Best Astronomy Book Reviews 2018

Stargazing and satisfying the need to learn about an “infinite” universe is as much a hobby for some people as it is a research area for science-inclined folks. Often, the difference between a great stargazing experience and an awful one can be linked to the quality of information obtained, which is where a good astronomy book comes in. We know you plan to get one soon, which is why we took on the task of doing thorough research on some of the best astronomy books from five top astronomy authors. This extensive guide also suggests other books written by these authors that can be beneficial to you.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Content Type
Audience
Author
Pages
Published
Our Top Choice
Guy Consolmagno: Turn Left at Orion
Award-winning Guy Consolmagno, known as "the Pope’s Astronomer," is a Jesuit priest, a research astronomer, and Director of the Vatican Observatory. He advocates the harmony of science and religion.
Spiral-bound for easy and quick flipping. Ideal for beginners and amateurs. Detailed information for objects in the Southern Hemisphere. Table of updated astronomical information.
It is quite big.
Guidebook
Adults
Guy Consolmagno; Dan M. Davis
256
2011
Best Value
Michael Driscoll Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky
Michael Driscoll is a Wall Street Journal editor, and Meredith Hamilton is a renowned illustrator of children’s books. They have produced great and informative books for kids.
Suitable for children age eight and older. Informative and interesting. Includes historical information and achievements by scientists. Colorful illustrations. Has a star and planet wheel.
Enthusiasts with stargazing experience may find the information too basic.
Introduction to astronomy
8 - 13 years
Driscoll, Meredith Hamilton
96
2004
Terrence Dickinson NightWatch: A Practical Guide
Terrence Dickinson is the prolific writer of 12 astronomy books. He has won a number of international and national awards for his outstanding contribution to science.
Top-selling stargazers' guide. Information about future astronomical events through 2025. Equipment section. Instructions on how to use modern cameras for astrophotography.
Some people find it more informative than instructional.
Star charts; astrophotography
10 - 17 years
Terence Dickinson
192
2006
Michael Benson Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle
Multiple award-winning Michael Benson is an artist, writer, filmmaker, and book designer who combines his talents to produce remarkable pieces of art, science, and literature.
228 awe-inspiring and high-definition astronomical pictures. Features images that show the vastness of the universe. Comprehensible, sublime, and interesting text.
It doesn’t have page numbers.
Picture book
13 years+; beginners
Michael Benson
320
2009
John A Read 50 Things To See With A Small Telescope
John Read has been an aerospace pilot and a corporate finance enthusiast. Today, he is a full-time student of astrophysics and a celebrated writer.
50 views include Venus, Orion, and the International Space Station. Features maps and sky charts. Colorful DSO pictures. Simple yet concise. Suitable for all ages.
Young readers may need a little guidance to understand the scope.
Guide book
Amateurs
John A Read
74 pages
2013

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Astronomy Book?

Astronomy, in itself, is a rewarding and fascinating activity. It is often said that you may not need a telescope or one of those snazzy cameras to appreciate the wonders of the invisible universe. Your naked eye may just do all that for you.

But there’s a limit to what a small amateur’s telescope or the naked eye can show you. Using these media, it is quite impossible to see astronomical objects with the image quality and level of detail that is captured by large and professional astronomical equipment. This is why astronomy books are compiled and written. These books feature images and facts, including historical, future, and current astronomical information resulting from many years of research and observations.

Astronomy books bridge the gap between what we want to know about the universe and what the expert astronomers have discovered. So you don’t need to send your resumé to NASA’s HR manager to enjoy a wonderful night of stargazing. All you need is a good book on astronomy, and a red light flashlight to view star charts, while you sit comfortably on a sturdy camping chair.

You may decide on an astronomy book for a research topic, project, or assignment, and you could also need one as an introductory or resource guide to the exciting adventures of stargazing. It could even be for something entirely different. For whatever reason you need an astronomy book, one truth remains: it has to be good, or it will defeat the purpose for which you bought it.
Price
One common reason astronomy books have varying prices is that those with more pictures, and high-quality pictures at that, tend to be costlier than the ones with fewer pictures. Nonetheless, you can find a good astronomy book within the range of $15 to $200.

