Here is a listing of some of the best astronomy books for kids and grownups. You will find the kids’ books at first and the grown-up books further down.
Books For Kids (Ages 4-8):
- ‘There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars’ (Ages 4 – 8)
Fig 1: The cover art of the book ‘There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars.’
Young children love stories. They can learn anything if you just teach them by telling stories. This book is a perfect astronomy book for kids as it is full of bedtime stories on astronomical bodies and stunning pictures. It will help the kids to discover easily the secrets of the night sky. There are also stories on the growing problem of light pollution and how to save the vanishing stars. This book surely will give a thrill to the little kids’ minds.
- ‘Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations’ (Ages 4-8)
Fig 2: The cover art of the book, ‘Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations’
This is an amazing book published by the National Geographic Society based on the patterns of the constellations. People have been trying to find out a pattern in a group of stars since ancient times which gave birth to various mythical stories. If you try you will notice that most of the constellations are in a form of an animal like Leo the lion, the Great Bear, and the little bear, and so on. This book introduces these constellations to the kids. As the kids love animals, this can be a fun book and educational at the same time. The popular artist Christina Balit showed her enjoyment in the pictures here with amazing color combinations and themes. The constellations on a deep blue background look really attractive. Each picture has short notes and explanations which are easy to understand for the kids. The author Dr. Jacqueline Mitton is a well-known astronomer and writer who made amazing stories about each constellation to make this learning fun for the kids. They will also know about the different names of the stars, planets, and galaxies too from the book. The front paper and endpapers include star maps that display the positions of the constellations in real in the southern and northern skies. In the end, the author added a short introduction to the constellation and a related discussion on astronomy.
Books for Young Adults (Ages 9-12):
- Kids Book of the Night Sky
Fig 3: The cover art of the book, ‘Kids Book of the Night Sky’
In this book, the author introduces many secrets of the night sky in various seasons accompanied by jokes, myths, legends, and activities. The children will be able to play ‘’Night sky I spy’’. It includes star maps of every season so that kids learn what to find and where. This book deserves to be in every school and public library.
- A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations
This is a dialogue-based book but it is full of information. It includes the story of our solar system, the myths behind the constellations, the achievements of the scientists, and how to find objects in the sky. Every page contains beautiful images which keep children engaged and develop their interest. It also provides a star wheel that helps to find the position of different stars and planets from any location at any time. The explanation is so clear that children can understand them very easily. You can give this book as a gift to any child of age eight and up.
- Everything Kids’ Astronomy Book: Blast into outer space with stellar facts, intergalactic trivia, and out-of-this-world puzzles (Everything Kids Series)
Fig 5: Cover art of the book, ‘Everything Kids’ Astronomy Book: Blast into outer space with stellar facts, intergalactic trivia, and out-of-this-world puzzles (Everything Kids Series)’
This book will give the reader the thrill of an astronaut going to another galaxy on a rocket or a spaceship and exploring through stars, comets, and planets. It provides information on everything a trainee astronomer learns from the training. It covers how gravity works and how the galaxies were made, why the sun’s surface is very hot, what contains in a comet or an asteroid and how they affect planets, the man on the moon, why Saturn has ring and Mars is so hot, scientific view of aliens and life in external space and so on.
- Find the Constellations”A ‘must’ for public and school libraries and a wonderful book for an individual or family to own.”
Fig 4: The cover art of the book, ‘Find the Constellations-“A ‘must’ for public and school libraries and a wonderful book for an individual or family to own.”
This book includes a chart of stars that guides the constellation. It covers the reasons and all the details of the season and the movement of the night sky objects in different seasons. The author H . A . Rey wrote the book with a full passion for astronomy and instills the same passion in the mind of the reader. It also covers facts and feature of every single planet of our solar system with the latest scientific information like why Pluto is reclassified as a dwarf planet and so on.
Books for Adults :
Here we have included the books which are perfect for an adult passionate beginner astronomer or stargazer.
- See It with a Small Telescope: 101 Cosmic Wonders Including Planets, Moons, Comets, Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Clusters, and More
Fig 5: The cover art of the book, ‘See It with a Small Telescope: 101 Cosmic Wonders Including Planets, Moons, Comets, Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Clusters, and More’
Even if you do not have a degree in astronomy, you can start observing the stars just by grabbing a telescope. But if you are a beginner and holding a telescope for the first time in your life, it will be a hassle to find specific sky objects in the vast entire sky. This book will help you with hands-on tips and tricks to use all the features of small telescopes beyond the basics. This book does not include complicated star charts, yet it can guide to find more than 100 sky objects by stepwise instructions. If you follow them properly, you will find the Andromeda Galaxy, Pegasus Globular Cluster, the Orion Nebula, Polaris Double Star, Jupiter’s Moons, Saturn’s Rings, Apollo 11 Site, and many more other celestial things.
- NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
Fig 6: The cover art of the book, ‘NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe’
Like the other books in this series, this book is said to be the best handbook for entry-level astronomers by reviewers. The author Terence Dickinson discusses here every single problem a beginner stargazer faces like light pollution, how to choose binoculars and telescopes, different mounts of telescopes, how to pronounce the names of constellations, and including stars, why the harvest moon looks extraordinarily bright and many other topics. He also added many astrophotographs in the book which were taken by amateur astronomers and are really inspiring.
- Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope–and How to Find Them
Fig 7: The cover art of the book, ‘Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope–and How to Find Them’
This is an outstanding book for people using small telescopes. It is said to be so satisfying for the small telescope users that it is suggested to pack with every such instrument. Besides, it informs the name of the objects that can be seen even through the light-polluted sky. So it can be a great asset to the small telescope users living in cities or large urban areas. If anyone wants serious observation by these small scopes, this book is a must to have.
- Peterson Field Guides to Stars and Planets
Fig 8: The cover art of the book, ‘Peterson Field Guides to Stars and Planets’
St. Louis, a famous astronomer told that the book is an excellent introduction to astronomy for beginners, whereas it is a field guide for the experts. A country living gardener also said that the book is a must to have for all astronomers. This book includes many celestial photographs and much updated astronomical information.
- Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer’s Guide to Choosing, Buying, and Using Telescopes and Accessories
Fig 9: The cover art of the book, ‘Star Ware: The Amateur Astronomer’s Guide to Choosing, Buying, and Using Telescopes and Accessories’
This is basically a guide to selecting the best telescope that suits you. The author Philip Harrington is an award-winning astronomy writer. When you will read the book, you will feel that the author is taking you to the shop, discussing with you the various types and comparing the different products. He covers all the facts of the present astronomy market like brand and model comparisons with personal analysis and precise explanation. Finally, this book will instill enough confidence in you to buy the best telescope and accessories for you. And obviously, you will know how to best use that product.
This book includes comprehensive and detailed reviews of the updated and new products of well-known brands. The author clearly discusses every aspect of choosing binoculars, telescopes, mounts, filters, lenses, film, cameras, star charts, references and guides, and so on. It also features about 10 activities that you need to do by yourself following the procedures mentioned there to build your own astronomical equipment which will give you hands-on experience on the pros and cons of every single accessory you use there. Additionally, you will get easy tips on using and caring for telescopes and all other equipment and how to set them up. There are also lists including websites and resources where to find the astronomical equipment and the distributors, dealers, conventions, and their listing for products and services.
- Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer’s Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning About over 125 Celestial Objects
Fig 10: The cover art of the book, ‘Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer’s Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning About over 125 Celestial Objects’
In the previous book we discussed, the author describes the astronomical equipment, and in this book, he illustrates the astronomical objects. It is something like once you have the best equipment with you, use it well to find the night sky wonders: stars, distant planets, colorful nebulae, glowing star clusters, huge galaxies, and so on. This is an all in all beginner’s guide to detecting, locating, observing, and understanding the details of these celestial bodies. The author starts by introducing the details of the surface features of the moon, the wonderful Saturn rings, the stripes of Jupiter, and all other planets of our solar system. Next, it takes us to observe the space beyond our solar system with tips and tricks to locate deep night secrets from stars to galaxies. It also includes the entire Messier catalog which is the main attraction or primary goal of all entry-level astronomers.
Star Watch explains the physical description of every celestial body including structure, size, distance with precise direction for detecting them, user-friendly finder charts, and the time best to view them. He also discusses the difference between what you can see through the scopes or binoculars and with the bare eyes. At the beginning of Star Watch journey, may be you will start as an amateur, but in the end, you will be an experienced stargazer for sure.
- Women Astronomers: Reaching for the Stars (Discovering Women in Science)
Fig 11: The cover art of the book, ‘Women Astronomers: Reaching for the Stars (Discovering Women in Science)’
Here the contributions of many female astronomers from ancient times are described so well that it will open your eyes to how these stories are neglected throughout history. Here is a listing of the female astronomers the book discusses.
Helen Sawyer Hogg: Canadian astronomer observed the sky for fifty years
Antonia Caetana Maury: Found a more satisfying new system to classify stars.
Henrietta Swan Leavitt: found a new method to determine the distances between stars.
Annie Jump Cannon: made a catalog of more than 350,000 stars.
Williamina Stevens Fleming: Founding mother of the Harvard women astronomers
Marla Mitchell: Well-known American astronomer
Caroline Herschel: Brought a revolution to the study of astronomy with his brother.
Hildegard of Bingen: Could hear the musical tones of the spheres.
Hypatia of Alexandria: Great talent, astronomer, and engineer.
EnHeduanna: Chief Astronomer of the Moon Goddess of the City
Wendy Freedman: Contributes to making big telescopes and determined Hubble Constant
Jill Tartar: Research on life in outer space.
Sally Ride: first U.S. woman in space and an astrophysicist
Carolyn Shoemaker: Research on comets especially those who can threaten the Earth
Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin: Was said to be the most talented astronomer of her generation
Margaret Geller: Discovered the structure in the Universe
Margaret Burbidge: Explained how chemical elements form in stars
Jocelyn Bell Burnell: Discovered quasars
Beatrice Tinsley: Great astrophysicist faced an early death
Nancy Roman: Pioneered orbiting observatories and radio astronomy
- How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
Fig 12: The cover art of the book, ‘How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming’
The author Mike Brown is the famous astronomer who started the debate on why Pluto is not a real planet. But it generated hatred among the school children as they are accustomed to nine planets in the solar system. So finally the author ended up with this book which is filled with humor and drama.