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Non-fiction, popular science books

Megan and Kim have each been working, studying and/or researching in science and science communication for over twenty-five years.  They wrote their first book together in 2013 and had so much fun co-authoring they decided to try their hands at a few more books together.  Check out their recent book on 3D printing the Universe. They are currently working on a new children's book on Outrageous Outerspace. 


On July 16, 2024, an updated version of Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond will be out in paperback.  Read the recently posted Library Journal starred review! (more below) 


New!Updated version of a popular classic

Arcand & Watzke bring the entire spectrum to life and present the subject of light as never before in our new edition paperback releasing on July 16, 2024. Organized along the order of the electromagnetic spectrum—from Radio waves to Gamma rays—each chapter focuses on a different type of light.  With hundreds of stunning full-color photographs, including new images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the Event Horizon Telescope, and more, the new and updated Light is a joy to read and browse.  More at Hachette. 

*Starred Library Journal review*
VERDICT An essential purchase. This spectacular examination of light will impress curious readers eager to understand how light impacts their lives, from lighting the day to enabling X-rays in medical clinics to making cell phone calls.

Cover of new Light book
Earth and Space


Who we are

Dr. Kimberly Kowal Arcand is the Visualization scientist & emerging technology lead for the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has its headquarters at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   As a science data “story teller” she combines her backgrounds in biology and computer science with her current work in the field of astronomy and physics.  

Megan Watzke has spent her career sharing the wonders of science with the widest range of audiences possible. From her role as the press officer for the Chandra X-ray Observatory to her “public science” projects that inject science into daily experiences, she seeks to de-stigmatize science for everyone, but especially for underrepresented groups including women. 

Image by Andy Holmes


Selected previous/recent titles



By Arcand & Watzke

September 2022

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Astronomers have made remarkable discoveries about our Universe, despite their reliance on the flat projection, or 2D view, the sky has offered them. But now, drawing on the vast stores of data available from telescopes and observatories on the ground and in space, astronomers are using 3D technology to go beyond a flattened view of the cosmos. In Stars in Your Hand, Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke offer an illustrated guide to exploring the Universe in three dimensions, with easy-to-follow instructions for creating models of stars and constellations using a 3D printer and 3D computer imaging.
Stars in Your Hand and 3D technology make learning about space an adventure. Intrigued by the stunning images from high-powered telescopes? Using this book, you can fly virtually through a 3D spacescape and hold models of cosmic objects in your hand. Arcand and Watzke outline advances in 3D technology, describe some amazing recent discoveries in astronomy, reacquaint us with the night sky, and provide brief biographies of the telescopes, probes, and rovers that are bringing us so much data. They then offer images and instructions for printing and visualizing stars, nebulae, supernovae, galaxies, and even black holes in 3D. The 3D Universe is a marvel, and Stars in Your Hand serves as a unique and thrilling portal to discovery. 



Published by Black Dog & Leventhal, October 2015

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A visual exploration of the power and behavior of light, across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and how it affects life on earth and everything in the Universe.

Light illuminates our world and allows us to see everything around us. But, in fact, humans can see only a sliver the full spectrum of light that governs life on Earth and everything in the universe, known as the electromagnetic spectrum. In this highly visual, original exploration, Megan Watzke and Kimberly Arcand present the subject of light as never before.  From radio waves to infrared light to X-rays, Watzke and Arcand show us all the important ways that light impacts life on Earth and beyond. Hundreds of full-color photographs and illustrations demonstrate concepts and make for a stunning book that’s a joy to read and browse through. Light is the perfect book for readers of all ages and anyone interested in the beauty of science of our visual world.



Published by Black Dog & Leventhal, November 2017

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In the tradition of illustrated science bestsellers, like Thing Explainer and harkening back to the classic film The Powers of Ten, this unique, fully-illustrated, four-color book explores and visualizes the concept of scale in our universe. 

In Magnitude, Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke take us on an expansive journey to the limits of size, mass, distance, time, temperature in our universe, from the tiniest particle within the structure of an atom to the most massive galaxy in the universe; from the speed at which grass grows (about 2 to 6 inches a month) to the speed of light. Fully-illustrated with four-color drawings and infographics throughout and organized into sections including Size and Amount (Distance, Area, Volume, Mass, Time, Temperature), Motion and Rate (Speed, Acceleration, Density, Rotation), and Phenomena and Processes (Energy, Pressure, Sound, Wind, Computation), Magnitude shows us the scale of our world in a clear, visual way that our relatively medium-sized human brains can easily understand.​



By Rector, Arcand & Watzke. Published by University of Alaska, November 2015

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Many images of the Universe are spectacular, but are they “real”? Delving deep into the often-unseen world of how images of astronomy are created, this book provides the reader with a unique behind-the-scenes look at exactly how we get these impressive and important visual slices of our Universe.  

This book opens a window into the Universe for the novice explorer of space images, to the veteran amateur astronomer. Learn about the basics of light, walk through how astronomers and their telescopes capture data from cosmic objects, and look at how that information is made into beautiful images of space.  Whether it’s a brightly colored planet or a fluorescent-hued galaxy, we look at how Photoshop and other image-processing tools are used to create these spectacular images.  



Published by Smithsonian Books, April 2013.

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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.

Solar Eclipse

Selected reviews for our titles:

​"Endlessly fascinating" ―The Chicago Tribune

"[5-star rating]'ll probably never look at an astronomy image in quite the same way again." ―BBC 

"Highly informative and a feast for the eyes"―Mario Livio, author of The Golden Ratio

"Entertaining as well as educational"―Phil Plait, Slate

​"Beautiful and absorbing...="―Dave Eicher, Astronomy Magazine

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