There are many books about astronomy available to read. This list provides a selection of some of the best ones.
Each of these books offers a unique perspective on the moon, sun, stars, our galaxy, and beyond. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is something for everyone on this list.
Many of these books offer gorgeous pictures and detailed information in a visual format. To get the full benefit from most of these books, we recommend that you pick up a hard copy so you can see them in full color.
Most e-readers just won’t do when it comes to learning about Astronomy in these books!
Written By: Terence Dickinson, Alan Dyer
If you're an amateur astronomer or just getting into the hobby, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickinson is a must-read. The book is jam-packed with information on every aspect of astronomy, from telescopes and equipment to observing celestial objects and processing images.
Written in a clear and concise style, it's the perfect guide for backyard astronomers of all levels of experience.
So whether you're just starting or looking to take your astronomy skills to the next level, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is the perfect resource!
Written By: Stephen Hawking
In his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking attempts to explain the basic concepts of physics and cosmology in a language accessible to non-scientists.
He challenges readers to think about the universe in a new way and offers a fresh perspective on questions about time, space, black holes, and the universe's origins.
The book has become an international success, selling over 9 million copies worldwide. Initially published in 1988, it has been updated.
Written By: Neil deGrasse Tyson
If you're like most people, you probably don't give astrophysics much thought unless there's a dramatic event like a Supermoon or solar eclipse. But what if I told you that understanding astrophysics could help make sense of our world and the universe we live in?
In his book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language that anyone can appreciate.
Whether you're a science enthusiast or just looking to learn more about the universe we inhabit, this book is worth a read.
Written By: Jo Marchant
Physicist and author Jo Marchant takes an in-depth look at the history of the stars in her new book, The Human Cosmos. Drawing on cutting-edge science and historical evidence, Marchant argues that humans have long been aware of the universe beyond our planet.
She explores everything from ancient myths to scientific theories, revealing a hidden history of humanity's relationship with the stars.
Written By: Tom Kerss
As humanity ventures further into the depths of space, it seems only natural to reflect on the one celestial body we've already explored in-depth: the Moon.
Moongazing is a guide to exploring our nearest neighbor and its many secrets. You’ll learn about blue moons, supermoons, and how to select the right telescope to see it for yourself.
With this knowledge under your belt, you'll be ready to explore everything the Moon has to offer!
Written By: Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan's Cosmos was a watershed moment in popular science writing. It brought the universe down to Earth, making complex concepts understandable for the average person.
Sagan's clear and enthusiastic explanations showed us that there is so much to explore out there and that to understand it, we must first ask questions and open our minds.
Thanks to Sagan, we now have a better understanding of who we are and where we fit into the grand scheme of things. In an age where it seems like science is under attack, Cosmos is more relevant than ever.
Carl Sagan was a true pioneer, and his legacy will continue to educate and inspire future generations. The originally printing was in 1980 and has since been updated.
Written By: Andrew Fasekas
The National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky is a complete guide to the night sky. This book is perfect for backyard astronomers of all experience levels, from beginner to advanced.
It contains detailed information on everything from identifying constellations and planets to spotting shooting stars and meteors.
With this guide, you'll be able to explore the wonders of the night sky right from your backyard!
Written By: Stephen Hawking
In On the Shoulders of Giants, Hawking discusses the history of physics and astronomy, highlighting the great works of some of the most renowned scientists in history. He explains how their discoveries have shaped our understanding of the universe we live in today.
This book is a tribute to the brilliance and determination of these pioneers, and it provides an enlightening glimpse into the fascinating world of physics and astronomy.
Written By: Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Step inside the mind and life of Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, one of the foremost physicists in today's world. And if that wasn't enough, she is also one of a very select group of Black women in this discipline.
Because of this, she has had to deal with both sexism and racism as she has built her career. Instead of just giving up and giving in, she writes about how to fix these issues and make the world of science more inclusive for everyone.
Dr. Prescod-Weinstein builds a brilliant balance between science and sociology in this book. You will be thinking about what it means in so many different ways long after reading it.
Written By: Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Science is constantly finding new ways to enlighten us about our universe, and one recent discovery is that the moon may be more complex than we thought.
In her book, The Book of the Moon: A Guide to Our Closest Neighbor, Maggie Aderin-Pocock dives deep into the moon's history and mythology, revealing everything we know about our nearest neighbor in space.
Aderin-Pocock takes us on a journey from the moon's creation myths to its role in modern culture with her characteristic warmth and wit.
If you're curious about the moon—or just want a good excuse to stare up at it—this book is for you!
