Books

Best Astronomy and Astrophysics Books

Seen through the eyes of an astronomer or astrophysicist, the Universe is a fantastic and mystical world – and a good book can give you a glimpse of that place without requiring years of study. Here I’m going to review some astronomy and astrophysics books that will thrill, puzzle, intrigue and blow your mind. The first 10 astronomy books are my personal choice – books I have read and love, followed by the TOP 10 Bestsellers at Amazon. At the end of this article I will publish all of the suggestion we have received, so please, tell us about your favorite astronomy book!

So let’s start!


1: “Earth in Human Hands”  by David Grinspoon  

For the first time in Earth’s history, our Planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we’ve made–up until this point, inadvertently–to the Planet. And our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures. By comparing Earth’s story to those of other Planets, astrobiologist David Grinspoon shows what a strange and novel development it is for a species to evolve to build machines, and ultimately, global societies with world-shaping influence.
Without minimizing the challenges of the next century, Grinspoon suggests that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective. Our species has surmounted the threat of extinction before, thanks to our innate ingenuity and ability to adapt, and there’s every reason to believe we can do so again.
Our challenge now is to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change, and to grow into this task. We must become graceful planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment and caretakers of Earth’s biosphere. This is a perspective that begs us to ask not just what future do we want to avoid, but what do we seek to build? What kind of world do we want? Are humans the worst thing or the best thing to ever happen to our planet? Today we stand at apivotal juncture, and the answer will depend on the choices we make.

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 2: NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson

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 binocularsA complete update of the equipment section, including computerized telescopesAn enlarged photography section, including how-to instructions for using the new generation of digital cameras for astronomical photography, both with and without a telescopeThe tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, updated through 2025.This edition includes star charts for use in the southern hemisphere. There are also dozens of new photographs throughout the book that show the latest thrilling discoveries made by current space observatories and probes.

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3. Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan’s collaborator, Ann Druyan, full color illustrations, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.

” This book is a beautiful glimpse inside one of the greatest scientific minds in history. While some of it may seem dated, the book still stands up as one of the best popular science books ever written, and the language is just beautiful”-Miriam Kramer“Magnificent . . . With a lyrical literary style, and a range that touches almost all aspects of human knowledge, Cosmos often seems too good to be true.” –The Plain Dealer

4. The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot

This book will change your life. Without wanting to spoil the read, or without the urge to get to in-depth about the subject matter in a simple review, I can sum the book up as an alternate view on both quantum physics and neuro-science, and the postulations that the book makes throughout its course are simply marvelous to read about.

The Holographic Universe is a “must read” for anyone with an open, inquiring mind and a curiosity about the cosmos in which we reside. Talbot has a talent for presenting complex subjects in layman’s terms, yet make it interesting reading. While some of the topics may at first glance appear intimidating, most folks will find this book quite readable and understandable. That doesn’t mean The Holographic Universe is light reading. You are likely to find the material presented here to be nothing short of astounding. The ramifications for humanity are staggering as this book seriously challenges the basis for our cultural view of reality: materialism. After reading The Holographic Universe, you will understand why so many people are starting to say that a paradigm shift in our science and culture is at hand.

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5. Human Universe by professor Brian Cox

Top ten Sunday Times Bestseller

‘Engaging, ambitious and creative” The Guardian

Where are we? Are we alone? Who are we? Why are we here? What is our future?

Human Universe tackles some of the greatest questions that humans have asked to try and understand the very nature of ourselves and the Universe in which we live.Through the endless leaps of human minds, it explores the extraordinary depth of our knowledge today and where our curiosity may lead us in the future. With groundbreaking insight it reveals how time, physics and chemistry came together to create a creature that can wonder at its own existence, blessed with an unquenchable thirst to discover not just where it came from, but how it can think, where it is going and if it is alone.Personally, I adore the Professor. Not once he has inspired me, making me to look at the night sky with love and gratitude for all that it is. Here you can check his video series which I did review.

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6. Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

“How did it all begin? Is there other intelligent life in the Universe? Is time travel possible?” These are just a few of the big questions that Stephen Hawking discusses in his final book. Hawking does not simply give us one-word answers, but walks us through his own thinking and divergences on each subject. The language is easy to follow and each chapter’s length keeps you engaged. In places the book touches on some complicated physics, but you will never feel lost. There are many inspiring parts that will stay with you and shape the way you think about these big questions in the future.

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7. Ultimate Guide to Viewing the Cosmos by David Dickinson & Frazer Cain

Authors Dickinson and Cain are here to ease you into astronomy, providing a complex but highly readable guide for amateurs (or even veterans who need a refresher), introducing the night sky and the tools needed to observe it. They introduce us to stargazing, discuss software and equipment to aid our understanding, braving the minefield of choosing the right telescope, the right aperture, the right mount and the right eyepiece. They show us how to build a basic Newtonian refracting ‘scope for under $50.  This is a companion for any astronomer at any level, but its main message is that we should not forget to simply revel in astronomy for the awe-inspiring experience that it is.

