The 10 Best Astronomy Books of 2023

<blockquote class=”body-blockquote”><strong>The Expert:</strong> I’m a freelance writer and editor who’s covered science for more than a decade, most recently as the Executive Editor of <em>Popular Science</em>. I’ve reported on loads of space news during that time, and I love reading non-fiction books about astronomy and other topics in science. I’m also <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>a published author myself</a>.</blockquote><h2 class=”body-h2″>What to Consider If You’re Looking to Get Into Astronomy</h2><h3 class=”body-h3″>What is Astronomy?</h3><p><em>Merriam-Webster</em> defines astronomy as “the study of objects and matter outside the earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties.” In other words: space and everything in it, minus our planet and everything that lives in, on and around it. That makes astronomy a pretty massive academic field. Specialties that technically fit under the astronomy umbrella include (but are by no means limited to):</p><ul><li><strong>Exobiology</strong>, a branch of biology concerned with the search for life outside the earth and with the effects of extraterrestrial environments on living organisms.</li><li><strong>Astrophysics</strong>, which studies the behavior, physical properties, and dynamic processes of stars and other celestial bodies. </li><li><strong>Cosmology</strong>, which deals with the origin, structure, and space-time relationships of the universe.</li><li><strong>Astrometry</strong>, which studies how celestial bodies move and are positioned in space.</li><li><strong>Selenography</strong>, which focuses on the physical features of the moon.</li><li><strong>Helioseismology</strong>, which uses the oscillations of the surface of the sun to study its interior </li></ul><p>Beyond the many specialties that exist within the field of astronomy, there are also scientists and historians who study the cultural significance of humanity’s relationship with the stars. If you’re looking to learn more about astronomy, it’s worth doing some preliminary research to narrow down exactly which aspect of astronomy you want to dig into. </p><h3 class=”body-h3″>What do you want to do with your astronomy knowledge?</h3><p>In addition to picking a specific subject area, consider what you hope to gain. Do you just want to learn some cool facts about the cosmos? Awesome. There are dozens of amazing books waiting to add to your personal repository of astronomy knowledge. </p><p>If you have more concrete goals, there’s likely an astronomy book out there for you, too. If you’re hoping to become more confident with your backyard telescope, you should look for a book on stargazing, rather than reading a whole book about the Big Bang. If you’re looking for something with an exciting narrative, consider picking up an astronaut’s memoir or some science-heavy science fiction instead of plowing through a textbook. If you just want to sit back and gaze upon the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos, there are plenty of coffee table astronomy books just waiting to catch your eye. </p><h3 class=”body-h3″>Why should you care about astronomy?</h3><p>The study of the stars can seem like a <em>lofty</em> pursuit. Who cares about what’s going on up in space?</p><p>For starters, astronomy is one of the most accessible areas of science for everyday people. The sky is <em>right there</em>. While <a href=””>light pollution</a> and smog can get in the way, most folks are at least within a car or train ride of a spot where they can <a href=””>see some kind of stars, meteors or comets</a>. Reading about astronomy can help you get more out of the universal human tendency to look up. </p><p>Astronomy also has some pretty big implications for life on Earth. <a href=””>Space weather in the form of solar storms</a> could one day put our electrical grid in peril. Private citizens are already lining up to <a href=””>go to space as astronomical tourists</a>. Studying other planets could help us understand <a href=””>what the future of life on Earth will look like</a>. And hey; is there anything more human than asking <a href=””>whether we’re alone in the universe</a>? The best astronomy books can help you dive into all these topics and more. </p><h2 class=”body-h2″>How We Selected The Best Astronomy Books</h2><p>I relied on a mix of personal experience as a writer, editor and reader along with advice from several professional astronomers to come up with a shortlist of the best astronomy books. I also dug into consumer reviews on websites like Amazon and GoodReads to track down additional astronomy books to consider. </p>” />

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