Written By: Andrew Fraknoi
With the night sky as your backdrop, you can explore a world beyond your own. Astronomy studies everything outside Earth's atmosphere, from planets and stars to galaxies and nebulae.
Whether you're looking through a telescope or just using your naked eyes, there's always something new to see in the universe. In this introduction to astronomy, you’ll learn more about some of the basic concepts and tools of the trade. You’ll also explore some of the fascinating objects in space.
It's in a textbook type of format, perfect for college students and others engaging in learning about astronomy.
Written By: Stephen P. Maran
If you're interested in learning about astronomy but don't know where to start, this book is for you. Written by an experienced astronomer, it provides a comprehensive overview of the subject, explaining everything from the basics of astronomy to more advanced concepts.
You'll learn about the planets, stars, galaxies, and other objects in space, as well as the latest theories and discoveries in astronomy.
If you're ready to take your interest in astronomy to the next level, this book is a great place to start. Originally published in 1999, they have since updated it.
Written By: Brian Greene
Imagine being able to stretch out space and time like a piece of fabric. According to Brian Greene, this is what the universe is doing.
In his book, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, Greene explores the nature of reality and how we can come to understand it.
With clarity and eloquence, he guides us through the complexities of physics and offers a new perspective on the universe we live in. If you're looking for a mind-expanding read, don't miss this one.
Written By: Mike Brown
In 2005, Mike Brown, an astronomer at Caltech, killed Pluto. He didn't do it with a bang or a gunshot; he did it with math.
In a paper published in the journal Nature, Brown and his colleagues announced that they had found a new object in the outer solar system larger than Pluto.
That object was eventually named Eris, and it forced everyone to confront the hard truth that Pluto was not a planet.
In this book, Brown explains why he decided to reclassify Pluto and how it felt to be at the center of such a controversial debate.
Written By: Dava Sobel
Dava Sobel weaves complex scientific concepts into a compelling narrative with the power to enthrall. Now, in her most ambitious topic yet-planets of our solar system-she shines once again as an author whose writing is both elegant and engaging.
The Planets offers unique insight into what "to be human" means by showing us how much more there isn't out here beyond Earth.
Sobel takes us through the history and facts about the plants. She relates it to our modern world and popular culture to appeal to a large audience.
Written By: Rick Stroud
Rick Stroud's The Book of the Moon is an essential read for lunar enthusiasts and amateur astronomers alike. It starts with the controversial topic of how the moon formed (many scientists disagree on this).
It then details the moon's orbit, features, and history. This book is a comprehensive guide to our nearest neighbor in the solar system.
Inside, you will find several fascinating facts and wonderful colorful photos.
Written By: John A. Read
Stargazing is a popular pastime, but it often isn’t as easy as it looks.
In this book, you will learn all about how to find more with your small telescope. The book will teach you about the sky of the Northern Hemisphere and how to quickly find the planets in our solar system, the International Space Station, comets, sunspots, and so much more.
It's laid out in 50 easy-to-follow steps. You will be identifying objects in space like a pro!
Written By: Leon Golub, Jay M. Pasachoff
Even though the sun is one of the closest stars to Earth, most people know very little about it. In their book, Nearest Star: The Surprising Science of Our Sun, Leon Golub and Jay M. Pasachoff provides an in-depth look at our closest star and its many mysteries.
Golub and Pasachoff take readers on a journey from the sun's birth to its eventual death with clear explanations and fascinating insights. Along the way, they shed light on such topics as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and solar storms.
Written By: Burkard Polster, Gerard Cheshire, Matt Tweed, Matthew Watkins, Moff Betts
The Scientia series of books is a collaboration of readings brought together to provide a comprehensive introduction to mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and astronomy.
The books are filled with diagrams and illustrations that help explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way.
The books offer a look at what we have learned in the world of science over the last millennium.
It is beautifully crafted with original drawings and 13 colors of ink. It's not only a great read but also makes a perfect gift.
Written By: Leonard David
As we continue to explore our solar system, one planet, in particular, is capturing increasing attention from both scientists and the general public – Mars.
With its compelling prospects of supporting human life in the not-too-distant future, many people are fascinated by the idea of establishing a permanent settlement on the Red Planet.
This National Geographic book takes you on a journey to learn more about what it will take for us to make human life possible on Mars.
Written By: Buzz Aldrin
On July 21, 1969, Buzz Aldrin became the second human to walk on the moon. In the more than forty years since that historic event, he has become an acclaimed author, advocate for space exploration, and champion of STEM education.