We’ll also like you to keep away from cheap astronomy books that offer low-quality images. Books of this sort will have the tendency to frustrate and bore you.
Features
When you know what to look for, choosing an astronomy book becomes really easy. Here are a few qualities to note:
  • Intended audience
  • Binding
  • Number of pages
  • Edition and publication date
  • Picture quality
Construction and Design
Astronomy books are often either spiral-bound, or center-sewn and permanently bound. The latter offers durability and long-lasting use. This is why some people may opt for such binding. Spiral-bound astronomy books, on the other hand, are preferred by some readers because they are easy to flip through and will stay flat on an open page. So if you’ll need an astronomy book as a guide while you stargaze, a spiral-bound book will be a good choice.

Page numbers may reflect the amount of information a book contains to some extent. But sometimes, it is not a correct index of information. In fact, a book can be all pictures and little text, like a drop of water in an ocean. Of course, you can tell that you’ll be doing a lot more viewing and observation than reading with such a book.

Nonetheless, if a book combines the hardcover feature with quite a number of thick pages, prepare for a hefty book. You should know already that this kind of book will be a million miles away from being handy or backpack-friendly. It will most likely just sit on your shelf till you need it on your table.
Performance and Ease of Use
Who needs the book? It could be you or someone else. That’s never an issue, because many people will get on the astronomy train by “tagging” their names to a good astronomy book. The real deal is actually in the level of knowledge of astronomy the intended user has.

For instance, an expert will need a book with a lot more advanced information and data than a hobbyist may feel comfortable with. The language of such books may be somewhat complex, because it is assumed that readers have prior knowledge of the basics of astronomy. The book will thus seek to build on that knowledge.

Beginners and amateurs, on the other hand, will be more comfortable with a book that is less complex and features definition of technical jargon if there is any in the book. If you are looking to buy an astronomy book for a younger reader, say an eight-year-old, opt for an interesting, fun-filled book that features pretty and colorful illustrations with a number of activities.

We really can’t overemphasize the need to look for books in the latest edition, and with publication dates of not more than 10 years ago. This is because astronomy information is revised every so often. To ensure you have updated information, you’ll do well to get the latest edition of a book you’ll love to own.

What is the Best Astronomy Book?

A good astronomy book should prepare you for what to expect and how to go about a stargazing adventure. We can tell that, after reading our buying guide, you have already figured that out.
Our Top Choice
Turn Left at Orion is a popular book on astronomy written for beginners and experienced amateur astronomers. It features clear and simple diagrams, with eloquently delivered text that will engage the reader. For a book on science and religion, check out Consolmagno’s Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist. It posits the theory that religion and science don't have to be opposed.
Guy Consolmagno: Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them – 4th Edition

Guy Consolmagno Astronomy Book 978-0521153973 – Spiral-Bound


Features
Guy Consolmagno is a Jesuit priest, prolific writer, and Director of the Vatican Observatory. He obtained an S.M and a Ph.D. in planetary science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona, respectively. He joined the Peace Corps in 1983 after his postdoctoral research program at Harvard College and MIT to teach physics and astronomy in Kenya. Shortly afterward, he assumed the role of an assistant professor at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. During his participation in the Antarctic Search for Meteorites, where he made some outstanding discoveries, an asteroid was named after him. Consolmagno believes that religion and science shouldn’t work as competing ideologies; rather, they should work alongside each other.

His book Turn Left at Orion ranks high among the most popular astronomy books ever written. Since its first publication, this book has sold well over 100,000 copies. It comes across as a remarkable guidebook for astronomy and stargazing enthusiasts who are just starting out on the quest for more information about our universe.

