The most recommended Hubble Space Telescope books

Who picked these books? Meet our 4 experts.

4 authors created a book list connected to the Hubble Space Telescope, and here are their favorite Hubble Space Telescope books.
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Book cover of The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology, and Politics

David H. DeVorkin Author Of The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space

From my list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble.

Who am I?

I was trained in astronomy and astrophysics, was a staff observer at the Lick and Yerkes Observatories, and always have had a passion for researching and writing the history of modern astrophysics and space astronomy. I hold a PhD in the history of astronomy from the University of Leicester in England, am now a retired museum curator having been a planetarium lecturer, college professor, research associate for the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, and guitar teacher in the early 1960s.

David's book list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble

David H. DeVorkin Why did David love this book?

Award-winning, highly authoritative, comprehensive, and accessible history of the long campaign for a large space telescope by astronomers and NASA program officers. One of the most penetrating studies of how NASA constructs and operates major space missions, and how access to space has changed “what it means to be an astronomer.”.

By Robert W. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Robert Smith's The Space Telescope sets the fascinating and disturbing history of this massive venture within the context of 'Big Science'. Launched at a cost of no more than $2 billion, the Space Telescope turned out to be seriously flawed by imperfections in the construction of its lenses and by solar panels that caused it to shudder when moving from daylight to darkness. Smith analyses how the processes of Big Science, especially those involving the government's funding process for large-scale projects, contributed to those failures. He reveals the astonishingly complex interactions that took place among the scientific community, government and…


Book cover of Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime

David H. DeVorkin Author Of The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space

From my list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble.

Who am I?

I was trained in astronomy and astrophysics, was a staff observer at the Lick and Yerkes Observatories, and always have had a passion for researching and writing the history of modern astrophysics and space astronomy. I hold a PhD in the history of astronomy from the University of Leicester in England, am now a retired museum curator having been a planetarium lecturer, college professor, research associate for the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, and guitar teacher in the early 1960s.

David's book list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble

David H. DeVorkin Why did David love this book?

A penetrating, creative, and highly accessible exploration of how the incredible images from the Hubble Space Telescope were selected and produced. Most intriguing and revealing is an analysis of the context of these images within the history of frontier landscape art.

By Elizabeth A. Kessler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The vivid, dramatic images of distant stars and galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope have come to define how we visualize the cosmos. In their immediacy and vibrancy, photographs from the Hubble show what future generations of space travelers might see should they venture beyond our solar system. But their brilliant hues and precise details are not simply products of the telescope's unprecedented orbital location and technologically advanced optical system. Rather, they result from a series of deliberate decisions made by the astronomers who convert raw data from the Hubble into spectacular pictures by assigning colors, adjusting contrast, and…


Book cover of Edwin Hubble

David H. DeVorkin Author Of The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space

From my list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble.

Who am I?

I was trained in astronomy and astrophysics, was a staff observer at the Lick and Yerkes Observatories, and always have had a passion for researching and writing the history of modern astrophysics and space astronomy. I hold a PhD in the history of astronomy from the University of Leicester in England, am now a retired museum curator having been a planetarium lecturer, college professor, research associate for the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, and guitar teacher in the early 1960s.

David's book list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble

David H. DeVorkin Why did David love this book?

Comprehensive biography of the astronomer who confirmed that the universe is made of galaxies, and the galaxies are all moving away from one another. Based upon extensive archival research including diaries from the Hubble family.

By Gale E. Christianson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae is both the biography of an extraordinary human being and the story of the greatest quest in the history of astronomy since the Copernican revolution. The book is a revealing portrait of scientific genius, an incisive engaging history of ideas, and a shimmering evocation of what we see when gazing at the stars.

Born in 1889 and reared in the village of Marshfield, Missouri, Edwin Powell Hubble-star athlete, Rhodes Scholar, military officer, and astronomer- became one of the towering figures in twentieth-century science. Hubble worked with the great 100-inch Hooker telescope at California's Mount…


Book cover of Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention

David H. DeVorkin Author Of The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space

From my list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble.

Who am I?

I was trained in astronomy and astrophysics, was a staff observer at the Lick and Yerkes Observatories, and always have had a passion for researching and writing the history of modern astrophysics and space astronomy. I hold a PhD in the history of astronomy from the University of Leicester in England, am now a retired museum curator having been a planetarium lecturer, college professor, research associate for the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, and guitar teacher in the early 1960s.

