This year took many things away from us. But the pandemic didn’t take away our night sky, a quiet and calming constant in our lives. No matter how upside down the world gets, we can always count on the cosmos putting on its nightly show for everyone to enjoy, no matter where they live.
There’s never been a more perfect holiday season to deepen one’s love of the cosmos. It’s also a great time to introduce someone you know to the magic of astronomy and skygazing by giving them a space-themed gift. But finding the perfect astronomy gift can be a daunting task.
That’s why My Science Shop, the online store of Astronomy magazine, curated this list of top-rated space gifts for the 2020 Christmas and holiday season. Whether you’re shopping for a budding astronomer, a seasoned backyard observer (or yourself) these unique space gifts will bring much-needed enjoyment in the long months ahead.
If there’s any silver lining to this year, it reminded us that nothing on our home planet is more important than our family and friends. This holiday season, you might find yourself reflecting on the important people in your life, and thinking of ways you can show your appreciation. Gift-giving is one of the too-few opportunities we have left to remind people that they are loved. And for many astronomy enthusiasts, it was a thoughtful Christmas gift that first put stars in their eyes.
We hope you’ll find these space gift ideas helpful as you shop for loved ones on your list. But if you don’t find what you’re looking for, be sure to head over to MyScienceShop.com to browse our collection of globes, toys, posters, puzzles, shirts and much more.
We would like to wish you a safe and joyful holiday season — and clear skies in the New Year.
Space & Beyond Box Subscription
As low as $44.90/box
Are you stumped on what gift to give your space geek this year? Allow the team of experts at Astronomy magazine do the shopping for you. The Space & Beyond Box is a quarterly subscription box for astronomy lovers and backyard skywatchers. Not only will the recipient deepen their understanding of the cosmos, they’ll have a little fun while they’re at it.
Another benefit of the Space & Beyond box is that receiving a box is like getting multiple presents in one. Inside every box, there’s 5-7 curated items, including globes, books, space rocks, models, and more. There’s an element of surprise, as each installment of the box focuses on a different space theme that isn’t revealed until the box ships.
Previous themes have included:
- The Black Holes Collection
- The Lunar Collection
- The Night Sky Viewing Collection
- The Planetary Collection
- The Comets and Asteroids Collection
What will the theme of the next Space & Beyond Box be? Well, you’ll have to order a box for your friends and family to find out.
2021 Deep Space Mysteries Calendar
No matter what happens in 2021 — the night sky won’t be canceled. Another year of skygazing is almost here, with plenty of clear skies ahead! The skygazer on your list won’t want to miss a single celestial event in the new year — and they won’t, if they’re gifted this Deep Space Mysteries Calendar.
This annual calendar has long been one of our most popular gifts, for good reason. Every month, it details planet visibility, meteor showers, conjunctions, and other observing opportunities. Moon phases and major astronomical events are also highlighted. Exclusive to this year, the calendar also features an illustration of the Voyager mission’s grand tour!
2021 Observer’s Handbook
The annual Observer’s Handbook is an astronomy guidebook that stands out from the rest. Since 1907, this book has served as a must-have reference guide for amateur astronomers across North America seeking essential information for locating and observing a wide range of astronomical phenomena. Highly regarded, this book is the perfect gift for any backyard observer who wants to better understand what they’re observing and how to grow in their hobby.
Because the Observer’s Handbook is highly readable and easy to understand, it’s an excellent gift for both new and seasoned sky spectators. Contained in it’s 352-pages is everything skygazers need to plan out their year. Readers will find monthly summaries of sky events — from eclipses, to planetary conjunctions, to meteor showers and beyond. Each edition incorporates helpful articles on changing solar system phenomena, as well as basic data on a range of sky features — including close stars, planets, moons, eclipses, the Sun, and more.
6-Inch Mars Globe
Everyone loves Mars. But it’s safe to say that space enthusiasts love Mars just a little more. Although many kids dream of becoming an astronaut and being the first to set foot on the Red Planet — space geeks never stopped. This year, give them the gift of an adventure to their favorite planet with the Mars Globe.
