14 best books about the universe and space

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

We live in a time when everyone can see the most beautiful photos of distant galaxies, look beyond the mysteries of space and learn the latest news from the world of astronomy. Astronomers are constantly recording data on black holes, new planets, gravitational waves, dark matter, and other intriguing mysteries of the universe. In many ways, these discoveries are based on echoes of theories that were developed by Einstein in the last century. What has changed in more than 100 years? Perhaps we are on the verge of grandiose space discoveries?

How does the universe work? What are black holes? Why are no boundaries visible from space? Will anyone dare to colonize Mars? You will receive detailed answers to these and many other questions after reading books about space and the Universe from our rating.

Rating of the best books about the universe and space

Nomination a place Name of product price
Rating of the best books about the universe and space 1 Einstein's Space, Michio Kaku 502 RUB
2 No boundaries visible from space, Ron Garan 702 RUB
3 Interstellar. Science Behind The Scenes, Kip Thorne RUB 2 053
4 The Universe in a nutshell, Stephen Hawking RUB 1,284
5 Knockin 'on Heaven, Lisa Randall 597 r
6 An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. What 4000 Hours In Orbit Taught Me, Chris Hadfield RUB 470
7 A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking 588 r
8 The path to the stars. From the history of Soviet cosmonautics, Anatoly Alexandrov RUB 104
9 How We Will Live on Mars, Stephen Petranek 120 RUB
10 Cosmos, Dmitry Kostyukov and Zina Surova 714 RUB
11 Space. Evolution of the Universe, Life and Civilization, Carl Sagan 413 r
12 Exploration of distant planets, Vladimir Surdin RUB 1,523
13 Large Atlas of the Universe, Irina Pozdnyakova 1 238 RUB
14 Superobjects. Stars the Size of a City, Sergey Popov RUB 517

Einstein's Space, Michio Kaku

Rating: 4.9

Einstein's Space, Michio Kaku

The rating opens with the book 'Einstein's Space', written by a theoretical physicist, Ph.D., a teacher at New York College and a writer all rolled into one. Michio Kaku took on the role of popularizing scientific discoveries about the Universe, or rather, their invisible side. The book “Einstein's Cosmos” is not a scientific manual with a thousand formulas, not a biography of Einstein or a stingy presentation of the theory of physics. This work is for those who do not consider themselves a specialist in the exact sciences, but want to figure out how grandiose discoveries are made and how epoch-making theories are born.

Michio Kaku answers the main question: how Einshein, who was not given a chance to receive a minimum education by teachers, still managed to revolutionize the field of physics. How he was able to achieve universal recognition, despite the fact that many contemporaries were quite critical of both the personality and the scientific works of the creator of the theory of relativity.

The book takes us to the atmosphere of the early 20th century – during the two world wars and the development of the atomic bomb. The author clearly demonstrates to the reader what is hidden behind the scenes of great events in science and what, sometimes difficult, stages scientists have to overcome in order not only to make their little discovery, but also to present it to the general public. On the pages of the book we find an interweaving of interesting facts from the life of Einstein and his colleagues with a description of the theory of relativity in a language that even a child can understand. This is the secret of the popularity of Michio Kaku's books – he writes simply about the complex. For a sophisticated mind, this book may seem too elementary, but for the humanities it will become a bright excursion into the incomprehensible, until this moment, the world of physics.

No boundaries visible from space, Ron Garan

Rating: 4.8

No boundaries visible from space, Ron Garan

The second position of the rating is occupied by the saga about the Universe, space, peace, unity and humanity. No Borders Seen From Space is a book about Earth, not space. From the first to the last page, this is a call for unification for the preservation of humanity. By Ron Garan, an American astronaut who, during a long stay in outer space, was struck by the beauty of our blue planet.

The author tells about the so-called 'orbital point of view' – a view of the Earth without borders from space. With this type of observation, no military conflicts, no divisions, no states, no nations, no religions are visible. The entire Earth appears as the only big home for all of humanity at once. And this is exactly how Ron Garan urges to perceive it. Just abandon the biases associated with artificial divisions and unite the whole world to solve today's problems – hunger, poverty, climate disasters.

