The most recommended astronomy books

Who picked these books? Meet our 55 experts.

55 authors created a book list connected to astronomy, and here are their favorite astronomy books.
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Book cover of Frontiers II: More Recent Discoveries About Life, Earth, Space and the Universe

Rob Smith Author Of Shrader Marks: Keelhouse

From my list on for fiction writers who tell the truth.

Who am I?

I was one of those kids who wanted to understand everything. Early on, I worked at a research laboratory and majored in biology. When studies in religion and philosophy offered an even deeper level of inquiry, I turned to archeology, anthropology, psychology, and linguistic analysis. Over the years, I was a counselor for people at the end of life, taught college philosophy, and a cultural approach to religion. I have traveled throughout western Kenya, Guyana, New Zealand, Alaska, and Labrador. I also listened for the stories of the people. Additionally, I have sailed for more than forty years. I write about what I know, and about what still puzzles me.

Rob's book list on for fiction writers who tell the truth

Rob Smith Why did Rob love this book?

Rule #1: Writers should write what they know. Many science fiction readers know Isaac Asimov as a prolific genre author. First and foremost, however, he is a scientist, a biochemist by training. In this book, Isaac and Janet Asimov share essays on diverse scientific subjects from life on earth to discoveries in space. For me, I searched the book for everything from the fate of the dinosaurs to the height of sea-level rise in case of a major melt-down of Antarctica and Greenland. 

In this book, imagination runs a parallel reality. It is a place where a writer or a reader will see a jumping-off place from the real world to dystopia. 

By Isaac Asimov, Janet Asimov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Frontiers II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A treasury of 121 tales from the authors of Frontiers contains remarkable stories about humankind, the secrets of planet Earth, the vast expanse of outer space, and the mysteries of the universe. 15,000 first printing. $15,000 ad/promo.


Book cover of The Brightest Stars: Discovering the Universe Through the Sky's Most Brilliant Stars

David A. Aguilar Author Of Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

From my list on understanding the first science: astronomy.

Who am I?

I am a naturalist, astronomer, space artist, and a Harvard world lecturer living in the Rocky Mountains outside of Aspen. So far, I’ve written and illustrated twelve kid’s astronomy books for National Geographic and Penguin Random House. I directed the Science Information Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge Massachusetts for fourteen years then left in 2015 to join NASA’s New Horizons Mission Team becoming one of the first humans to see the planet Pluto up close and personal. I am also a Grammy nominated songwriter/musician, astrophotographer, telescope maker who enjoys scuba diving at night and occasionally has been known to parachute out of perfectly operating aircraft.

David's book list on understanding the first science: astronomy

David A. Aguilar Why did David love this book?

The stars have captivated hunter-gatherers, artists and astrologers, sages and scientists, romantics, and civilizations since the beginning of human time. 

In this book we encounter the twenty-one brightest stars visible from earth and dig into their remarkable secrets. Did you know some giant stars spin so fast they flatten out like eggs? There are stars that pulse back and forth like beating hearts? And some stars are cosmic interlopers passing through our Milky Way galaxy on their way back into the void of forever space. This is my go-to book when I want to refresh my imagination with wondrous facts about the stars blazing overhead. It should be within handy reach of every star-struck observer, camper, or poet.

By Fred Schaaf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Brightest Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fred Schaaf is one of the most experienced astronomical observers of our time. For more than two decades, his view of the sky-what will be visible, when it will be visible, and what it will look like-has encouraged tens of thousands of people to turn their eyes skyward.
—David H. Levy, Science Editor, Parade magazine, discoverer of twenty-one comets, and author of Starry Night and Cosmic Discoveries

""Fred Schaaf is a poet of the stars. He brings the sky into people's lives in a way that is compelling and his descriptions have all the impact of witnessing the stars on…


Book cover of Mirror in the Sky

Katie Kennedy Author Of What Goes Up

From my list on with parallel worlds.

Who am I?

I’m a history instructor and often think about alternate historical outcomes, but you don’t get to choose those. Wish the Spanish Armada hadn’t sunk? Tough luck. But you can take a novel in any direction—kill a character, bring them back, let them fall in love, make them eat an egg salad sandwich… When the book itself is about parallel worlds, it increases those possibilities exponentially. In What Goes Up, Rosa and Eddie have very different backgrounds—Earth is two different worlds for them. What happens when there’s another world out there and they meet themselves in a different place? As one character asks, how much do you trust yourself?