David's book list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble

David H. DeVorkin Why did David love this book?

Highly exciting and engaging first-hand account by an astronaut of launching and then repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. The author provides her personal profile as a “Sputnik Baby,” life in science, and becoming the first female astronaut to leave the Shuttle.

By Kathryn D. Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first American woman to walk in space recounts her experience as part of the team that launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained the Hubble Space Telescope
 
The Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized our understanding of the universe. It has, among many other achievements, revealed thousands of galaxies in what seemed to be empty patches of sky; transformed our knowledge of black holes; found dwarf planets with moons orbiting other stars; and measured precisely how fast the universe is expanding. In Handprints on Hubble, retired astronaut Kathryn Sullivan describes her work on the NASA team that made all this possible. Sullivan,…


Book cover of Life With Hubble: An Insider's View of the World’s Most Famous Telescope

Stephen P. Maran Author Of Astronomy for Dummies

From my list on space from someone with 35 years at NASA.

Who am I?

I’ve studied space for 60+ years, including spotting Sputnik from atop 30 Rock for Operation Moonwatch; monitoring an exploding star for a PhD at University of Michigan, leading the Remotely Controlled Telescope project at Kitt Peak National Observatory, hunting pulsars from Arizona and Chile, and helping develop scientific instruments for the Hubble Space Telescope. I worked for 5 years at Kitt Peak and 35 years for NASA. As Press Officer (now retired) of the American Astronomical Society, I organized press conferences on many notable cosmic discoveries. Minor Planet 9768 was named Stephenmaran for me, but I haven’t seen it yet. What I have spotted are five exceptional books on space.  Enjoy!

Stephen's book list on space from someone with 35 years at NASA

Stephen P. Maran Why did Stephen love this book?

Do you recall when the Hubble Space Telescope was launched with supposedly the world’s most perfect mirror, but proved out of focus, a billion-dollar “techno-turkey?” Despite widespread doubts (including mine), it was repaired in space and became arguably the most powerful telescope ever, making extraordinary discoveries about the birth of stars, the age of the universe, what happens when comets smash into Jupiter, and much more. Behind the scenes there were engineering quandaries, inter-agency disputes, and MacGyvering repairs by astronauts. Dave Leckrone, the ultimate insider who worked on Hubble for 33 years, ending as its top Project Scientist, knows what really happened, the “story behind the story,” aided by what must be a photographic memory, incessant notetaking, and one guesses, closely-held Hubble X-files. He tells all of it here.

By David S. Leckrone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most important scientific and engineering endeavors of our time. It has given humankind the first truly clear view of the heavens and has revolutionized almost every area of modern astronomy. The author of this text, David Leckrone, worked as a project scientist on Hubble for 33 years. From 1992–2009 he was the Senior Project Scientist for Hubble at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In that role he had an insider’s view of the trials and triumphs of the Hubble mission, including its extraordinary scientific discoveries and the personal journeys of the astronomers…


Book cover of Life on Mars: Poems

DeMisty D. Bellinger Author Of Peculiar Heritage

From my list on poetry inspired by history.

Who am I?

I care about social justice, equality, and history, as well as beauty and art. As an African-American woman who was raised working class and who understands how history informs the present, I have fallen in love with the depiction of history in poetry and prose. Not all of my writing has something to do with race or gender or class, but all of my writing is about justice in some way. I want to get to the good of people.

DeMisty's book list on poetry inspired by history

DeMisty D. Bellinger Why did DeMisty love this book?

This book mixes personal poetry and history and art and space. It is a wonder! Smith looks at the Hubble Telescope and all of its marvels along with one of its engineers, her father Floyd Smith. 

Smith mixes stars, David Bowie, mass shootings, love, racism, sexism all in this poetry collection and somehow, it works. It more than works. It explodes! 

I don’t know if this work has much to do with my own; there is history, yes, and there is social commentary. But mostly, there is excellent poetry that is exemplary for any poet writing today.

By Tracy K. Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this brilliant collection of new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant and revisits kitschy concepts like 'love' and 'illness', now relegated to the museum of obsolescence. With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe, accompanying the discoveries, failures and oddities of human existence and establishing Smith as one of the best poets of her generation.


Book cover of The Boy Whose Head Was Filled with Stars: A Life of Edwin Hubble

Evonne Blanchard Author Of Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace

From Evonne's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Cat servant Bookworm Hiker Dream chaser

Evonne's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Evonne Blanchard Why did Evonne love this book?