Ron is sure if specialists from 15 nationalities can unite without being comfortable. They can jointly implement very complex joint projects for the good of everyone, working on the construction of the MIR orbital station, and people on Earth can do the same. This book is not for everyone. But it will definitely touch the hearts and minds of true altruists and all those who are not indifferent to the fate of humanity. The book was published not so long ago – in 2015, but it has already become popular both in the United States and abroad.

Interstellar. Science Behind The Scenes, Kip Thorne

Rating: 4.7

Interstellar.  Science Behind The Scenes, Kip Thorne

The third place in the ranking remains for the work 'Interstellar. Science behind the scenes' Kip Thorne is a renowned theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize winner and consultant to Christopher Nolan's acclaimed film Interstellar. On the pages of the book, the author makes a kind of scientific journey to such concepts in astrophysics as black holes, gravity, the fifth dimension and other phenomena covered in the film of the same name. At the same time, in the book, Kip Thorne demonstrates that incredible and sometimes amazing physical events, first presented in a motion picture and never previously shown visually, are based on real physical theories of our time.

The plot is divided into several parts. Initially, the author talks about preparing for the shooting of the film. Then he goes on a short excursion into the laws of the Universe, the curvature of time and space, black holes. After that, he delves into scientific research, and strictly within the framework of the plot of the film that was shot earlier. All this is accompanied by photographs from the film, illustrations, diagrams and other visual pictures. But this is far from a boring textbook on entertaining physics. The author is so enthusiastic about space phenomena that the book will appeal to both adults and adolescents, because this is an excellent opportunity to make an exciting space journey without getting up from the couch.

The Universe in a nutshell, Stephen Hawking

Rating: 4.6

The Universe in a nutshell, Stephen Hawking

The book 'About the universe in a nutshell' by the world famous English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is ranked fourth in the ranking. Hawking is famous, first of all, for his works in the unknown field of the study of quantum cosmology and the popularization of black holes. He also headed the same department at Cambridge as Isaac Newton at one time.

Hawking uses simple language in his books that is understandable even for laymen. He literally on his fingers explains the principles of interaction of quantum mechanics and physics, simultaneously revealing the meaning of time travel, the possibility of the formation of black holes, thus substantiating Einstein's theory of relativity and calling it the 'theory of everything'. The book 'About the Universe in a Brief' tells about discoveries, innovations and new postulates made in physics. The author set himself a task: to solve what Einstein was thinking about – to combine two disparate theories – quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity into a Unified field theory and lead to the general law of the universe. Perhaps for those who are completely unfamiliar with physics, the book will be difficult to understand, so we can recommend it to those who are at least familiar with an advanced physics course. 4 years ago, the book has already been published, entitled 'The World in a Nutshell'.

Knockin 'on Heaven, Lisa Randall

Rating: 4.5

Knockin 'on Heaven, Lisa Randall

The book from popular author Lisa Randall is ranked 5th. This scientific work is distinguished by the fact that the author, trying to explain the phenomena that her colleagues have already talked about more than once, uses a purely feminine vision. She manages to note random, but very unusual observations. After reading the book, you can really expand your understanding and learn a lot of new things in particular from the field of particle physics. Indeed, as the author himself claims, even the tiniest objects can give us an understanding of who we are and where we came from.

As a professor of theoretical physics at Harvard University, Lisa Randall writes about the general state of science from a quantum mechanics perspective. More than half of the book is devoted to the construction, arrangement and experiments carried out at the Large Hadron Collider. The book lacks some liveliness, humor and ease of presentation. It is noteworthy that it was written even before the Higgs boson was found. The author is waiting for the discoveries that should happen after the launch of the collider. All in all, Knockin 'on Heaven is an example of good non-fiction literature, but nothing more.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. What 4000 Hours In Orbit Taught Me, Chris Hadfield

Rating: 4.4

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.  What 4000 Hours In Orbit Taught Me, Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield, an American astronaut who spent 4,000 hours in orbit, later wrote a wonderful book that ranks six in our ranking. While in space, Chris Hadfield was not only able to work for the good of all mankind, but, while in near-earth space, he shot many videos about orbital life, the work of astronauts. While on the ISS, he even sang his song and filmed a video clip, which quickly spread across the Internet and gained multimillion views. After returning from space, Chris decided to publish a book in which he shared his long journey to space, the fulfillment of a dream and the invaluable experience gained during this time.

