Are you a space cadet? Exploring new trends in Astronomy and Space sciences

By: Diana Petrowicz, Wed Sep 22 2021
Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Every year between 4th and 10th of October the world celebrates space week to highlight science and technology in the field. These dates were chosen to commemorate the launch of the first satellite Sputnik 1 which opened the way for space exploration and the signing of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Use of Outer Space. In order to contribute to the celebrations we interviewed Dr. Ramon Khanna, Executive Editor for Astronomy and Space Sciences Books about the Astronomy and Space Sciences book program at Springer Nature.

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Dr. Ramon Khanna is an astrophysicist who undertook research in black hole astrophysics through the 1990s. He joined Springer’s electronic publishing department in 2001 and became astronomy editor in 2004. As executive editor he is leading a team of editors acquiring book projects in theoretical and mathematical physics, in plasma physics, geophysics and complexity, and scientific computation. Together with one colleague he is focusing his acquisition on activities on astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology, space sciences and astronautics.

A publishing editor's work goes far beyond acquiring new projects. They advise authors on their proposals and manuscripts and are organizing peer review. The German word for publishing editor is Programm Planer indicating that they are strategically developing their portfolios by staying informed, via attending conferences and with the help of scientific advisors and book series editors, sometimes even starting new book series on new hot topics.

How has the Astronomy and Space Sciences book program developed in recent years?

The astronomy part of the program has remained relatively stable. Of course we are trying to cover all hot areas like gravitational wave astronomy, multi-messenger astronomy, exoplanets and new astronomical instrumentation and methods. Growth came from two areas:

  1. History of astronomy: There seems to be a growing community of astronomers and historians writing on ancient and cultural astronomy, on astronomy of the 15th-19th century, and on the explosion in astronomical and astrophysical research in the 20th century.
  2. Space sciences: There is a growing body of research in societal and ethical aspects of space exploration including space law and planetary protection which we are covering in a dedicated book series. Another major part of our space sciences program is on new satellite technologies and amazing solar system missions to the planets, comets and asteroids, and the sun.

Our general interest part of the program is among the biggest in the trade. Here we’re focusing on serious popular science for educated general readers and practical astronomy for amateurs.

What different book types does the collection include and can you tell us about some of the highlights of the collection?

As indicated above our collection comprises books for an academic readership (this is the main part) and a popular science program for general interest readers.

The academic part of the program consists of mainly monographs, monographic edited volumes and major reference works targeting graduate students to professional researchers. Astronomy highlights in this category are:

Space Sciences highlights in this category include books in our series Space and Society and Space Technology Library, namely

and the Springer Reference Works

And finally History of Astronomy highlights include books in our series Historical & Cultural Astronomy:

Our program is also very strong in graduate / PhD level textbooks, notably in the series Astronomy and Astrophysics Library. Recent highlights are:

Among undergraduate astronomy textbooks our top-used ones are:

Finally, our general interest books. Featured series are Astronomers' Universe, Space Exploration, The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series and Springer Praxis Popular Astronomy with highlight books

What are the emerging research trends you’re seeing in astronomy and space sciences today? How are those trends reflected in our eBook collection?

Gravitational wave astronomy is currently taking off. We are covering the topic in our journals (notably Living Reviews in Relativity) and in books on various levels, from undergraduate textbooks to proceedings.

Since current gravitational wave detectors don’t provide sufficient spatial resolution for identifying the source of the signal, gravitational wave signals are followed up by more traditional astronomical channels. This is what is called Multimessenger Astronomy on which we are publishing various books.

Exoplanet research has been a hot topic for nearly two decades. This is an extremely busy community and published numbers are quickly getting dated. We have published a major reference work in the field, the Handbook of Exoplanets and are continuing to publish monographs and textbooks on exoplanets.

Astronomy is one of the areas where really big data are collected. This leads to artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches on which we keep publishing up-to-date books.

In the space sciences the hot topics are exploration of solar system bodies (the Sun, planets, comets, asteroids) by robotic probes and in perhaps in future by manned missions. We have various books on such missions, many with amazing photos like in The Design and Engineering of Curiosity. But also the human aspects of manned missions are discussed, e.g. in The Human Factor in a Mission to Mars.

What is unique about the Springer Nature Astronomy & Space Sciences eBook collection?

Astronomy & Space Sciences eBooks are part of the Springer Nature physics eBook collection. Our Astronomy & Space Sciences eBooks cover the entire spectrum of topics in the field, from undergraduate level textbooks via graduate level textbooks to edited volumes, monographs, major reference works and proceedings. In addition, we have a fantastic choice of popular science books in astronomy and space exploration catering for armchair and amateur astronomers and any general interest reader. Our readers should find the right books for their needs – and if someone identifies a gap you can contact me at

If you would like to receive further information about the Astronomy and Space Sciences book program or a personalized quote for your institution, please contact us here.

To celebrate Space Week 2021, we’ve also pulled together key content resources, including podcasts, research highlights, videos, tools & resources to share with your users. Get access here.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.