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8. The Secret Lives of Planets by Paul Murdin

Paul Murdin manages to compress billions of years of Solar System history into fewer than 300 pages, as well as providing a timeline and glossary of both our nearest and furthest neighbours. The details of each object’s classification, rotation, diameter and surface temperatures are given in helpful boxouts so the reader doesn’t get lost in all the information. The Secret Lives of Planets aims to be “a user’s guide to the Solar System”, but it also turns out to be an inspiration to look at the Solar System as a long cosmic journey, and find our place in it.

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9. Space: 10 Things You Should Know by Dr Becky Smethurst

Dr Becky Smethurst has a wonderful gift for communicating some extremely exciting but also tough astrophysics in 10 bite-sized essays. If you’d like to know about supermassive black holes, the hunt for exoplanets and the expanding Universe (plus a lot more), then this book is a nice starting point. I really enjoyed the conversational writing style and the divergences that come with this. It made me feel as though Dr Becky was sat next to me. My favourite chapter is the last, which touches on the importance of searching for the unknown knowns. There’s something wonderfully inspiring communicated through the pages, and I closed the book feeling a bit more excited about my own research.

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10. The End of Everything by Katie Mack

The End of Everything explores five possible scenarios for the Universe’s ultimate demise: the ‘big crunch’, ‘heat death’, the ‘big rip’, ‘vacuum decay’ and the ‘ekpyrotic scenario’. Mack seamlessly weaves her way through the essential physics you’ll need to understand each Universe-ending possibility. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of, say, the ekpyrotic scenario because the author gives us a readily graspable explanation of this and many other concepts.

I loved the slight tangents the author makes as though she is speaking out loud; these touches make the book feel very personable. My favourite might be how she explains a topological defect in the same way as deciding which bread plate is yours at a fancy dinner. The epilogue is another highlight, where various cosmologists contemplate the end of the Universe. It’s intriguing to read that while this subject is ‘sad’, it really is all about the journey. 

I can’t remember coming across another book that solely focuses on the eventual destruction of all of reality. Mack is a great science communicator and I suspected I was going to like this book as soon as I saw her name; I am pleased to say it does not disappoint.

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Here Are THE TOP 10 Astronomy Book Selling in Amazon

SaleBestseller No. 1
Space Atlas, Second Edition: Mapping the Universe and Beyond
  • Hardcover Book
  • Trefil, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 10/23/2018 (Publication Date) - National Geographic (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 2
National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky, 2nd Edition
  • Fazekas, Andrew (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 03/19/2019 (Publication Date) - National Geographic (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 3
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
  • Hardcover Book
  • deGrasse Tyson, Neil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 05/02/2017 (Publication Date) - W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 4
The Astronomy Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
  • Hardcover Book
  • DK (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) - DK (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 5
Turn Left At Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home...
  • Consolmagno, Guy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 01/24/2019 (Publication Date) - Cambridge University Press (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 6
The Sky Atlas: The Greatest Maps, Myths, and Discoveries of the Universe...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Brooke-Hitching, Edward (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 255 Pages - 02/25/2020 (Publication Date) - Chronicle Books (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 7
Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images
  • FIREFLY
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dickinson, Terence (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 332 Pages - 09/19/2017 (Publication Date) - Firefly Books (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 8
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dickinson, Terence (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 09/12/2008 (Publication Date) - Firefly Books (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 9
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide, Eighth Edition (Wiley Self Teaching...
  • Ingram Pub Services
  • Moché, Dinah L. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 388 Pages - 07/22/2014 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 10
Star Finder!: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Night Sky
  • DK (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 10/10/2017 (Publication Date) - DK Children (Publisher)

16 thoughts on “Books

  1. NemiraB

    Hello here. Your book list impressive and tempting to read for everybody who wants expand their minds. As Earl Nightingale told that streched mind never goes to the previous state.
    I have Carl Sagan’s Cosmos in my iPad as PDF. I hope that I will find time to read it.
    Overall I miss these times when I visited places where city lights do not cover stars. I felt connection and safety from the view of countless constelations and planets.
    These mentioned books will prompt reader to think deeper because we are part of bigger structure.
    All the best, Nemira.

    1. Ignat

      Hi Nemira, and thank you for the comment.

      Last year and a half I lived in London and as a person who loves Astronomy this is more than a night mare. I was able to see just a few from all that the night sky can provide. Now days I’m back at my home house at village and just can’t stop staring the sky. You are right – the feel much more connected to all!