Drawing on his unique perspective as an astronaut and explorer, Aldrin offers invaluable life lessons in his new book No Dream Is Too High. He shows us that anything is possible with wit and wisdom if we set our minds to it and never give up.
This book offers a great mix between reading about being an astronaut and reaching for the sky with all the goals you set for yourself.
Written By: Philip Plait
Do you have a question about astronomy? Chances are, Philip Plait has the answer. Plait has dedicated himself to dispelling myths and misconceptions about space as a scientist and educator.
In Bad Astronomy, Plait exposes widespread errors and provides straightforward explanations of complex concepts. With wit and accessibility, Plait makes science entertaining and enlightening-and no topic is off-limits.
This is a great book if you want to learn about both the good and the bad of astronomy, you will love this book.
Written By: by Jacqueline Mitton (Contributor), David W. Hughes (Contributor), Robert Dinwiddie (Contributor), Penny Johnson (Contributor), Tom Jackson (Contributor)
There are few things in this world as captivating as staring up at the stars on a clear night. Our universe is a place of beauty and mystery, and scientists are still learning new things about it every day.
We love that this book also has lots of charts, graphics, photos, and illustrations to help explain these sometimes difficult subjects.
Whether you're a beginner or an advanced astronomer, you'll find something to enjoy in this book!
Initially published in 2012, it has been subsequently updated. This is part of the Big Ideas Simply Explained series which includes more than 20 books on different subject.
Written By: Emily M. Levesque
Instead of just being a dry book about facts and figures, this is a fun book about astronomy in general and the author's life. She knew when she was young that she wanted to be an astronomer and decided it would be her life's work.
Instead of tooting her own horn (which she could since she discovered a particular type of star), she writes a lot about others. Just in case you think the life of an astronomer is all about seeing a supernova, she writes about her everyday life, and it is amusing.
After reading this book, you'll feel like best buddies with the author and have just hung out watching the stars together.
Written By: Carolyn Collins Petersen
Carolyn Collins Petersen's new book, Astronomy 101, is the perfect primer for anyone interested in learning about astronomy.
The well-written and easy-to-understand text provide a comprehensive overview of everything from our solar system to the universe beyond.
This book is a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about the night sky with stunning images and clear explanations.
Written By: Mark Bowen
The author, Mark Bowen, transports readers to an unlikely place for cutting-edge astronomy: the ice sheet at the southernmost tip of the world.
There, scientists are re-inventing our understanding of the universe by building one of the most advanced telescopes on Earth.
With stunning detail and rich storytelling, Bowen brings this remote and awe-inspiring corner of our planet to life.
Readers will never look at astronomy – or our planet – in quite the same way again.
Written By: Ian Ridpath
This reference book offers one of the most complete guides to the stars, planets, and galaxies. Its user-friendly format provides both new and experienced stargazers a chance to learn even more.
Inside, you will find charts outlining all of the constellations in the Northern and Southern skies. It also includes photographs and factual details about everything to see in the night skies.
Originally published in 1993, it has since been updated with more information and photos.
Written By: Lisa Harvey-Smith
We all know what stars are, right? Bright points of light in the sky make everything look pretty. But what happens up there, beyond our reach?
In her book The Secret Life of Stars, astrophysicist Lisa Harvey-Smith takes us on a journey through the universe, explaining everything we want to know about stars.
From their birth and evolution, Harvey-Smith makes complex astrophysics concepts accessible to everyone. If you've ever been curious about stars but didn't know where to start, this is the perfect book for you!
Written By: Tyler Nordgren
While beautiful and awe-inspiring, solar eclipses have also been feared and misunderstood for centuries. Many cultures saw solar eclipses as omens of doom, and some people even believed that a dragon or other monster was devouring the sun. But our understanding of solar eclipses has come a long way since then.
In this book, you’ll learn about different cultures interpret this event, including those in ancient times. You'll also learn how they relate to Einstein's theory of relativity.
It is a surprising and intriguing wonderful way to see myth, magic, and science mixed together into a great combination.
Written By: Janna Levin
Black Hole Survival Guide offers you a thrilling exploration of black holes. The author takes us on an evocative journey through these abysses, provoking thoughts about what it would be like to encounter one in person and how they shape the universe we inhabit.
This short read has beautiful photographs and illustrations that make this weird subject easier to comprehend. When you imagine that time can basically come to a complete stop when you enter a black hole, it is an awe-inspiring accomplishment.
It's a fun read and a great way to learn about these exciting objects in space.