Experienced amateurs are not left out, as the scope of this book was designed to include them as well. If you already have a telescope or you hope to get one alongside this book, you’ll do well to place an order right away.

This book is spiral-bound for quick and easy use in outdoor settings or in the field where you need to view the night sky with a telescope. In fact, it is specially designed to accommodate the use of Dobsonian telescopes, including smaller reflectors and refractors.

This amazing book makes exploring the night sky easier and interesting, with features such as its large-format eyepiece views that show exactly how objects appear when viewed through a telescope. It doesn’t focus on just the night sky, but also on the moon, planets and distant clusters, galaxies, and nebulae. Other features include revised directions, tables of updated astronomical information, and an expanded moon section.
Best Value
Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky is a conversational and informative book on astronomy that is suitable for kids ages eight and up. It also features interesting historical information about space exploration. You can also introduce your kids to the environment with Driscoll’s Child’s Introduction to the Environment. It features fun facts and projects that make learning fun for kids.
Michael Driscoll Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations and How You Can Find Them in the Sky

Michael Driscoll Astronomy Book 978-1579123666 – Hardcover


Features
Michael Driscoll currently works as a staff editor at the Wall Street Journal. He has authored and co-authored some really good books for kids that have received good reviews from A-list media firms. Booklist reviewed his book A Child’s Introduction to Poetry as "playful and informative." The same book won teachers’ choice and parents’ choice awards. Driscoll's books have sold several hundreds of thousands of copies.

Michael Driscoll’s Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky is a book on astronomy specially written for young readers aged eight and up. Nonetheless, older and more mature readers have also benefited from this book, especially those taking their first steps into stargazing.

This book is packed with lots of information on introductory astronomy, and it delivers this information in an easy-to-read and comprehensible manner. It is interesting, engaging, and will keep kids wanting to read it over and over again. It also includes historical information about space exploration, achievements made by renowned scientists, and future missions.

Its special colorful star wheel, known as the Star Finder, helps readers locate planets and stars wherever they are and at any time of the year. They’ll also learn about space shuttles, rockets, satellites, and starry collections – their names, shapes, and fun stories about them.

We all know that the concept of black holes and dark matter still remains a mystery to some adults. Driscoll explains them in clear and concise terms that your children will be able to understand and relate to properly.
Dickinson’s NightWatch is often referred to as the essential guide and introduction to stargazing. It features star charts, astrophotography, and equipment suggestions, and astronomy tables that are relevant through 2025. Heard about the Hubble Space Telescope? You may want to read Dickinson’s Hubble's Universe. You’ll learn about and view some of the latest discoveries and pictures that Hubble has captured.
Terrence Dickinson NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe – 4th Edition

Terrence Dickinson Astronomy Book 978-1554071470


Features
Bestselling author Terrence Dickinson has written several books on astronomy, some of which are highly recommended for the stargazing enthusiast. His outstanding works of astronomy literature include The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide and Hubble’s Universe. Dickson has also won numerous national and international awards, including the New York Academy of Science Book of the Year Award.

Start with the first page of Terrence Dickinson’s NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, and you will soon realize that is impossible to put this wonderful book down. In fact, Canadians have this book to thank for helping them to build a strong interest in stargazing. It's little wonder that it's referred to as the essential guidebook for beginning stargazers.

It features an enlarged photography section, which includes instructions on how to use new-generation digital cameras and combine them with telescopes for astronomical photography.

Looking for astronomical resource materials about the Southern Hemisphere? This book includes star charts that every backyard astronomer will love. And if you want information about future lunar and solar eclipses, planet locations, and planetary conjunctions, this book offers detailed information that you’ll appreciate. You can also take advantage of scores of novel pictures that reveal the latest astronomical findings.

