15 Best Stargazing Books
Stargazing is the practice of observing the night sky and its contents from constellations through to planets and galaxies. Stars and other night sky objects can be seen with the naked eye, or seen in greater numbers and in more detail with binoculars or a telescope. Even though scientific research is not the main goal of stargazing, many of its’ participants make a contribution to astronomy by monitoring variable stars, tracking asteroids and discovering transient objects, such as comets and novae.
Stargazing is also related to Amateur astronomy which associated with viewing the night sky when most celestial objects and events are visible, but sometimes amateur astronomers also operate during the day for events such as sunspots and solar eclipses.
Here are our top picks as the best stargazing books in 2022.
1. 110 Things to See With a Telescope
This book and a telescope are all you need to find, view, and record your observations of the 110 most popular stargazing targets. But what makes this list of objects so famous? Over 200 years ago, the French comet hunter Charles Messier published a list of fuzzy, comet-like objects he saw through his telescope. To him, they were a nuisance. We now know them as star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies! Modern astronomers later expanded his list from 103 to 110 objects and they’re some of the finest celestial sights to explore with your backyard telescope, especially after you’re ready to move beyond the Moon and planets. This book is your guide to seeing each deep sky object in Messier’s list-plus a complete how-to for budding astronomers.
Finding the 110 Messier objects has never been easier! We provide a star map for each target-plus written directions for how to find it by star-hopping, an “eyepiece view” image to confirm you’re seeing it, observing tips from two veteran stargazers, and interesting facts. We also highlight additional nearby objects.
These objects are presented in their recommended viewing order either by season, or during an all-night marathon! Each page contains an observation log so you can track your progress, and later apply for a Messier Observing Certificate from the Astronomical League and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Certificate Application instructions are provided in the appendix of the book.
2. Stargazing: Beginners Guide to Astronomy
This is the perfect beginner’s guide to astronomy for use in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. It discusses how to plan your stargazing and what you can see with your eyes, as well as how to choose binoculars and telescopes and what you can see using them. The book also offers seasonal star charts and constellation charts and gives readers specific objects to look for in the sky.
This guide from Royal Observatory Greenwich provides all you need to know to get started in stargazing and discover the universe.
3. 100 Things to See in the Night Sky
Keep your feet on the ground and experience the night sky to the fullest by exploring planets, satellites, and constellations with this all-inclusive reference guide to space.100 Things to See in the Night Sky, Expanded Edition is full of information on the many amazing things you can see with a telescope, or just your naked eye!
From shooting stars to constellations and planets to satellites, this book gives you a clear picture of what you can see on any given night. Learn about the celestial bodies that have captured people’s imaginations for centuries, with specific facts alongside traditional myths and beautifully illustrated photographs and star charts that will help you know where to look for the best view.
With this illuminating guide, you’ll enjoy hours of stargazing, whether you’re travelling, camping, sitting in your back yard, or simply flipping through the beautiful images in this book.
The story is about Moon and her friend Christine. They both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb. Moon is a confident, impulsive, artistic girl that is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known. They two become best friends and Moon shares her deepest secret: that she has visions, sometimes, of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs. Moon’s visions have an all-too-earthly root. However, and soon she is in the hospital, fighting for her life. Can Christine be the friend Moon needs, now, when the sky is falling?
It is a beautiful story of friendship, difference, childhood illness and so on. Jen Wang draws on her childhood to paint a deeply personal yet wholly relatable friendship story that’s at turns joyful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope.
5. What We See in the Stars
Combining art, mythology, and science, What We See in the Stars gives readers a tour of the night sky through more than 100 magical pieces of original art, all accompanied by text that weaves related legends and lore with scientific facts. This beautifully packaged book covers the night sky’s most brilliant features, such as the constellations, the moon, the bright stars, and the visible planets, as well as less familiar celestial phenomena like the outer planets, nebulae, and deep space.
Adults seeking to recapture the magic of youthful stargazing, younger readers interested in learning about natural history and outer space, and those who appreciate beautiful, hand-painted art will all delight in this charming book.
6. The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide
This classic, groundbreaking guide has been the go-to field guide for both beginning and experienced amateur astronomers for nearly 30 years. The fourth edition brings Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer’s invaluable manual completely up-to-date. Setting a new standard for astronomy guides, it will serve as the touchstone for the next generation of stargazers as well as longtime devotees.
Technology and astronomical understanding are evolving at a breathtaking clip, and to reflect the latest information about observing techniques and equipment, this massively revised and expanded edition has been completely rebuilt (an additional 48 pages brings the page count to 416). Illustrated throughout with all-new photographs and star charts, this edition boasts a refreshed design and features five brand-new chapters, including three essential essays on binocular, telescope and Moon tours by renowned astronomy writer Ken Hewitt-White.
With new content on naked-eye sky sights, LED lighting technology, WiFi enabled telescopes and the latest advances in binoculars, telescopes and other astronomical gear, the fourth edition of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide is sure to become an indispensable reference for all levels of stargazers. New techniques for observing the Sun, the Moon and solar and lunar eclipses are an especially timely addition, given the upcoming solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024. Rounding out these impressive offerings are new sections on dark sky reserves, astro-tourism, modern astrophotography and cellphone astrophotography, making this book an enduring must-have guide for anyone looking to improve his or her astronomical viewing experience.
