Best Astronomy Books for Beginners

People have been passionate about stargazing for centuries, and there are thousands of books that aim to offer you a deeper insight into the wonders of the Universe. However, if you are just getting started, then you need several basic yet factual and well-written astronomy books for beginners. Having said that, here you will find four of the most sought-after and recommended astronomy books and also some FREE ones.

1. Turn Left At Orion

Astronomy Books for BeginnersWritten by Dan M. Davis and Guy Consolmagno, Turn Left At Orion is widely regarded as one of the best and most popular astronomy books ever written. In a nutshell, this is a guidebook that will teach you how to observe stars and other celestial objects like a true professional. This was my first astronomy book and I still use it as a reference book. In my opinion, this is the best stargazing book for beginners available.

If you have a home telescope and you want to make the best of it, then look no further than this book – written in a comprehensive and user-friendly manner, Turn Left At Orion features step-by-step instructions that will help you explore the Universe and discover its mysteries on your own. Specifically designed for owners of Dobsonian telescopes (yet versatile enough to be used by just about everybody), this guidebook includes large-format eyepiece views, tables of in-depth astronomical information as well as a Moon section that will help you become familiar with the celestial objects.

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2. Norton’s Star Atlas

Astronomy Books for BeginnersWritten by Ian Ridpath, Norton’s Star Atlas is the perfect book for those who want to take their passion for the stars to the next level. Many claim that this book is the “World’s most famous star atlas”, yet Norton’s Star Atlas is more than just a guidebook – it is also a reference guide that features unique maps and fact-filled information for beginners.The fully revised and updated 20th edition of the book features a durable and elegant hardcover, along with new diagrams, moon maps and clear tables – it also has a whole chapter dedicated entirely to GoTo and computerised telescopes and the latest computer software used in space exploration.

This book will teach you everything you always wanted to know about galaxies, star clusters, planets and a wealth of other celestial objects that are visible to our naked eye: from observation tips and hints to useful advice, technical explanations and insights into how stars are born (and not only!), this book is the perfect choice for every Universe aficionado.

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3. The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide

Astronomy Books for BeginnersWritten by Terence Dickinson, the Backyard Astronomer’s Guide is a well-written guidebook that includes no less than five hundred illustrations and photographs. Besides this, the guidebook is updated and it includes latest data and accurate answers to the questions most commonly asked by amateur stargazers. Terence Dickinson is one of the most appreciated experts in the field, and in his book he will guide you through star charts, software for star analysis, photographing these marvelous celestial bodies and how to choose the right stargazing equipment.

Beautiful and appealing, this book features a comprehensive atlas of the Milky Way, as well as a chapter that is entirely dedicated to telescopes designed for recreational astronomy, how to calibrate them and how to make the best of them. This book is a great choice both for amateurs and for professionals, and in addition to the Astrophotography chapter it also features a chapter dedicated to accessories along with three practical appendices that will teach you how to test the optics of your telescope, how to clean your telescope as well as how to align it properly.

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4. The Practical Astronomer

Astronomy Books for BeginnersLast, but not least, another outstanding and recommended book for amateur astronomers and stargazers is The Practical Astronomer, written by Will Gater and Anton Vamplew. This is an in-depth amateur’s guide to observing the space and understanding the solar system. Practical, easy to read and filled with fun facts and interesting information, this book will help you become familiar with the basic principles of stargazing, and it will also teach you how to recognize different constellation patterns and how to distinguish stars, planets, star clusters and other celestial bodies, like a true expert.

The Practical Astronomer also includes a variety of detail-rich maps and charts, and it will also teach you how to set, adjust, align and use binoculars, telescopes and a wealth of other home kits for observing the night sky. The hardcover edition is not only great for every beginner astronomer, but it is also quite affordable.

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Free Astronomy Books for Beginners

For those who would rather spend their money on astronomy equipment than books on astronomy, I list below some good astronomy books for beginners that are free and ready to download:

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