      Hope you will find time soon to have Carl Sagan’s book read. It’s one of my favorite!

  2. ches

    I think the subject of astronomy should be available to kids at school and college. The fact we know less about our planets, galaxy and universe than we do our earth is quite strange to me.
    I have got two of these books, Nightwatch and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. They are both excellent books and two of my favourite astronomy publications that I treasure.
    My husband is a fan of Brian Cox and I’m thinking of getting this book as a present for an anniversary. As for the 4th book, it looks really intriguing and I will probably go for that one too. Thanks for the review, Ches

    1. Ignat

      Hello,

      I’m totally agree with you Ches. Astronomy should go at school and college.

      The holographic universe is one of my favorite book. We all have heard about that everything is just an illusion but in this book you going to believe it because Michael Talbot is proving everything he says.

      And about Brian Cox: I just I love this guy!!!

      Thanks for the comment. All best for you!

  3. Israel

    Hi Ignat!

    “Cosmos”, amazing Carl Sagan! And you out that together with a foreword of the awesome Neil deGrasse Tyson and you got a masterpiece about the secrets of the universe.

    We have yet so much to learn about the Universe… It’s good to have people sharing their thoughts about that. We sometimes feel like we’re so important, when we’re actually a little tinny dot out there.

    Thanks for sharing! Very interesting books!

    1. Ignat

      Hi Israel!

      The Universe is keeping so much secrets and probably just because of that, the most people don’t want to step on this road – it’s so complicated. But once you try to reveal some of the universe secrets you’ll see that it’s all connected and you are part of the Universe. So revealing its secrets, you are revealing your own secrets.

      And yes, we have yet so much to learn, but we have to start from somewhere and these books are a very good start.

      Thanks for comment!

  4. Kiersten

    That Nightwatch book looks amazing! My family had a telescope growing up that we would use occasionally to look at the stars, but I most relied on my dad’s knowledge and didn’t bother to learn much about astronomy myself. Now that I’m starting my own family, I would love to pick up a telescope and learn more about astronomy so I can give the same experiences to my own children. Cosmos by Carl Sagan sounds like a very interesting read too!

    1. Ignat

      Hi Kiersten,

      I believe Astronomy is one of the most amazing things that can fascinate your conscious. And when we speak about children- couldn’t be better. No way to get wrong with love to the Universe! All books here are very good, very different and very powerful. You can check and some videos as well. Also when you are going to get a Telescope, don’t forget to read everything you have to know about it. Here I have written very nice article about how to get Telescope.

      Thank you for your time!

  5. delroaustria

    This would be an interesting list of science books.

    I really love science and want to learn more things about our universe. There are so many things out there that I want to understand.

    “Where are we? Are we alone? Who are we? Why are we here? What is our future?” in the book of Professor Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen are deep questions that intelligent beings are searching to find the answer. I am glad to find this book.

    Hope to visit again your site in the future.

    Thanks.

    1. Ignat

      Hi delroaustria,

      We are often forget that from the top it’s much easier to see in details  the hole picture. What I’m saying is that with understanding the word we are living in, solving the little problems in life it becomes just a game.  Just a few books from the list here, can actually change the way you see the hole World.

      Thank you for the comment!

  6. Kegan

    Wow – this is so cool! I had a basic childhood astronomy book that introduced the planets, but hadn’t pursued this any further into adulthood. Do you think any of these books is a good middleground for someone who isn’t really “In the know” about astrophysics etc, but is looking to learn more?

    1. Ignat

      Yup, definitely “The Human Universe”  of professor Brian Cox. Very understandable language, lots of mind blowing  information and answers you always want to hear. 

      Enjoy reading Kegan and thanks for the comment! 

  7. James

    I remember when I read Cosmos by Carl Sagan how it had ignited my interest in Astronomy.  I actually forgot how much I loved that book.  

    Although I haven’t read The Holographic Universe yet, I did read another book by Michael Talbot, Beyond The Quantum.  I found that book to be a superb book for anyone who has sensed that there is more than meets the eye in this world. I just ordered The Holographic Universe, I will let you know what I think.

    1. Ignat

      Hi James,

      The Holographic Universe is the first book I have read of the collection here. Definitely not the easy one, but for sure the one who most changed my perspective of the world! Will be happy to have a discussion with you about the reading.

      Thanks!

  8. Stew

    This is a great selection of books and believe it or not I have Night Watch.  You just reminded my that I have it.  

    I need to get it out and look at the idea of a telescope to use with the book and my kids learning about our solar system.

    Thanks for this 

    1. Ignat

      Well, you have one of the best astronomy book then! Good idea to combine it with a telescope and have some amazing time with the kids under the stars!

      Thanks Stew!

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