Katie's book list on with parallel worlds

Katie Kennedy Why did Katie love this book?

Mirror in the Sky is about what happens to a girl who’s just trying to navigate through high school and family situations when a planet incredibly similar to Earth is discovered–and news spreads that people may have doubles on the new planet, called Terra Nova. (The main character’s name is Tara, so there’s a play on words, and a riff on the theme, here.) Mirror in the Sky is more about reactions on Earth to news of the new planet and less a sci-fi adventure.

Readers wanting hard sci-fi–tentacled aliens with ray guns–may be disappointed, but readers who want a contemporary with another world as a backdrop might take a look.

By Aditi Khorana,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mirror in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Another Earth meets Perks of Being a Wallflower in this thoughtful, mesemerizing debut and subject of a TedX talk about the discovery of a mirror planet to Earth and how it dramatically changes the course of one Indian-American girl's junior year.

“[O]ne of the most powerful reads of the year. A novel about family, race, and discovering who you are, Mirror in the Sky promises a unique read that blends YA contemporary struggles with imaginative science fiction."
—Paste Magazine

For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year…


Book cover of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

Tyler Nordgren Author Of Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets

From my list on astronomy books that will rock your world and alter your cosmos.

Who am I?

I was of that generation of children turned on to science by reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos - plus watching the Voyager spacecraft at Jupiter on TV, seeing the 1979 total solar eclipse over my house, and having Mt St Helens erupt outside my childhood window. So, one guess what I wanted to be when I grew up? Since then, I’ve earned a PhD, used the largest telescopes on Earth, designed something driving around on Mars, written popular books, and had my science art collected by the Smithsonian. But all of that started with a single book I read as a kid. Thanks Carl.

Tyler's book list on astronomy books that will rock your world and alter your cosmos

Tyler Nordgren Why did Tyler love this book?

Have you ever wondered where all the stars went? When was the last time you saw the Milky Way? We have national parks to preserve beautiful places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone geysers. But somehow, the Milky Way, a billion glowing stars all blended together in a band everyone could see every moonless night everywhere on Earth, has just faded away to invisibility for 80% of Americans. How did that happen and why we should care is what Bogard writes about in this lovely book written not for scientists or amateur astronomers, but for everyone who’s ever thought about simply “sleeping under the stars.”

By Paul Bogard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Streetlamps, neon signs - an ever-present glow that has changed the natural world and adversely affected our health; Paul Bogard illuminates the problems caused by a lack of darkness. We live awash in artificial light. But night's natural darkness has always been invaluable for our spiritual health and the health of the natural world, and every living creature suffers from its loss. Paul Bogard investigates what we mean when we talk about darkness. He travels between the intensely lit cities - from glittering Las Vegas to the gas-lit streets of Westminster - and the sites where real darkness still remains,…


Book cover of Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science

Amy Houts Author Of God's Earth Is Something to Fight for

From my list on Christian Earth Day books for kids.

Who am I?

As the author of 100+ children’s books, I work mainly on assignment for educational and faith-based publishers. But when I’m freelancing, I want the topic to be something I’m passionate about. Being married to a science teacher, we often discuss science issues. After having grandchildren, I wondered, what type of planet are we going to leave them? Our grandchildren are aware and concerned about severe weather patterns. I asked myself, what can I do? Plus, I wanted to write through the lens of my faith. I wrote my picture book, God’s Earth is Something to Fight For, to instill hope and give practical ways for children to help save Earth.

Amy's book list on Christian Earth Day books for kids

Amy Houts Why did Amy love this book?

The devotional book, Indescribable, is engaging way to show kids how our world (science) and God are connected in the most wonderful way.

Including a Bible verse, nonfiction information, a closing prayer and a “Be Amazed” sidebar, topics include space, earth, and animals. For example, after quoting Isaiah, “He calls the stars by name,” the author gives facts about the stars. Then Mr. Giglio says “But do you know what’s even more astonishing and wonderful?

That same God who knows the stars’ names also knows your name.” What a great introduction to God’s world from a Biblical perspective for 6-10-year-olds.

By Louie Giglio, Nicola Anderson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indescribable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Discover the wonders of the universe with the Creator. Based on Louie Giglio's popular messages "Indescribable" and "How Great Is Our God," Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science will help kids discover the incredible creation of our indescribable God.