In the first part of the book, the author shares how he began his path to a space career. The reader will learn about childhood, dear people and just good friends, and about those milestones that preceded future events. The second part details space flight and cooperation with Russian cosmonauts. The American astronaut especially notes the funny, in his opinion, “Russian traditions” of colleagues. The final part tells about the difficult rehabilitation after landing and the end of a career. Observing the earth from space, Hadfield realized how beautiful our planet is. In his tome, he now and then calls to protect the nature and feelings of their loved ones.

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

Rating: 4.4

A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking's book “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” is in seventh position in the ranking. This story is dedicated to an expanded search for a global answer to a difficult question: “What choice did God have when creating the Universe”, which Einstein was also interested in at the time. Hawking deliberately refuses to include complex formulas and calculations, realizing that they will reduce the number of people willing to purchase his books. He tries to present the ideas of the quantum theory of gravity in an accessible language. The book was first published back in 1988 and quickly became a real bestseller. Over the next 20 years, more than 10 million books have been sold.

In addition to natural science justifications and terms, the book contains religious and philosophical discourses. Stephen Hawking asks the question: how was the universe and space created? Could it have formed by chance or was it created by God? And although the reader will not find final answers to these questions, he will be able to look a little further than the usual and delve deeper into the unknown secrets of the world around him.

In 1991, the film of the same name was shot (directed by Errol Morria), however, the plot was based not on a book, but on a biography of a scientist, his achievements in science. Hawking's book is mentioned in such works as 'Harry Potter', 'Love Through Time', 'Donnie Darko' and others.

The path to the stars. From the history of Soviet cosmonautics, Anatoly Alexandrov

Rating: 4.3

The path to the stars.  From the history of Soviet cosmonautics, Anatoly Alexandrov

How does life work at the cosmodrome? The book by A. Alexandrov, 'The Way to the Stars', which is placed on the eighth step of our space rating, will tell about this. Having worked for many years in the rocketry field, the author has put in one book hundreds of interesting stories about the preparation of rockets for launch, the fate of the 'lunar project', and personal impressions. The book covers the time period from 1944 to 1971. This was the time of Soviet cosmonautics, its formation and birth. Since the launch of the first satellite, and the first manned space flight, there has been a lot of trial and error, and the space program has often literally hung in the balance from closure.

The book is based on little-known or completely unknown episodes that took place during the space race, which will certainly interest the sophisticated reader. Immersing yourself in story stories, you become a silent witness to real events, you communicate with many people who are mostly unknown to the general public.

Another parallel line of the book is the description of the history of the missile forces, although in other works these topics are separated from the projects of peaceful conquest of space. This allows you to understand many of the origins of what is happening, from the point of view of the true context, and not external judgments. The book will especially appeal to those who are truly interested in Russian cosmonautics.

How We Will Live on Mars, Stephen Petranek

Rating: 4.2

How We Will Live on Mars, Stephen Petranek

Infected with the idea of ​​popularizing life on Mars, journalist and writer, as well as the editor-in-chief of the popular Discover Magazine, Stephen Petranek, in 2015 released a book called 'How We Will Live on Mars'. She ranks ninth in our ranking.

Following the success of the TED lecture, Steven Petranek decided to release a book on this popular topic to the general public. The 17-minute speech was spread over only 128 pages, 32 of which are illustrations. Yes, the book is quite small and looks more like a detailed scientific article, but it still deserves attention.

The first part is focused more on financiers, because we are talking about earnings, numbers, volumes, amounts. The other half is replete with facts, ideas and theories. The author tries to consider the problem from several angles and believes that the early colonization of Mars will open up new prospects in the commercial activity of man. Stephen enthusiastically assures that people have no other way but to start actively exploring outer space. Well, time will tell if the first colony of people who bought a one-way ticket for a fabulous price will be able to land on Mars by 2025-2030, as Stephen Petranek promises us.

Cosmos, Dmitry Kostyukov and Zina Surova

Rating: 4.1

Cosmos, Dmitry Kostyukov and Zina Surova

About space for children! A vibrant hand-illustrated book about space lands in the tenth position in the rankings. This funny book with color illustrations for children will tell about space flights, the ISS device, the main cosmonauts and famous rocket scientists, designers – Gagarin, Korolev, Tsiolkovsky, Leonov, Titov.

The kids will learn what a cosmodrome is, and how it works, how the first space rockets and ships appeared, how astronauts adjust and train just before the flight. The main outline of the book is based on real interviews and photographs from personal archives, collected by space photographer Dmitry Kostyukov.