This is a lovely story about a boy called Edwin Hubble who was spellbound by the stars above. His father discouraged his star obsession, but his grandfather encouraged it by building him a telescope for his birthday. Cool Grandpa!

As the young Hubble looked up at the night sky, he wondered how many stars there were. How did the universe start, and where did it come from? He was the first astronomer to determine there were more galaxies than our own Milky Way.

He also discovered that our universe is constantly expanding. The famous Hubble telescope is named after him. Elegantly written and accompanied by gorgeous artwork, this book reminds us to “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet,” Stephen Hawkins.

By Isabelle Marinov, Deborah Marcero (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Boy Whose Head Was Filled with Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This beautifully illustrated biography of Edwin Hubble explores the curiosity that he possessed from a young age, and the many questions that he asked about our universe. This book invites children to ponder these questions as well: How many stars are in the sky? How did the universe begin? Where did it come from?

A New York Public Library Best Book for Kids of 2021
A Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings) Loveliest Children's Book of 2021
A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of 2022, of Outstanding Merit
An Air & Space Magazine Best Children's Book of 2021
A EUREKA!…


Book cover of Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington: Volume 1, the Mount Wilson Observatory: Breaking the Code of Cosmic Evolution

David H. DeVorkin Author Of The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space

From my list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble.

Who am I?

I was trained in astronomy and astrophysics, was a staff observer at the Lick and Yerkes Observatories, and always have had a passion for researching and writing the history of modern astrophysics and space astronomy. I hold a PhD in the history of astronomy from the University of Leicester in England, am now a retired museum curator having been a planetarium lecturer, college professor, research associate for the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, and guitar teacher in the early 1960s.

David's book list on the universe from Hubble to Hubble

David H. DeVorkin Why did David love this book?

Exhaustive descriptive and semi-technical history of the observatory where Hubble spent most of his career, using the 100-inch Hooker reflector to explore the visual limits of the known Universe. Sandage, himself a famous astronomer and Hubble successor, places Hubble’s life and career in lucid institutional context.

By Allan Sandage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its foundation in 1904, the Mount Wilson Observatory has been at the centre of the development of astrophysics. Perched atop a mountain wilderness, two mammoth solar tower telescopes and the 60- and 100-inch behemoth night-time reflectors were all the largest in the world. Research has centred around two main themes - the evolution of stars and the development of the universe. This first volume in a series of five histories of the Carnegie Institution describes the people and events, the challenges and successes that the Observatory has witnessed. It includes biographical sketches of forty of the most famous Mount…


Book cover of Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

Michael Soluri Author Of Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration

From my list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond.

Who am I?

I’ve followed the history of space exploration since I was a kid! Although I spent decades photographing assignments in exotic international locations and co-authored visually driven books on astronomical phenomena, my dream was to photograph in NASA’s restricted space exploration work cultures. Never giving up, I achieved unprecedented access into the shuttle mission that saved the Hubble Space Telescope and, for more than a decade, with the New Horizons team that first explored the Pluto system. I’ve been published in media like Smithsonian, Nat Geo, WIRED, New Scientist, and NPR. Honored that my photographs of astronaut space tools are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   

Michael's book list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond

Michael Soluri Why did Michael love this book?

Influenced by the Apollo era, “I applied to be an astronaut four times and was rejected three times before I was accepted. So, it’s about following your dream and not giving up.” This is from the son of a New York City fireman, where work ethic, never giving up, and lots of humor frame Mike’s achievement to becoming an astronaut (and even a guest on The Big Bang Theory). I’ve known Mass since 2007 and those ingrained qualities make for an inspirational narrative. Perhaps the most poignant: trying to avoid tearing up during his first EVA spacewalk on the Hubble Space Telescope when he experienced seeing the wonder of our blue-dot, water-world Earth from space.  

By Mike Massimino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mike Massimino's compelling memoir takes us on a brilliant journey where the nerdiest science meets the most thrilling adventure to reveal what 'the right stuff' truly is. Many children dream of becoming an astronaut when they grow up, but when NASA rejected him, he kept on trying. Even being told his poor eyesigh would mean he could never make it didn't stop him; he simply trained his eyes to be better. Finally, at the third time of asking, NASA accepted him.
So began Massimino's 18-year career as an astronaut, and the extraordinary lengths he went to to get accepted was…