Indescribable displays the majesty of creation with scientific findings, photography, and original illustrations. Children who are fascinated with the world around them, nature, and the earth will deepen their faith as they explore God's Word. These 100 devotions encourage awe and appreciation for God's creativity with an in-depth look at these categories:

space, galaxies, planets, and stars Earth, geology, oceans,…


Book cover of The Science Of Aliens

David A. Aguilar Author Of Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

From my list on understanding the first science: astronomy.

Who am I?

I am a naturalist, astronomer, space artist, and a Harvard world lecturer living in the Rocky Mountains outside of Aspen. So far, I’ve written and illustrated twelve kid’s astronomy books for National Geographic and Penguin Random House. I directed the Science Information Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge Massachusetts for fourteen years then left in 2015 to join NASA’s New Horizons Mission Team becoming one of the first humans to see the planet Pluto up close and personal. I am also a Grammy nominated songwriter/musician, astrophotographer, telescope maker who enjoys scuba diving at night and occasionally has been known to parachute out of perfectly operating aircraft.

David's book list on understanding the first science: astronomy

David A. Aguilar Why did David love this book?

This marvelous book will rock and sock the fun part of your brain when it comes to the possibilities of alien life out there among the stars. The Science of Aliens provides authoritative speculation on a whole range of possibilities including bizarre alien body structures, enhanced senses, capabilities, life at the edge, alien sex, social structures, religion, and lifestyles. 

If you like captivating mental gymnastics and broad, almost humorous depictions of alien life as seen in Hollywood films and sci-fi books, then run, fly, leap, scurry, scoot, teleport or slime your way to the nearest bookstore and pick up this gem. Remember, in this universe, ALL of us are aliens!

By Clifford A Pickover,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Science Of Aliens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If extraterrestrials ever landed on Earth, they would find us extremely strange. Their first intimation of our existence might well be a Super Bowl broadcast or a stray transmission from the Playboy channel. But, of course, they might seem equally strange to us. How strange? Their senses could be entirely different from ours,they might see in the infrared or hear" radio waves.What would aliens look like? An intelligent octopus-like creature is certainly plausible. What about odd numbers of limbs,a three-legged alien with three arms and three eyes? What about an entire planet of immobile, silicon-based trees" that communicate with each…


Book cover of Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Hidden 95% of the Universe

Don Lincoln Author Of Understanding The Universe: From Quarks To The Cosmos

From my list on to learn about the universe.

Who am I?

Don Lincoln is both a research scientist and a masterful science communicator. On the science side, he participated in the discovery of both the top quark and the Higgs boson. On the communicator side, he has written books, made hundreds of YouTube videos, and written for such visible venues as Scientific American and CNN. He has both the scientific chops and writer expertise to tell an exciting story about why the universe is the way it is.

Don's book list on to learn about the universe

Don Lincoln Why did Don love this book?

While scientists know a great deal about the matter around us, it turns out that ordinary matter is a mere 5% of the matter and energy of the universe. A full 95% is of an unknown type. A substance called dark matter makes up 25% of the energy budget of the universe, while dark energy makes up the remaining 70%. This book focuses on the unknown 95% of the universe. No person will understand the rules that govern the universe, without a thorough understanding of these as-yet-undiscovered substances.

By Brian Clegg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Matter and Dark Energy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Clear and compact ... It's hard to fault as a brief, easily digestible introduction to some of the biggest questions in the Universe' Giles Sparrow, BBC Four's The Sky at Night, Best astronomy and space books of 2019: 5/5

All the matter and light we can see in the universe makes up a trivial 5 per cent of everything. The rest is hidden. This could be the biggest puzzle that science has ever faced.

Since the 1970s, astronomers have been aware that galaxies have far too little matter in them to account for the way they spin around: they should…


Book cover of Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - And How to Find Them

John A. Read Author Of 50 Things to See with a Telescope: A young stargazer's guide

From my list on stargazing.

Who am I?

My journey into astronomy began with a small and rickety telescope purchased at a local pharmacy. I found it fascinating to observe the Moon and Saturn with their rings using such meager equipment. I decided to share these views with others by writing my first book, 50 Things to See with a Small Telescope, an easy-to-understand beginner’s guide which I self-published and sold through Amazon starting in 2013. I have since published a number of other books on space for children. Besides writing, I work as the telescope operator at Burke-Gaffney Observatory. In 2020 I was awarded the Simon Newcomb Award for excellence in science communication.

