Most people have been looking up at the stars and wondering about them since they first took a walk outside at night as a child. That childlike curiosity tends to deepen over time as family members and friends point out such fascinating things as the planets and constellations in the nighttime sky. Maybe you too have become intrigued by the stars, and have seen your interest in the exciting hobby of astronomy grow. The only problem is that you don’t know where to start. The best astronomy books for beginners offer solid and informative introductions to the fascinating world of astronomy.
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer
The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is a book that has seen many revisions over the years. It just keeps getting better. The guide caters to all levels of astronomy knowledge, but is especially helpful to those who are just getting started. The book gets down to the nuts and bolts of astronomy, and talks about such things as telescope selection, reading celestial maps, and telescope photography.
Among the many highlights of the book are over 500 full color photographs and illustrations, and a complete 20-page guide to the Milky Way. It even gives you tips on how to clean your telescope lenses. This piece is one of the most complete and user-friendly astronomy books for beginners on the market.
Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe by Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan
Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe is targeted toward beginners who hope to take the hobby seriously. It is definitely not for someone who wants to peek at the sky just a few times a year. Each author is well-respected in his field of study. Eric Chaisson holds a Doctorate in Astrophysics from Harvard, and Steve McMillan was the scientist in charge of establishing educational programs at the renowned Space Telescope Science Institute.
Those who have purchased the book describe it as a very creative and interesting way to discover the stars. It’s a great astronomy book for beginners because the language used does not require previous experience with astronomy. There is even a CD-ROM included with the book. There is also a list of additional sources provided for anyone who wants expanded learning on the topics discussed in the book.
Discover the Stars by Richard Berry
Discover the Stars: Starwatching Using the Naked Eye, Binoculars, or a Telescope is another very popular book for beginning astronomers. It was written by the respected Richard Berry, who is the former editor of Astronomy Magazine. Many years of knowledge on popular astronomy topics went into this book as a result. The beauty of this book is that it gives beginning astronomers a tour of the sky in several different ways. It starts out by identifying celestial objects that can easily be seen by the naked eye, and then progresses into different areas of stargazing done only using binoculars or inexpensive telescopes.
There are two real highlights to this astronomy book for beginners. The first are the 12 Northern Hemisphere sky charts that identify what is visible in the night sky each month of the year. The second are the 23 smaller sky charts that point out some very interesting celestial sights.
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide by Dinah L. Moche
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide has been lauded as an excellent way for beginners to become acclimated to astronomy. It is a simple book that gets right to the important topics. Parents who want to introduce the stars to their children find it to be a very helpful book.
This particular guide is not overfilled with color charts and photos, but is full of excellent black and white illustrations that cover many celestial sights. Even the most complex topics in the book are presented in a simplified manner. This is a great choice for those looking to adopt an elementary view of astronomy.
Turn Left at Orion by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis
Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope—and How to Find Them is by far one of the most popular astronomy books for beginners of all time. It has sold over 100,000 copies. Its customers claim it is an ideal astronomy book for beginners excited to learn about this new hobby. The book is set up to point out objects that can be seen with either binoculars or simple, inexpensive telescopes.
One of the most unique features of this book is its heavy spiral binding, which enables it to be used conveniently outside as you are referencing the night sky. The book has in-depth coverage of moons, planets, star clusters, nebulae, and other interesting celestial objects. It is also one of the rare books that cover Southern Hemisphere celestial objects.
Astronomy by Jayden Samson
Astronomy for Beginners: Discover the Amazing Truth About New Galaxies, Wormholes, Black Holes and the Latest Discoveries in Astronomy is full of helpful information for beginning astronomers. It covers many different aspects of astronomy that go untouched in other books on the subject. Those who have read the guide claim it presents the material in a refreshing way.
This book, as the title suggests, even crosses over into the mysterious space phenomena known as worm holes and black holes. This section makes some very interesting and informational reading for any level astronomer. The book tends to be nicely broken down into specific categories that include moons, stars, planets, and other interesting celestial bodies that are incredible to view.
Exploring the Night Sky by Terence Dickinson
Exploring the Night Sky: The Equinox Astronomy Guide for Beginners has often been described as the perfect book for novice astronomers. It is a book that will not only cover such simple things as stargazing for constellations, but will also point out many other celestial bodies that are easy for beginners to find.
The book takes an in-depth look at the scale and relationships between such things as stars, moons, galaxies, and star clusters. It not only features drawings, but also artistic type renderings of all there is to see in the night sky. It is an older book that has been updated, but it’s still full of great information.
NightWatch by Terence Dickinson
With over 600,000 copies sold worldwide over the last two decades, NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe is by far the bestselling introductory book on astronomy of all time. It presents somewhat complicated information in an easy to understand way, as it thoroughly covers all of the important aspects of multiple solar systems. There's a lot to like about this book when using it to discover astronomy.
Not only will you get information on the sun, moon, and planets, but you will also get information on such phenomena as worm holes and black holes. It will also introduce you to the types of equipment astronomers use, and how to take digital pictures with your telescope. It even includes many popular sky charts.
The Total Skywatcher's Manual by Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The Total Skywatcher's Manual: 275+ Skills and Tricks for Exploring Stars, Planets, and Beyond is a different type of book on beginning astronomy because it is put together with input from a whole group of astronomical society members. It takes on a unique perspective in how to start observing all there is to see in the night sky.
The book is more of a softcover manual that you can take with you anywhere you choose to set up your telescope. It is the perfect size to refer to as you search the night sky for stars, moons, and other celestial elements. It features many drawings, photos, and charts to help you in your stargazing, and is said to be a one-size-fits-all manual for novice and veteran astronomers alike.
Astronomy for Beginners by Jeff Becan
Astronomy for Beginners looks at stargazing and how it fits into the universe in a unique way. It presents the information in a style that adds an enjoyable flair to the reading. It directs much of its focus on why objects appear in the sky at regular times of the year, and how the earth’s rotation plays a big role in such timing.
The book describes objects appearing in the sky as part of an elaborate dance in the universe. It goes into detail regarding solstices, equinoxes, and eclipses. Astronomy for Beginners also describes how such events as meteor showers and comets come to be seen in the night sky. The high quality of the descriptions in the book, as well as many astonishing photos make it a great learning tool for those just starting out in astronomy.
Easy Things to See with a Small Telescope: by Richard J. Bartlett
Easy Things to See with a Small Telescope: A Beginner's Guide to Over 60 Easy-to-Find Night Sky Sights is especially designed for those beginners that don’t want to do a lot of book learning about astronomy. Therefore, it is ideal for those who want to look for objects as soon as they get their telescopes set up. It is the number one best selling astronomy book in the UK focused primarily on stargazing.
This book starts out by walking you through the telescope selection process. It then goes on to teach you that there is much more in the sky than just a few planets. Best of all, it does it in a way that is very simple and easy to understand.
If you are truly interested in learning about astronomy, any of these astronomy books for beginners are sure to help you get off to a great start.