7. National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Night Sky
Stargazing’s too much fun to leave to astronomers. In these inviting pages, “Night Sky Guy” Andrew Fazekas takes an expert but easygoing approach that will delight would-be astronomers of all levels. Essential information, organized logically, brings the solar system, stars, and planets to life in your own backyard.
Photographs and graphics present key facts in an easy-to-understand format, explaining heavenly phenomena such as black holes, solar flares, and supernovas. Revised to make skywatching even easier for the whole family, this indispensable guide shines light on the night sky, truly one of the greatest shows on Earth!
8. 2022 Night Sky Almanac
2022 Night Sky Almanac is the ideal resource for both novice and experienced sky watchers in the United States and Canada, with all of the advice, information and data that enthusiasts need to understand and enjoy the wonders of the night sky.
This in-depth guide first introduces readers to the objects in the sky from stars, to comets, to globular clusters, and then takes them through the cosmic events to look out for each month in 2022, with sky maps, moon phase charts and info about the planets.
2022 Night Sky Almanac is both a comprehensive introduction to astronomy and a quick reference book for more experienced sky watchers who don’t want to miss a thing. Its compact size means it’s perfect for taking on an “astro-vacation” or simply sky viewing in the backyard.
9. The Secret World of Stargazing
The Secret World of Stargazing is the ultimate astronomy book to set you on your epic journey around the cosmos. It’s a simple guide to the skies and makes stargazing fun, easy and enjoyable for all, absolutely no equipment is required!
Adrian West, AKA the internet sensation VirtualAstro, will take you through the seasons, showing you exactly what you can spot in the sky throughout the year, whether you’re in your back garden or sitting on an exotic beach somewhere! While you’re learning how to spot constellations, meteors and comets, you will be switching off your busy mind, sitting still in nature and paying attention to the small details that make up the big picture of life.
You’ll finish reading this beautiful book and come away with a sense of grounding, connection, knowledge and a whole new appreciation of the sky above and the world outside your own. It will soothe your soul.
10. 50 Things To See With A Small Telescope
50 Things to See with a Small Telescope explores the planets, stars, galaxies and nebulae visible from your own backyard! The book includes easy to follow star maps and eclipse charts updated through the year 2030. With the “Telescope View” feature, you will see how objects appear when viewed through a small telescope.
This book will help you: (1) choose the telescope that’s right for your budget; (2) identify prominent stars and major constellations; (3) see bright nebulae and globular clusters; (4) Explore the Moon and planets; (5) view comets and asteroids; (6) track the Space Station and spot satellite flairs, so much more!
11. Starfinder: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Exploring the Night Sky
Starfinder lays out the universe clearly, highlighting the signposts in the sky and explaining the cosmology of the stars. Discover the wonders of the night sky with up-to-date information about the universe, including monthly charts to both the northern and southern hemisphere, and a section on observing the Moon, planets, and other bodies of the solar system.
This book included a great planisphere and easy to understand explanations of the constellations in the night sky. The illustrations help to understand how the constellations are intended to appear and make finding them much simpler if you’re just getting into basic star viewing.
12. Astronomy Activity Book for Kids
In this interactive activity book, kids ages 5−7 get to be astronomers! Former NASA scientist Aurora Lipper leads an exciting journey through space, beginning with a tour of the planets and moons in our solar system. Next, kids visit the constellations and then zoom through the far reaches of the Milky Way galaxy. Along the way, they’ll find amazing facts about the starry skies and get to color and draw, connect dots, find hidden objects, and have fun with word puzzles while improving math and reading skills.
This book has 90+ educational activities and some simple stargazing projects which help readers learn how to find the Big Dipper, view meteor showers, and more with just the eyes, binoculars, or a small telescope. It is easy and exciting for early readers to read with beautiful space illustrations and simple explanations.
13. Stargazing For Dummies
Stargazing For Dummies offers you a chance to explore the night sky, providing a detailed guide to the main constellations and also offering advice on viewing other night sky objects such as planets and nebulae. It’s a great introduction to a fun new hobby, and even provides a fun way to get the kids outside while doing something educational!
In this book, it will give you an introduction to looking at the sky with binoculars or a telescope and offers advice on photographing the night sky. Without needing to get your head around mind-bending theories, you can take part in some practical physics. If you’re looking for easy-to-follow guidance on getting to know the night sky, Stargazing For Dummies has you covered.
14. Constellations for Kids
Over thousands of years, stargazers have noticed shapes in the stars, also called constellations. Different cultures have seen mythical animals and heroes within these constellations, and many travelers have used the stars as a guide for their journeys. Constellations for Kids will show young astronomers how to read the night sky as they discover more than 25 unique constellations.
From Canis Major to Cassiopeia, each constellation includes easy-to-read sky maps and step-by-step instructions for identifying it in the night sky. You’ll also learn how to use bright stars as guides to show you where to find each constellation.
This book is beginner-friendly, it can help you build up your knowledge of astronomy with simple explanations of key concepts. It also contains simple line illustrations, with which you can easily see the shape of each constellation. Let’s explore the stories written in the stars with this fun guide to the constellations!
15. Turn Left At Orion
This is a guidebook written to help people with binoculars and small telescopes find, view, understand, and most of all, enjoy everything in the night sky from the Moon and planets to distant star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.
One of the highlights of this book is that it is organized by seasons. Therefore, you will not go looking for something at the wrong time of year. Also, Mike Rushton, the editor, commends that this book fills a gap between guides to the constellations for newcomers and detailed star atlases.
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