Looking at the moon through a telescope is one of the simplest and most rewarding activities that an amateur astronomer can undertake.
That simplicity hides a depth of detail which we can all use a little help with, and this guide takes a quick peek at the best books for helping you get the most out of your moon observations.
Immediately below here, the table summarises the best moon books for astronomers and you can find more detail on each below the table.
There’s a little something for everyone: moon books with pictures, moon survey books and even a book answering questions about the moon.
If you want to find out the latest price or read more detail, clicking on the picture or title of the book will take you to Amazon.com (don’t worry – this page will stay open).
Detailed Reviews of Moon Books
Michael Carlowicz has pulled together a large and beautifully photographed book of the moon, and called it – appropriately enough – The Moon.
The folks on Good Reads rate it well, but mainly for its ‘gorgeous photographs’ than its comprehensive coverage of our only satellite.
The Moon comes highly recommended if you have a romantic view of the moon and will be content with getting lost in the stunningly detailed imagery whilst enjoying a cup of coffee.
As an astronomer with a passion for moon gazing, you may want something that offers some more comprehensive detail, like The Clementine Atlas of the Moon (reviewed below) instead.
At just 140 pages, Kim Long’s ‘The Moon Book’ may be concise, but it answers pretty much any question about the moon which you can think of.
‘How big is the moon compared the United States’ and ‘how fast does the moon’s shadow move across Earth during a solar eclipse‘ are in there.
Subjects include lagrange points and the Apollo missions, as well as occultations and librations.
The Moon Book has only positive reviews, saying what a joy it is to read and that this fun little book will be a benefit in your collection.
Ben Bussey and Paul Spudis’ Clementine Atlas of the Moon is aimed at the detailed lunar observer.
There are 144 detailed lunar maps in here, covering the whole moon surface. Based on pictures from NASA’s Clementine mission of 1994, they were fully updated in 2012 with data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.
What we’re treated to in this book are some of the most detailed images of the moon’s surface (near and far sides), as well as colour plates showing its material make up.
It also contains an incredibly complete database of the moon’s surface features, which is a step on from the average lunar map we (should) all own.
Whilst the first section of the book contains some good, detailed information on the science and history of the moon, this is not its main purpose.
You buy this book – as one reviewer notes – for the comprehensive atlas of the moon’s surface, which will be fascinating to the amateur astronomer and indispensable for the professional researcher.
Of course this is a website about amateur astronomy, and these books on the moon are aimed at the amateur astronomer, but A Man on the Moon is a bit different…
I couldn’t bring myself to review the books with moon in the title and not include one that covered our exploits to land on it back in the 70s. For a brief summary of the lunar landings, click here (opens a new tab).
This huge 720 page book is written as a story from the perspective of the astronauts themselves (23 of the 24 Apollo spacemen were interviewed when writing this book – as were many pivotal ‘back room’ staff) which packs a real emotional punch.
Thankfully, there are enough technical insights to keep those of us who want the finer detail satisfied, and it’s done so in a way which highlights the dangers and ‘amateurish’ understanding of space travel back then – which all makes for a suspenseful read.
Whilst you won’t learn much about the moon’s surface and phases, this is a great read for those moments when the clouds cross in front of the moon and you’re left with time to pass until the skies clear again.
Our final book, Turn Left at Orion, on our list of best moon books for astronomers is not just about the moon (and it’s not one of the books with moon in the title – the title refers to the constellation of Orion).
I should come clean and admit that this is my personal favourite astronomy book, with a wealth of detail about what you’ll see across the night sky based on the size of your scope – including drawings.
Why has it made it to this list then, you may ask.
Simply, it has 18 big, detailed pages on observing the moon. They start with an overview, with things like lunar geography and phases.
Next is the part that makes this the best phases of the moon book: detail of what is best to view on the lunar surface at each stage of the lunar phase, e.g. nights 2&3 of the crescent moon and 11&12 of the ‘almost full’ moon.
If you don’t want to buy a book just about the moon, but would like some more details, then this is perfect… and it has another couple of hundred pages about the rest of the night sky too!
Best Moon Books, Summary
There you have it: five of the best moon books for amateur astronomers.
You’ve been given a selection of facts about the moon (The Moon Book), detailed maps (The Clementine Atlas of the Moon), stunning imagery (The Moon), its exploration (A Man on the Moon) and general observing guidance (Turn Left at Orion).
Product images sourced from Amazon.com
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Last update on 2023-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API