With over 600,000 copies of this book in print since its first publication in 1983, it is globally ranked as the top-selling stargazing guide over the last two decades. Dickinson’s extensive revisions of this book over the years have yielded more sales in each edition than the previous one.
In Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle, Benson puts together a brilliant collection of images from astronomical observations. They include images from the Milky Way and other regions of our universe. Are you space-struck or an art lover? Then we are sure you’ll love Michael Benson’s book Cosmigraphics. It reveals our otherwise invisible universe to the human senses.
Michael Benson Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle

Michael Benson Astronomy Book 978-0810949485


Features
Multiple award-winning Michael Benson is many things in one – an artist, filmmaker, writer, exhibitions producer, and book designer. Benson’s works involve taking raw data from archives of planetary science, processing it, and creating large landscapes that appeal to the visual senses. His regular tasks include composite and mosaic editing, and seamless landscape photography beyond experiences humans can relate with. He has also written articles that featured in the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Atlantic. Currently, he is a fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities, Advocate for Curiosity at the Weizmann Institute, and a Scholar at the MIT Media Lab.

Michael Benson’s book Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle is a compilation of remarkable pictures of astronomical images gathered from expert observations of the world and the universe. Some of the really breathtaking images from astronomical observations which have never been seen or published for public viewing have also been carefully selected and included in this book. Parts of the universe captured in this book include regions in the near nebulae in the Milky Way, and far regions of the Hubble Deep Field.

Reviews from notable individuals and media firms reveal that this book is truly different from the regular astronomy book you see sitting on the shelf of a bookstore. In the words of Douglas Trumbull, Oscar-winning Visual Effects Supervisor of the popular Star Trek, "[Benson’s] Far Out inspires me to imagine a Universe filled with life…" You too can imagine and bask in the wonders of our universe by getting a copy of this book right away.
In his first book, 50 Things To See With A Small Telescope, Read uses the telescope view to show stargazing enthusiasts brilliant images of what objects look like when viewed through small telescopes. Do you love the art and science of star-gazing? Look at John Read's 50 Targets for the Mid-Sized Telescope. This book will help you explore the vastness of the universe.
John A Read 50 Things To See With A Small Telescope– Available in Multiple Formats

John A Read Astronomy Book 978-0615826714 - Paperback


Features
John Read dropped out of Carleton University’s Aerospace Engineering program to pursue an unrelated degree in Corporate Finance. A few years after the changeover, Read fell in love with stargazing. His wife got him the 12-inch Dobsonian telescope that ushered him into volunteering four nights a week under the Californian skies as a member of the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society. During his stay there, he wrote essays for the society’s magazine, Diablo MoonWatch, and published his first book a while later. Today, he is a full-time student of astrophysics in Halifax, Nova Scotia. When asked what he considered the best thing about being a writer, Read replied: "...my favorite thing about being a writer are the emails I get from friends explaining how much they love [my] book."

If you have an imaginative mind that can wander away from the Earth as we know it into the wonders of the invisible vastness of our universe, you should add substance to your imagination by reading Read’s bestseller, 50 Things To See With A Small Telescope.

Because of the high demand for this informative and interesting 74-page book, it has been translated into 10 languages, including French, German, and Japanese. This book will help the average star-gazing enthusiast explore the stars, nebulae, and galaxies of the universe through the lens of a telescope. (Of course, we are not saying this book comes with a real telescope. All we are saying is that you get to see exactly how objects appear when they are viewed through a telescope.)

If you’ve been struggling with your small telescope for a while now, and you are looking for an expert guide, then you should purchase this book right away. Some of the subjects this book covers include the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, comets, the International Space Station, and iridium flares.

Get the Best Astronomy Book of 2018!

Since you’re now well-armed with the right information, we don't want you to delay a great star-watching experience any longer. We invite you to place an order for your preferred choice right away. For more options, you can take advantage of the navigation links we have provided you with.

Our Top Choice
Guy Consolmagno: Turn Left at Orion
Best Value
Michael Driscoll Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky
Terrence Dickinson NightWatch: A Practical Guide
Michael Benson Far Out: A Space-Time Chronicle
John A Read 50 Things To See With A Small Telescope