Ian Ridpath receives the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Klumpke-Roberts award 
for “outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy”

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Star Tales
(revised and expanded)


Astronomy: A Visual Guide

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Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy
(3rd edition)


Collins Stars & Planets Guide
(5th edition)

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Starter Pack


“Ian Ridpath is one of the most dedicated and prolific writers on astronomy.
His works all have clarity and authority.”
Professor Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
Amateur astronomy
Constellation lore
Astro philately
UFO skepticism
Photograph by Keith Waller
I have been interested in astronomy since childhood, and have been a full-time writer, editor, broadcaster, and lecturer on the subject since 1972.

My handbooks for observing the sky include the Collins Stars and Planets Guide (known in the US as the Princeton Field Guide to Stars and Planets), Collins Gem Stars, and The Monthly Sky Guide (all illustrated by Wil Tirion, the world’s foremost astronomical cartographer). These are all reprinted and updated regularly. Exploring Stars and Planets is the fifth edition of a children’s book that first appeared in 1992 under the title Atlas of Stars and Planets. The Times Universe is a collection of some of my favourite space imagery, with explanatory text. Star Tales is a book on constellation mythology which, along with antique star atlases, is a particular interest of mine.

I am also the editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and Norton’s Star Atlas. Norton’s, first published in 1910, is now in its 20th edition; it is the longest-established star atlas in the world, and reputedly the best-known. I have edited the last three editions (1989, 1998, and 2003). The Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy was first published in 1997; its latest update appeared online in early 2018. For more about these and other titles, see my Book Support pages.

I collect astronomy-related stamps, both for interest and for illustrative purposes. You are welcome to browse my collection of all such issues from the British Isles. I am also a collector of antique star atlases.

I am interested in the way in which astronomical phenomena can give rise to UFO reports. Some common examples can be found in my article about astronomical causes of UFOs. I have investigated a number of UFO cases that have attracted my interest, most notably the celebrated Rendlesham Forest UFO case of 1980, sometimes known as the “British Roswell”. I produced the first full explanation of all the major aspects of this case.

Click here for a fuller CV. Click here for a list of popular-level lectures.


Contact Ian Ridpath:  ian @ ianridpath.com