Astronomy Books for All Ages

read about astronomy and explore the universe
Good astronomy books help explorers of all ages learn about the sky and what's in it. Teresa Short/Getty Images

Reading Up Before You Go Out

Exploring the night sky is a fun and inspiring activity, as well as a fundamental science. When you look up at the night sky, you're essentially doing observational astronomy. Getting started in astronomy is fairly easy: just step outside and look up!  If you get interested enough, you might find yourself buying books about astronomy, becoming a dedicated amateur astronomer, or taking up the science as a course of study.

However you approach astronomy, chances are you will begin by reading some books. Let's take a look at a few of the many, many useful books available for stargazers of all ages. If you're interested in purchasing them, we've provided links to their pages at

The book most often recommended for beginners is a children's book that has a charming appeal to teens and adults as well. It's called Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey (who also had a hand in the Curious George children's book series). It teaches you the sky using simple language and easy-to-understand images and illustrations. Designed for very young children, Find the Constellations is a perennial favorite for all budding astronomers.

Rey also created a book for older readers called The Stars: A New Way to See Them, which uses slightly more complex language and illustrations to give you deeper insights into the sky as your skills improve.


Beyond the Constellations

One of the most popular books among both beginning and experienced stargazers is Nightwatch, by Terence Dickinson. This practical guide to viewing the sky is in its fourth edition and has been revised to include planet tables up through the year 2025. It has gorgeous images and well-annotated star charts.

For those who want to learn more about viewing equipment, the author talks about telescopes, eyepieces, and binoculars. It's especially useful out in the field because it's spiral bound and lies flat on your viewing table, a rock, the ground—wherever you happen to be gazing. 

Many people love to explore the sky with binoculars and are astonished to find so many cool things to see through them. In addition to Nightwatch, there are many books dedicated to binocular users. Among them are Binocular Highlights, by Gary Seronik, Binocular Astronomy, by Stephen Tonkin, and Binocular Stargazing, by Mike D. Reynolds and David Levy. 

Want a Telescope?

If you're interested in getting a telescope, you can't do enough reading about the different types available.  One of the best guides to help you understand telescopes is called All about Telescopes, by Sam Brown and published by Edmund Scientific. If you want to build a telescope, check out Build Your Own Telescope, by Richard Berry. It's a great introduction to creating your own instrument.  Buying and using a telescope is also a great way to get going, and one of the best books out there is by the late Sir Patrick Moore, called A Buyer's and User's Guide to Astronomical Telescopes and Binoculars.


Astronomy: Self-Taught

Finally, if you'd like to do a bit of self-education in the science of astronomy, check out Dinah L. Moche's Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide. In this well-written and illustrated book, she explains the technical aspects of this fascinating science in easy, simple-to-understand language. It's a popular self-teaching guide to get you started if you want to be an astronomer

All of these books (and many more!) make great gifts!. Take the time to search them out as you look for the perfect way to learn more about the stars, constellations, planets, galaxies, nebulae and other intriguing objects in the sky! Armchair astronomy is a time-honored tradition, particularly on those cloudy nights when the sky isn't available to you.