John's book list on stargazing

John A. Read Why did John love this book?

Turn Left at Orion is arguably the most famous stargazing book of all time. This book dives deep into the nuances of amateur astronomy, from choosing the right stargazing location, to combatting dew on your lenses, and cleaning your optics. In addition to detailed star maps customized for various types of telescopes, it is filled with tables, listing literally thousands of potential stargazing targets for those blessed with dark skies, far from city lights. 

By Guy Consolmagno, Dan M. Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Turn Left at Orion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With over 150,000 copies sold since its first publication, this is one of the most popular astronomy books of all time. This unique guidebook to the night sky shows you how to observe a host of celestial wonders. Its distinct format of object-by-object spreads illustrates how deep-sky objects and planets actually look through a small telescope, while its large pages and spiral binding allow for use outside. Along with updated star names and astronomical information, this new edition provides links to a dedicated webpage with up-to-date tables and images, and an improved planets chapter. The many Dobsonian-friendly images and small…


Book cover of Skywatchers: Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico

Giulio Magli Author Of Archaeoastronomy: Introduction to the Science of Stars and Stones

From my list on archaeoastronomy.

Who am I?

I started my scientific career as an Astrophysicist. However, I have always been interested in Archaeology. This finally led me to conjugate the two passions when I started working in Archaeoastronomy, in 2003. Working in Archaeoastronomy first means having a direct experience of the sites (preferably, of every single stone, although in places like Giza they count in the millions…). So I have made fieldworks in Italy, Egypt, Cambodia, and, recently, on Chinese imperial necropolises. I currently teach Archaeoastronomy as a professor at the Politecnico of Milan. I have always been interested also in scientific communication on TV and social media, and my introductive Archaeoastronomy course is available for free on the Coursera platform.

Giulio's book list on archaeoastronomy

Giulio Magli Why did Giulio love this book?

Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, although a bit dated on some arguments, is a must-read book on the Archaeoastronomy of the Meso-American people. It includes a fascinating description of the role of astronomical alignments in places like Teotihuacan and the Aztec capital (modern Mexico City), as well as an in-depth exploration of Maya astronomy and of the Maya astronomically-driven architecture.

By Anthony F. Aveni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skywatchers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico helped establish the field of archaeoastronomy, and it remains the standard introduction to this subject. Combining basic astronomy with archaeological and ethnological data, it presented a readable and entertaining synthesis of all that was known of ancient astronomy in the western hemisphere as of 1980.

In this revised edition, Anthony Aveni draws on his own and others' discoveries of the past twenty years to bring the Skywatchers story up to the present. He offers new data and interpretations in many areas, including:

The study of Mesoamerican time and calendrical systems and their unprecedented continuity in contemporary…


Book cover of What Miss Mitchell Saw

Katie Munday Williams Author Of Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America's First Published Poet

From my list on astronomy stories for children.

Who am I?

I am a nurse, mother, and writer, and as such, consider myself a life-learner. When my children come to me with questions, I love being able to grab a beautiful picture book to begin exploring whatever topic is on their minds. I can’t answer all their questions perfectly, but I enjoy searching for the answers with them and hope to impart that love of learning as they grow. Astronomy has always fascinated me, and the books I’ve picked do a fantastic job of discussing everything from gravity to aliens to the first African-American female in space. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!

Katie's book list on astronomy stories for children

Katie Munday Williams Why did Katie love this book?

This book does a great job of capturing the wonder of the stars. In lyrical language and with absolutely stunning illustrations, What Miss Mitchell Saw will capture the reader’s interest right from the cover. This picture book biography delves into the early days of one of our most brilliant astronomers, Maria Mitchell. Budding scientists and astronomers alike, or anyone who just likes to wonder about the mysteries of space, will love this book.

By Hayley Barrett, Diana Sudyka (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Miss Mitchell Saw as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Discover the amazing true story of Maria Mitchell, America's first professional female astronomer.

Every evening, from the time she was a child, Maria Mitchell stood on her rooftop with her telescope and swept the sky. And then one night she saw something unusual-a comet no one had ever seen before! Miss Mitchell's extraordinary discovery made her famous the world over and paved the way for her to become America's first professional female astronomer.

Gorgeously illustrated by Diana Sudyka, this moving picture book about a girl from humble beginnings who became a star in the field of astronomy is sure to…