Seven years before Richard Preston wrote about horrifying viruses inThe Hot Zone, he turned his attention to the cosmos. InFirst Light, he demonstrates his gift for creating an exciting and absorbing narrative around a complex scientific subject--in this case the efforts by astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains of California to peer to the farthest edges of space through the Hale Telescope, attempting to solve the riddle of the creation of the universe. Richard Preston's name became a household word withThe Hot Zone, which sold nearly 800,000 copies in hardcover, was onThe New York Times'sbestseller list for 42 weeks, and was the subject of countless magazine and newspaper articles. Preston has become a sought-after commentator on popular science subjects. For this hardcover reprint of what has been called "the best popular account of astronomy in action," (Kirkus Reviews) he has revised the text and written a new introduction.