Fortunately, there are some fantastic books about astronomy and space available that are designed to teach adults everything they want to know, for every level, too. So, whether you’re a huge space and astronomy enthusiast and feel there’s no more you could possible know, or a novice who is looking for an introduction, there’s a book out there that’s got you covered.
Space is a fascinating topic and there is so much to learn, whether you’re interested in the stars, planets, black holes, asteroids, moons and the orbits. Fortunately for you, we have complied a list of our favorite space and astronomy books for adults so you can explore your interest in the solar system and beyond. Keep reading below to find out more.
Why Should I Buy Space Or Astronomy Books For Adults?
Buying a space or astronomy book is a great way to learn about things that exist far beyond our reach. Unless you’re an astronaut, it’s impossible for you to get to space and experience the vastness of it first hand, and so books can be important in giving us the information we want.
Space and astronomy is a fascinating topic to many because it is something we don’t experience every day, and we don’t really know the extent of what is out there. A book about the subject can take us away from our harsh day-to-day life, as we begin to think about things that exist in our universe beyond Earth.
Our brains are very clever and actually never stop learning. If you want to learn about space and astronomy but think you’re too old or don’t have the brain power for it, you’re wrong! You’re never too old or stupid to learn about a new topic or become further educated on something that interests you, and a science book can be a great place to start.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Space And Astronomy Book
With so many books and resources out there, there are a few factors to consider when buying a book about space or astronomy. Take a look below:
Content is arguably the most important thing to look for when buying a book. If you’re a space and astronomy enthusiast, you’ll probably already know a lot about the subject. Therefore, you’ll want a book that goes into more detail about certain aspects of astronomy or is more specialized and advanced. On the other hand, if you’re new to space and astronomy, you’ll want a book that gives a more generalized overview of the topic or a basic introduction. You may also end up buying more than one book so that you can learn about different topics within the subject of space in further detail.
While space and astronomy books for kids offer a gentle introduction to the edges of these sciences, the more mature books can get quite heavy into the subject matter.
The quality of the book does not just come down to the content inside of it, but rather the physical quality of the book — the pages and the cover. If you’re spending a lot of money on a book, you want the pages to be thick and durable, particularly if you plan and re-reading the book or skimming through to certain topics and then going back over other chapters at other times. You also do not want the cover to bend or tear easily, so it can stay looking nice on your bookshelf!
Pictures and images are a fantastic visual aid to help both adults and children learn. If you buy a book with large blocks of text and no pictures, are you going to find it easier to take in the information than if the same information were laid out in diagrams and images? Maybe you find reading text easier, but for many people pictures and images are vital to learning and retaining facts.
Books can be expensive and, while it’s okay to indulge every now and again, if you’re buying books often then it can easily add up! Books on space and astronomy can be expensive, and will become more expensive the more detailed and specialized they are. This is something to keep in mind when buying.
If you’re looking for the perfect book about space and astronomy, look no further! Below are 20 of the best space books and best astronomy books, all available to you on Amazon.
The Best Space And Astronomy Books For Adults — Reviewed
1) The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration: From the Ancient World to the Extraterrestrial Future
The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration by Roger D. Launius offers a comprehensive history of international space exploration. Launius is a former NASA and Smithsonian space curator and historian and in this book he uses photographs, illustrations and graphics of key scientific and technological developments, influential figures and pioneering spacecraft to show how humans have come to understand the universe. Perfect for those interested in the history of space exploration, this book examines space exploration’s origins as well as looking at well-known moments such as the launch of Sputnik 1 and the Apollo Moon landing.
The second edition of Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images by Terence Dickinson not only features 300 pages of high-resolution celestial portraits from the initial 22 years of the Hubble Space Telescope’s exploration of distant galaxies from the first edition of the book, but also adds another chapter with more than 36 completely new images. There is a four-page fold-out of the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest spiral galaxy to Earth, revealing more than one million individual stars, perfect for those who are interested in exploring the world beyond us. Dickinson is an expert in Hubble’s history and he uses his access to top Hubble scientists for extra facts throughout the text of this book.
