Moon, Stars, Sun

A picture of the full moon through the branches of a tree

September is promising to give us a plethora of spectacular cosmic events.

The month was ushered in by a Super Blue Moon, while on the 17th of September, Venus will be at its brightest. The 19th will have Neptune at opposition (meaning the planet will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long via telescope). On the 22nd, Mercury will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise!

This year’s Autumnal Equinox will also fall on September 23rd, meaning there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. Finally, the last Super Moon of the year—the Harvest Moon—is set to rise in all its glory on the 29th. Meanwhile, Illuminarium at the Distillery District is offering an all-ages immersive event titled Space: A Journey to the Moon and Beyond!

In honour of these and other cosmic events, here are some lovely books all about the heavens above.


Cover of Space: A Visual Encyclopedia by the Smithsonian

Space: A Visual Encyclopedia by the Smithsonian

Space: a Visual Encyclopedia reveals everything you need to know about the universe. Over 800 stunning images combine with illuminating descriptions to transport you to the depths of space. Discover dramatic solar storms, supermassive black holes, and hurtling comets on this dazzling journey through the universe. Learn about the race to launch tourist into space, witness the historic first steps of record-breaking astronauts, see inside the Hubble Space Telescope, and blast off the latest planetary missions in this ultimate encyclopedia.

Cover of The Sun's Heartbeat and Other Stories from the Live of the Star That Powers Our Planet by Bob Berman

The Sun’s Heartbeat and Other Stories From the Life of the Star That Powers Our Planet by Bob Berman

The beating heart of the sun is the very pulse of life on earth. And from the ancients who plotted its path at Stonehenge to the modern scientists who unraveled the nuclear fusion reaction that turns mass into energy, humankind has sought to solve its mysteries. In this lively biography of the sun, Bob Berman ranges from its stellar birth to its spectacular future death with a focus on the wondrous and enthralling, and on the heartbreaking sacrifice, laughable errors, egotistical battles, and brilliant inspirations of the people who have tried to understand its power.

Cover of Searching Beyond the Stars: Seven Women in Science Take on Space's Biggest Questions by Nicole Mortillaro

Searching Beyond the Stars: Seven Women in Science Take on Space’s Biggest Questions by Nicole Mortillaro

Are we alone in the cosmos? Could we one day live on a different planet? How is life formed? What other secrets does the universe hold?

Through profiles of seven remarkable women scientists and their achievements in their respective fields, Searching Beyond the Stars takes us deep into space, looking at once to the distant past and the distant future to capture the awe and intrigue of some of the biggest questions we can possibly ask.

Cover of Welcome to the Universe in 3D: A Visual Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Welcome to the Universe in 3D: A Visual Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson

The story of astronomy as a science is how, over time, astronomers have discovered the cosmos in depth. It is the story of the measurement of position and distance, and how our 2D view of the sky above us evolved into a more sophisticated comprehension of the real 3D depths of space. The distances to the stars were first measured using the parallax effect—that is, by comparing the view from opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit. This is the same effect that your brain uses (comparing the views from your left and right eyes) to effortlessly give you depth perception. In this book, the authors present the most spectacular stereo images available in astronomy. (Stereo images are pairs of images of the same object, taken 6 months apart—which, as the Earth turns, means viewed from opposite sides of the Earth’s orbit.)

Cover of Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer's Guide to the Universe by Philip Plait

Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe by Philip Plait

Drawing on the latest scientific research and his prodigious imagination, a renowned astronomer and science communicator takes us on an immersive tour of the universe to view ten of the most spectacular sights outer space has to offer, including the strange, beautiful shadows cast by a hundred thousand stars.

Cover of Astrology: From Ancient Babylon to the Present by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart

Astrology: From Ancient Babylon to the Present by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart

The story of astrology through the ages from ancient Babylon to the present day. Astrology is a means of interpreting the influence which the position of certain heavenly bodies have upon the earth and human beings. The earliest records are those of Babylon, which were designed to help its kings understand the will of their gods. It then became a way of making sense of the world as people saw themselves as integral parts of a vast but puzzling whole. 


Cover of Moon! Earth's Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty

Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty

Meet Moon! She’s more than just a rock—she’s Earth’s rock, her best friend she can always count on. Moon never turns her back on her friend (literally: she’s always facing Earth with the same side!). These two will stick together forever. With characteristic humor and charm, Stacy McAnulty channels the voice of Moon in this next celestial “autobiography” in the Our Universe series. Rich with kid-friendly facts and beautifully brought to life by Stevie Lewis, this is an equally charming and irresistible companion to Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, Sun! One in a Billion, and Mars! Earthlings Welcome.

Cover of Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Patricia Hegarty

Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Patricia Hegarty

“Have you ever wondered why/ The moon shines in the nighttime sky?” writes Hegarty as the book opens. “How every creature, plant, and tree/ Is subject to its mystery?” 

Die-cut pages show the phases of the moon as it shines on animals all over the world, from sea turtles laying eggs on the beach to frogs in the jungle and mice in the fields.

Cover of A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Mama and Little Star, dressed in black pajamas spangled with yellow stars, work on their mooncake (an Asian holiday treat, Lin explains in an author’s note) in the kitchen. Mama takes the cake out of the oven and lays it “onto the night sky to cool.” She tells Little Star not to touch it, and Little Star attends but awakens in the middle of the night and remembers the cake.

A double-page spread shows Little Star’s speculative glance on the left and the huge golden mooncake—or is it the round, golden full moon?—on the right. Whichever it is, Little Star takes a nibble from the edge, another the next night, and so on until the moon wanes to a delicate crescent.

Cover of Rocket Says Look up! by Nathan Bryan

Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryan

Aspiring astronaut Rocket draws her community together to see a rare appearance of the Phoenix Meteor Showers, hoping especially that her big brother, Jamal, will look up from his phone. The text, speckled with space facts (“DID YOU KNOW… most meteors are smaller than a grain of sand?”), follows Rocket as she prepares for her future (for example, “capture rare and exotic life forms”—a butterfly in a jar).

Cover of By the Light of the Harvest Moon by Harriet Ziefert

By the Light of the Harvest Moon by Harriet Ziefert

The story’s backdrop is Apple Hill Farm, where a wind comes up and “orange, yellow, and crimson leaves swirl and twirl and dance in the sky” until they coalesce into pumpkin-headed “leaf people.” During the rambunctious harvest party that ensues, these cheery humanoids introduce young readers to autumn traditions like bobbing for apples, pumpkin stacking and stringing popcorn necklaces, while a leafy grandma succinctly explains the autumnal equinox: “The hours of daylight and darkness are equal and fall begins. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are harvested, leaves turn the color of jewels.”

Cover of The Moon by Sanlyn Buxner

The Moon by Sanlyn Buxner

Featuring up-to-date images from space agencies such as NASA and ESA, this incredible introduction to the moon—past, present and future—covers the entire subject in fascinating detail, from the moon’s formation and geography to its effects on Earth’s tides and nocturnal animals.

About Sumayyah

Sumayyah is an Information Assistant at the Vaughan Public Libraries. She's also a bookworm and author, constantly dreaming up a multitude of different stories and wrestling with finishing them.  |  Meet the team