The most recommended telescope books

Who picked these books? Meet our 4 experts.

4 authors created a book list connected to telescopes, and here are their favorite telescope books.
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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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

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

From my list on stargazing.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

This classic book is a veritable encyclopedia of stargazing knowledge, including telescope operation, celestial mechanics, and astrophotography. Terence brings his decades of stargazing experience to bear, offering tips and tricks that will push your backyard observations to the next level. Even if you only have binoculars, this book contains more than enough stargazing activities to keep you busy for years.

By Terence Dickinson, Roberta Cooke (illustrator), Adolf Schaller (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first three editions of NightWatch sold more than 600,000 copies, making it the top-selling stargazing guide in the world for the last 20 years. The key feature of this classic title is the section of star charts that are cherished by backyard astronomers everywhere. Each new edition has outsold the previous one because of thorough revisions and additional new material.

NightWatch has been acclaimed as the best general interest introduction to astronomy. The fourth edition has improvements over the 3rd edition in every chapter, including: The famous charts, ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars; A complete…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 Epic Moon: A History of Lunar Exploration in the Age of the Telescope

Charles A. Wood Author Of 21st Century Atlas of the Moon

From my list on the Moon from a lunar scientist.

Why am I passionate about this?

While watching my first eclipse of the Moon in the 5th grade I was awed that the Earth’s shadow stretched so far into space and by the speed the Moon passed through it. I started reading science fiction books and in high school discovered Sky & Telescope magazine. I've read S&T ever since and have proudly written its Moon column for the last 21 years. I've also built telescopes for backyard observing, earned a PhD in planetary science, worked at NASA & the Planetary Science Institute, written three books about the Moon, prepared 6 years of daily Lunar Photo of the Day blogs, and have been chair of the International Astronomical Union’s Lunar Nomenclature Task Group.

Charles' book list on the Moon from a lunar scientist

Charles A. Wood Why did Charles love this book?

Epic Moon tells the stories of the often odd characters and their thoughts about the Moon in the 400 years before Apollo. Although Galileo and one or two other early astronomers found evidence that the Moon did not hold water or air, the search for life and changes such as volcanic eruptions, light flashes, insect migrations, vegetation growth, and lunar cities dominated most lunar mapping and telescopic exploration and interpretation. The observers weren’t crazy, the Moon was completely alien, but humans understood only what was known on Earth. Terrestrial impact craters were not recognized until the early 1900s and the origins of many were still doubted into the 1960s. The fundamental discoveries starting with Galileo, skipping to Mädler in the 1830s, and Shoemaker and Baldwin in the 1950s, finally reached a firmament of understanding after Apollo when scientists established the new disciplines of lunar and planetary science.

By William P. Sheehan, Thomas A. Dobbins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Moon has always been one of the most obvious and in some ways the most enticing of astronomical objects - even from early times, it was Queen of the Night, and the naked eye sees more detail than even the largest telescopes reveal on Mars. There is growing evidence of a return of amateur observers to the Moon as an object worthy of their attention. It is the only alien world open to geological prospecting from the eyepieces of the backyard telescope.


Book cover of Mr. Palomar

Janet Sternburg Author Of Janet Sternburg - I've Been Walking

From my list on discovering how to see.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and a late-life fine arts photographerFor eight years I had been writing a book set in the personal and historical past. I would sit at the computer, shut my eyes, and say to myself, “Go deeper.” Eventually, I was able to recall long-forgotten details. When I looked up from those years of writing, the memoir, entitled Phantom Limb, was finished and being published. However, I discovered that I could no longer see – really see – what was around me. Along the way, I had lost that alert attention to the way light falls, to colors that used to hit me between the eyes. I felt the loss deeply. I’ve always loved to look. I had to do something to summon it back.

Janet's book list on discovering how to see

Janet Sternburg Why did Janet love this book?

Mr. Palomar, the hero, is named for the great observatory in California, and he, Mr. Palomar, is the Great Observer. He walks, he wonders about what he sees, and how, in a miraculous universe, such a thing could exist. It’s not a page-turner. It’s a page stopper. I savored each page, seeing the smallest thing – a rock, for example -- as Mr.Palomar sees it. Then I suggest that you put the book down, go out into the world, and see everything as an object of wonder.

By Italo Calvino,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mr Palomar is a delightful eccentric whose chief activity is looking at things. He is seeking knowledge; 'it is only after you have come to know the surface of things that you can venture to seek what is underneath'. Whether contemplating a fine cheese, a hungry gecko, a woman sunbathing topless or a flight of migrant starlings, Mr Palomar's observations render the world afresh.