Astronomy Books for the Beginner

The Night Sky and Constellations

Do you want to learn about the constellations, and what you can see with the naked eye? You need go no further than:

All about Telescopes

If you want to purchase a telescope, it's an excellent idea to do your homework up front.

Getting Started in Amateur Astronomy

Okay you have a telescope. What now? You need a guidebook that will show you what you can see.

There are lots of books to choose from. Here are some of the best.

Owners of binoculars need not be left out of the action:

Finding Your Way in the Sky

closeup photo of star atlasAn astronomy guidebook will tell you what you can see, but it's also helpful to have a good star atlas to find those objects. That's true even if you have a computerized telescope. Here's some basic star atlases that will not only get you started, but carry you far into the hobby.

 

Astronomy as a Science

Finally, do you want to know about the science of astronomy - stars, planets, galaxies, how they formed and how they work? You probably want a beginner's astronomy textbook, the kind used to teach astronomy classes.

They're all about the same, and I don't have a lot of experience with them, so I'll direct you to this list of astronomy textbooks on Amazon by Norm Sperling, an astronomy educator, book collector and astronomy textbook aficionado. (I own an older copy of Astronomy Today by Chaisson and McMillan, but really any of the books in this category will do).

I can give you one tip for purchasing astronomy textbooks. The most recent edition of any astronomy textbook is always very costly - usually $100 or more. But if you look through used book dealers online for the previous edition, or perhaps two editions back, you can find the same textbook used for a lot less money, often less than $10. I wouldn't go too far back, because astronomy is a fast-moving science, and even textbooks 10 years old are hugely out of date.