Despite the fact that the edition was only 3,000 copies, the book received many awards: the 'Art of the Book' diploma, the 'Start Up' award, White Ravens – from the library in Munich, the prize in the 'Gagarin and I' competition of the British Council.

Space. Evolution of the Universe, Life and Civilization, Carl Sagan

Rating: 4.0

Space.  Evolution of the Universe, Life and Civilization, Carl Sagan

The book about space by Carl Sagan, which was published over 35 years ago, but is still relevant and interesting, is at the eleventh position in the ranking. The book was first published in the distant 1980, but it was translated and published in Russia only in 2004. Such a huge gap can be explained by many reasons. And although much has changed in space exploration over the years, much has been discovered and known, the basic concept has remained the same. However, the book cannot be called purely scientific or technical. Rather, it is a philosophy intertwined with physics and cosmology, which tells about the origin of civilization at different points in the universe.

The main idea of ​​the book is traditionally devoted to the theory of the big bang, how life was born, how some elements, once exploding, formed other elements that gave rise to life for the third elements … In other words, everything that we see around us is a child of the Cosmos, as a kind of intelligent substance that gave birth to itself. And although the new discoveries of scientists more and more often indicate that someone's invisible hand is present in the creation of the world, this book is an excellent example of classical physics of the last century.

'Space. The Evolution of the Universe, Life and Civilization 'was published in addition to the television series' Space: A Personal Journey', so it has exactly thirteen chapters, according to the number of episodes in the film. By the way, this book was on the bestseller list for more than 70 weeks and became the best-selling scientific book in the 80s, and Carl Sagan during this time gained fame and fame comparable to the stars of show business.

Exploration of distant planets, Vladimir Surdin

Rating: 3.9

Exploration of distant planets, Vladimir Surdin

The book about planet hunters “Exploration of distant planets” by Vladimir Surdin takes the twelfth place in the rating. Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and Senior Researcher at the Institute of Astronomy talks about how new planets are discovered, what features, difficulties and paths it has. Without getting carried away with complex words and specific terminology, Surdin leads to the idea that every amateur can find and discover his planet and leave a noticeable mark in the history of space exploration.

The book begins with the most basic things – a story about planets and constellations. When the reader comes to more technically difficult moments, for example, with a description of the telescope design and tips for choosing it, there is a desire to understand everything in more detail. As a last resort, the reader can skip this moment and go to what rules are used to name space objects, what interesting facts and hypotheses accompany these events. And most importantly, after reading the book, there is an understanding that not only professional astronomers can make discoveries of planets. This can also be done by amateurs who have good optics at their disposal.

Large Atlas of the Universe, Irina Pozdnyakova

Rating: 4.8

Large Atlas of the Universe, Irina Pozdnyakova

The book about the Universe and its secrets from Irina Pozdnyakova is on the penultimate, thirteenth step of the rating. Atlas is a concentrated clot of data on the structure of the Universe. This is a kind of guide, which shows the entire solar system step by step.

Irina Pozdnyakova is an amateur astronomer, since 2005 she has been published on various Internet portals devoted to the topic of space and is the author of 8 books. The book 'The Great Atlas of the Universe' was released in 2017 as a deluxe edition. It shows in detail the main objects of our Universe, paying special attention to their physical nature. At the end of the atlas, you can find maps of the starry sky and begin to practice studying distant cosmic constellations. For lovers of astronomy, the book can be a wonderful gift or collector's item. The only drawback is its cost, which exceeds 1000 rubles.

Superobjects. Stars the Size of a City, Sergey Popov

Rating: 4.8

Superobjects.  Stars the Size of a City, Sergey Popov

Our rating ends with a book about interesting objects – neural stars that excite the minds of many scientists. Sergey Popov, a well-known popularizer of science and an astrophysicist, seeks to expand the knowledge of readers in the field of education and the existence of heavy superobjects directly related to black holes.

The main feature of the book: the author decided to tell in one edition everything that he knows about this topic. Most of the information is designed for a trained reader, so readers who are completely far from the topic of astrophysics may find this book boring and drawn out in places. Although the pages contain amusing examples and contrasts, this does not save the story from being overly scientific. Especially the book on superobjects will appeal to those who are deeply interested in new scientific discoveries.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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