Space Atlas by James Trefil is a great book for those wanting an overview of everything there is to know about space and our universe. With maps, photographs and illustrations that chart the solar system and the universe, this book provides excellent information on each planet, the most important moons, significant asteroids and other objects. There are images from recent space missions as well as accurate and authoritative scientific information. Even better, with this second edition, astronaut and American hero Buzz Aldrin offers a new special section on Earth’s moon and its essential role in space exploration past and future.
Nirmala Nataraj takes us on a tour of the universe with Earth and Space, with a collection of photographs from the archives of NASA. These photographs include images of Earth from above, our solar system and the celestial bodies of deep space, making this book perfect not just for space lovers but for those interested in photography, too. Each photo is paired with explanatory text so it is contextualized for the reader. The preface is written by Bill Nye, a scientist and engineer.
Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery is written by Scott Kelly, who is a veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space. Throughout this book he describes to the reader the challenges of a long-term spaceflight, including the physical, mental and emotional toll is takes on a human. Kelly shows humanity, compassion, humor and determination as he explains how he came to his career, making this a great book for those who want to know more about life as an astronaut, rather than about the history of the universe.
We’re busy people, and don’t always have time to snuggle down to read a complicated book on a vast topic like space and astrology. Luckily, Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down the universe into clear and succinct text in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, perfect for those who don’t have time to sit and really think about what goes on in our universe! Simple and easy-to-read, you can dip in and out of this book at your own pace, while still learning all about the Big Bang, space, the universe and even quantum mechanics!
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan is one of the older books on our list — first published in 1997. The late astronomer Sagan revisits the history of our journey into space and takes a look at the future as we move further into the solar system and what lies beyond. Great for those who want history of man’s experience with space but also want to see where space travel could take us, Pale Blue Dot explores both aspects. This book is a sequel to Sagan’s previous book, Cosmos. Both are books of great significance.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, first published in 1988, has become one of the most important books of scientific writing. It explores how our universe began and questions such as “Does time always flow forward?” and “Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries?”.
In this new edition, The Illustrated Brief History of Time, Hawking brings findings from his recent research and has prepared a new introduction to the book, written an entirely new chapter on the fascinating subject of wormholes and time travel, and updated the original chapters. Even better, this book contains more than 240 full-color illustrations, including satellite images and photographs, making it an all-round great book for those interested in our world and how it began.
9) The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth
Dr. Michio Kaku explores where space travel and exploration could go in The Future of Humanity. A physicist and futurist, he presents a vision of how humanity may develop a sustainable civilization in outer space, including developments in robotics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology that could allow humans to build habitable cities on Mars. He also explores new rockets that could make interstellar travel a possibility, as well as topics such as wormholes, hyperspace, parallel universes and the multiverse. This is the perfect book for anyone interested in what is to come with space exploration and whether one day we really may be able to live in outer space.
The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space by David H. Devorkin and Robert W. Smith celebrate 25 years of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. This book is filled with images and text that allow the reader a new understanding of the universe, as well as looking back over the Hubble story and what could be to come. There are 150 images in this book to educate on what is out there, while also showing how this telescope changed the way we view space.
11) Turn Left At Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope – and How to Find Them
Great for those interested in astronomy and learning about stars, Turn Left At Orion by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis is a guidebook to the night sky and shows you how to observe the stars. It shows you how deep-sky objects and planets actually look through a small telescope so you can have a go at home, and the large size of the book paired with the large print means it can easily be taken outside and read at night. This book includes accurate star names and astronomical information, as well as up-to-date tables and images — perfect for telescope enthusiasts!
