Light (pdf)  

    A longer selection (18 pages) from chapter 5:  The Birth and Life of Stars (pdf)

  1. Press release (Your Ticket to the Universe Press Release.pdf)

  1. Endorsements:

    "This is the "Goldilocks" book for a reader who wants more than pretty pictures, but less than a treatise on astrophysics.  It's a great "ticket" to that space in-between the coffee table book and the text book.  Just enough extra information to understand why these beautiful images of the Universe matter, to us all."

    -Dr. Alyssa Goodman, Harvard professor of astronomy

   "A delightful jaunt through space and time, equal parts knowing verve and dazzling views.”

    -Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

    "The Universe is the ultimate ride, and this book is your ticket to get on. Arcand and Watzke use gorgeous images as well as clear, easy-to-understand prose, so you'll really enjoy the view as you travel from Earth to infinity."

    -Dr. Phil Plait, Astronomer and author (

  1. Recent Reviews & Features

    "A brand new treasure for our library of dreams."

    "This book is basically a masterclass in astronomy outreach and education. Its as if the authors got together somewhere and decided to put down on paper The Best Astronomy Outreach Presentation Ever, to show everyone else how to do it."

    “This is my favorite kind of astronomy book. Although I look at images like the ones in Your Ticket to the Universe online every day, there’s something special about having them physically in front of you in print — and well-written text that can be understood by everyone is crucial, in my opinion, as it means a book may very well become an inspiration to a whole new generation of scientists and explorers.”

    “Ultimately, Your Ticket to the Universe is a science book that remains highly readable for non-scientists because of the authors’ skill at explaining complex concepts in simple yet accurate terms.”

    “[You] do not need to be a scientist to appreciate the beauty of the universe, and this book is an excellent way to share that knowledge. Highly recommended!”

    “Every page, from crater to quasar, is a testament to how much authors Kimberly Arcand and Megan their work.”

    “If a picture really is worth a thousand words, you’ll find yourself reading Your Ticket to the Universe over and over again!”

    “Lavishly illustrated," "a fine tour guide".

    “Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos” incorporates everything from baseball to van Gogh to explain things like the electromagnetic spectrum and interstellar dust clouds.”

    "This is a sleek book that begins here on earth then ranges far and wide, based on an outgrowth of...what you and I see is very limited."

    “Your Ticket to the Universe adds another triumph to the list of Arcand and Watzke’s image-heavy endeavors.”


Book cover image. Jacket Design by Bill Anton | Service Station