University Lowbrow Astronomers

University Lowbrow Astronomers Book List
Astronomy Books for Young People

by Dave Snyder

This section lists various books and magazines on astronomy aimed at young people.

Periodicals

Odyssey. [Published Nine Times a Year - Cobblestone Publishing].

Sky Calendar. [One page. Published Monthly - Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan].

Books

Asimov, Isaac. 1969y. The ABC’s of Space. New York: Walker and Company.

Because this book was written in 1969 it doesn’t mention any of the more recent developments in space flight such as the space shuttle. However it has descriptions of the Apollo moon flights.

------. 1971y. What Makes the Sun Shine? Boston: Little Brown and Company.

This and the other Asimov books are not very recent; however since they are aimed at a young audience they don’t go into a lot of detail and most of the information is still valid.

------. 1988ya. Mars: Our Mysterious Neighbor. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1988yb. Our Solar System. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1988yc. Uranus: The Sideways Planet. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1989ya. Saturn: The Ringed Beauty. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1989yb. Space Garbage. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1989yc. Ancient Astronomy. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1989yd. Jupiter: the Spotted Giant. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1990ya. How Did We Find Out About Neptune? Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1990yb. Pluto: A Double Planet. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

------. 1991y. How Did We Find Out About Pluto? Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Children’s Books.

Crelin, Bob. 2006. There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars. Illustrated by Amie Ziner. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Sky Publishing Corporation.

Kraske, Robert. 1998. Asteroids: Invaders From Space. New York: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

O’Byrne, John, editor. 1999. The Little Guides: Space. San Francisco: Weldon Owen, Inc.

This is aimed at a little older audience than some of the other books in this section. A variety of astronomical topics are covered, with two short pages on each topic with some text and some photographs or diagrams. There is also two short pages for each constellation.

Pasachoff, Jay M., Tirion, Wil and Brickin, Robin. 1997. Peterson First Guides: Astronomy. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

Ray, H. A. 1997. The Stars: A New Way to See Them. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

The late H. A. Ray is best known for his “Curious George” books, but he also wrote this charming book on constellations. Constellations are simply groups of stars, but most presentations of the constellations add lines to make it easier for readers to recognize these constellations. The lines are merely products of human imagination; different people will draw these lines differently. To be blunt, most of the time the result is a collection of meaningless lines that really doesn’t look like a bear or dog or whatever the constellation is supposed to represent.

H. A. Ray has collected a set of 5th magnitude star charts, and drawn the constellation lines in a way that look like real objects. This should make them easier to remember. He also has simple explanations for a number of astronomical concepts. The most recent edition of this book includes up to date tables showing where to find Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Drawbacks of this book include the fact that he uses English names of the constellations (except in the appendix). English names are easier to learn than the Latin names, but most astronomers (both amateur and professional) in the United States use Latin names: it is a good idea to learn the Latin names. Also he uses the name “Andromeda Nebulae.” People do not use that term anymore, this object is now called the Andromeda Galaxy.

Raymo, Chet. 1982. 365 Starry Nights: An Introduction to Astronomy for Every Night of the Year. New York: Prentice-Hall.

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