Another book excellent for those who enjoy looking at the stars through their telescope, The Total Skywatcher’s Manual by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific will help you choose the best telescope, identify constellations and objects in the night sky, search for extraterrestrial phenomena and take beautiful photos of space. This manual is easy-to-use while also being very informative, and even includes star charts, astrophotography and step-by-step project instruction. This can make a perfect gift for those just starting out stargazing, or those who have been doing it for years.
Until the End of Time by Brian Greene takes you on a journey exploring the cosmos and human’s quest to find meaning within it. He explains the history of our universe, right from the Big Bang, but also explores the end of time and how we exist in relation to myth, religion, creative expression and science. While this book does give accurate and precise information about our solar system and what is out there, it is more a read for those who have questions about how we relate to it all and what it’s meaning really is.
NightWatch by Terence Dickinson is one of the most popular stargazing books to date and is perfect for those who love backyard stargazing. With informative star charts, this bestseller can be used by those with small telescopes and binoculars, so you don’t need to have all the expensive kit to enjoy searching for the stars. There are also sections on equipment, photography and tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, right up until 2025. Even better, there are photographs throughout the book that show the latest discoveries made by current space observatories and probes.
Perfect for beginners who want to know more about astronomy, Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide by Dinah L. Mochè is one of the most comprehensive and successful beginner’s astronomy books in the market. This book goes into detail about all there is to know about our solar system, as well as featuring images and explaining technical ideas that have been made simple without the math! One of the best features of this beginner’s guide is the interactive format with learning goals, reviews, self-tests and answers for fast learning, and there are also website addresses included so you can look at the best color images and astronomy resources online.
Another book by Terence Dickinson, The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide is perfect for home astronomers and this newest addition provides expert guidance on the right types of telescopes and other equipment, photographing the stars through a telescope and star charts and software. There are also sections on daytime and twilight observing, planetary and deep-sky observing, as well as over 500 color photographs and illustrations and a 20-page full-color atlas of the Milky Way. You don’t need to be an expert for this book, which makes is great for those just starting out, as well as veteran stargazers.
Astronomy For Dummies by Stephen P. Maran provides an easy-to-follow introduction to exploring the night sky, including updated star maps, charts and an insert with gorgeous full-color photographs. This easy-to-understand book gives beginners a great guide to the basics of space science and astronomy, from asteroids to black holes. This book also explores recent discoveries in space, shows beginner’s telescopes and suppliers and even provides free online access to chapter quizzes to help you understand the content. If you’re new to the world of space and don’t know where to start, this is the book for you.
This official NASA publication, Apollo Expeditions to the Moon by Edgar M. Cortright commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the July 20, 1969 Moon landing. It includes essays by participants such as engineers, astronauts and administrators so you can learn all about challenges they had to face when making this a reality and the effect it had on American history and culture. There are 160 color photographs as well as many black and white illustrations to show the events in greater details, too. This is the perfect book for anyone who is interested in space missions and what they are really like.
Wonders of the Universe by Brian Cox is a illustrated and full-color companion to his wildly popular miniseries on the Discovery Channel and BBC. The images in this book help you to explore and understand the universe in new ways, from ocean currents to black holes, while the text shows the history of the universe, space missions and other interesting facts about our solar system that there are to know. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in space — whether you are new to the topic or are long-standing enthusiast.
Another book by Brian Cox, this time writing with Andrew Cohen, The Planets is an exploration of our solar system as it has never been seen before. The reader is taken through each planet and given their history and interesting facts, and recent NASA images help you to understand them in greater detail. The latest discoveries about our planets are also covered, so you get great insight into how space exploration has advanced in recent years.
Space and astronomy are topics that have captivated people for years. Without ever being able to experience their vastness, it can be difficult for us to understand what goes on out there and how astronomy and planets work. However, with a book on the topic, we can become a little more educated about the unknown and try to understand ourselves on what really is beyond Earth. Whether you’re a veteran space enthusiast or just fancy learning a little more about a certain aspect, there’s a book out there for you.