The striking red color and rich detail make this Mars Globe a great gift to be studied and displayed. The 6-inch, injected molded globe showcases 203 features on the Red Planet, which are labeled. Familiar features like craters and mountains — and lesser-known chaoses, labyrinthi, scopuli, and sulci — are found on this globe. Available only on MyScienceShop, this globe was developed using images from the Viking missions, and updated with data from the Mars Global Surveyor.
All-New Astronomy Moon Globe
Did you know that the first manned mission to the Moon happened during Christmastime? Apollo 8 took off on Dec. 21, 1968 and arrived in lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. After completing 10 lunar orbits, the crew headed home on Dec. 25, splashing down into the Pacific a couple of days later. This Moon globe is the perfect holiday gift to memorialize the Apollo Moon landings, which are some of the most incredible achievements in human history. It’s also a gift that will please picky skygazers, as this is the most complete and feature-filled globe of its kind.
This injection-molded, 12-inch globe showcases 1,473 of the Moon’s most notable features and lunar mission landing sites. It is based on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter data, a U.S. spacecraft that’s tasked with mapping the surface of the Moon. Just as the Moon is a splendid sight in the night sky — the Moon globe is an impressive gift that can be enjoyed day or night.
Fisher Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Space Pen
The patent for the first ballpoint pen was issued in October 1888. It was an invention that changed the world. But in the 1960s, Paul C. Fisher designed the pen that would boldly go where no pen has gone before. His space pen could do what no other pen could do: withstand the conditions of space. That’s why this practical and classic gift would please any space history buff, and would be a great addition to any Apollo mission collection.
In fact, this Special Edition Bullet Space Pen has the same pressurized ink refill cartridge used on the Apollo 11 mission and is still used on all manned space flights today. There’s nothing this pen can’t handle — whether it’s zero gravity, writing over grease, upside down, underwater, on dry surfaces, or extreme temperatures.
Constellation Heat-Changing Mug
The Constellations Mug is a thoughtful gift for anyone who loves looking at the stars on a clear night. It’s also a fun gift for anyone who drinks coffee and appreciates a good mug. Pouring in a hot liquid will reveal Cassiopeia, Perseus, Saggitarius, Hercules, Andromeda, Scorpius, Taurus, Ursa Major (Big Dipper), Ursa Minor (Little Dipper), Orion, and Gemini. This astronomy-themed mug is microwave safe, hand wash only — and space geek approved.
NASA Apollo Capsule Cookie Jar
Houston, we have cookies. This ceramic cookie jar, equipped with a rubber seal, is modeled after the Apollo 11 command module that carried the astronauts to the Moon and back. Make your gift extra special by filling it with cookies, Starburst, Milky Way bars, and of course — Moon Pies.
Whether they’re going to work, school or the Moon, your space enthusiast needs a bag that’s worthy of stowing their possessions. This NASA backpack is up to the task. This practical gift idea features a roomy, front zippered compartment and side pockets for water bottles or an umbrella. A top handle and backstraps offer versatile carrying options. Embroidered NASA patches give it timeless appeal and that undeniable cool factor.
NASA Insignia Graphic Tee
Putting on a NASA T-shirt is probably the next best thing to putting on a spacesuit. For many, a NASA-themed gift will bring back childhood curiosity around space exploration. In recent years, clothing with the NASA logo has surged in popularity among younger generations too. So don’t miss your chance to give someone a trendy gift that will become their new favorite T-shirt.
COBI Apollo Lunar Module Building Blocks Set
If someone on your gift set can’t get enough of Legos and Erector Sets, then look no further. This COBI-brand model is a great gift for space enthusiasts who love to build stuff. It’s a fun way to recreate the two-unit Apollo moon module, which was designed for space operations near the Moon and on its surface. This Apollo-inspired toy is licensed by the Smithsonian Museum, and features 370 blocks, two astronaut figurines, moving parts, and an easy-to-follow instruction manual.
The Carina Nebula’s Mystic Mountain Puzzle
Astronomy puzzles are the perfect gift for 2020. It’s also a budget-friendly gift that the whole family can enjoy. With 500 pieces to work with, the Carina Nebula Mystic Mountains Puzzle will help pass the time and provide hours of entertainment and quality time during those long winter days spent inside. The beautiful, 21 x 15-inch image that comes together can be framed — or take it apart and put it together again.