Recommended books on astronomy and space exploration
March 16, 2010 8:10 PM   Subscribe

What are some great books on astronomy and space exploration?

I'm going to be graduating with an Astrophysics degree soon, and I'm almost certainly going to be pursuing a job in another field (by choice, not by necessity). However, I'd like to continue learning, as I really love the subject. My main interests are planetary astronomy and space exploration (such as Apollo, Mars landers, etc.), but anything astronomy/space related is good (non-fiction). Since I've spent 4 years studying this stuff, I'm ok with books that delve more into the technical details.

I've read Apollo and really enjoyed it, and I also liked The Black Hole War.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
posted by deansfurniture5 to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
To a Rocky Moon by Don Wilhelms is the book if you want to know about what we learned about lunar geology with Apollo. It's available free online (and also as a printed book).
posted by lukemeister at 8:27 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]




I have a soft spot for Wallace Tucker, especially Revealing the Universe - The Making of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory
posted by carmicha at 8:45 PM on March 16, 2010


Stardust: Supernovae and Life

The Birth of Time

A Thin Cosmic Rain

The Quest for SS 433 is a more advanced book on an eclipsing x-ray binary system.

The Case for Mars

Intelligent Life in the Universe

There really should be a book on the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar, which has a rotational period of 59.02999792988 millisec; I guess I will have to write it.

I have to agree that Murray and Cox's Apollo is the best book on the subject.
posted by neuron at 10:38 PM on March 16, 2010


I thought "The Secret of Apollo: Systems Management in American and European Space Programs" was very good. I could have sworn it is part of a larger series including "Digital Apollo" but I can't find the series now. Digital Apollo is still waiting for me to read but looks promising. If you get interested in the Secret book pick up "The Logic Of Failure", which has nothing to do with astronomy but everything to do with "getting there". Hard read, but worth it.

*When* I finally get a home with decent skies and a good scope I'm going to work my way through the Deep Sky Companion books from Cambridge University Press: "The Messier Objects", "The Caldwell Objects", and "Hidden Treasures".

Morton's "Mapping Mars" was phenomenal. He started Mainly Martian sometime after it was published and the archives alone are worth it.

I like reading PI's books too. The only two I've seen so far are Steven Squyres' "Roving Mars" and "Lunar Prospector: Against All Odds" (3/4 down the page), which is said to be the go to book to learn NASA's inner workings. Fair warning though - it's very long.

You could try Zubrin's books. Good for the imagination. "The Space Shuttle Operators Manual" too.

A little closer to home, "Sundials: Their Theory and Construction" was oddly informative.
posted by jwells at 6:09 AM on March 17, 2010


Thanks everyone for your help so far! I've got a lot of reading to do :)
posted by deansfurniture5 at 7:22 AM on March 17, 2010


I'm a fan of First Light by Richard Preston. It focuses on a few astronomers using the Palomar 200-inch telescope. Really fascinating stuff & well written.
posted by kms at 12:11 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


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