Twitter is a great place for astronomy and space fans to learn more about spaceflight, the cosmos and the people who are expanding our knowledge of the Universe.
Social media as a concept may be scoffed at by many, but one of the things it has done is opened up a wealth of knowledge and expertise that otherwise would be inaccessible for many of us.
In what other era might you have been able to ask your favourite astrophysicist a question about the nature of the Universe, or found out in real time what astronauts are eating on the International Space Station?
And if you’re the only one in your circle of family and friends with an interest in space and astronomy, you can find like-minded people who share your passion simply by clicking on a hashtag or finding the right groups to follow.
Astronomy being a primarily visual medium, social media is also a great place to access and share astrophotos, see the latest images of the Solar System or Universe beamed back by space probes and rovers, or discover archive footage from the history of crewed spaceflight.
If you’re a space and astronomy geek, Twitter is a fountain for knowledge about the Universe. We’ve picked out some of the best Twitter accounts to follow for all things cosmic.
44 of the best Twitter accounts for space and astronomy fans
Hubble Space Telescope
The world’s most famous space telescope should be your first port of call for incredible space science, astro images and the latest developments in astronomers’ study of the Solar System and the cosmos. Unsurprisingly, the Hubble Space Telescope has more than one Twitter account so you can pick and choose which to follow, but that’s not to say that following them all isn’t an option…
International Space Station
Humanity’s Earth-orbiting laboratory, the International Space Station is at the forefront of space science, helping our species understand the toll of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. Follow for science updates, info on the latest arrivals, departures and spacewalks, and how the ISS is helping humanity reach out to the stars.
Chandra X-ray Observatory
The Chandra X-ray Observatory observes the Universe in X-rays, enabling astronomers to see beyond what is visible to the human eye, peering through cosmic clouds and getting a unique look at the cosmos. Follow the official account of this incredible NASA space telescope for unprecedented views of the cosmos and the latest discoveries.
NASA really needs no introduction. If you’re a space fan on Twitter and you’re not following NASA, there are a number of accounts worth checking, including the @NASA account itself, but also those of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (which oversees missions sending spacecraft out into the Solar System and beyond) and Goddard Space Flight Center (which communicates with the ISS and studies the science of the Universe).
NASA History Office
NASA’s numerous Twitter accounts are all about the present and the future of space exploration, so NASA’s History Office deserves its own entry on this list. The account takes a fascinating look at past missions and important anniversaries in the history of spaceflight and history of astronomy.
European Space Agency
ESA is Europe’s representation is space, leading some of the biggest and most breathtaking exploratory missions and training astronauts to live and work on the International Space Station. Like NASA, there is a wealth of ESA Twitter accounts to follow, including those focussing on its human spaceflight endeavours, cutting edge technology and space science.
British Astronomical Association
If you are a Briton who’s passionate about observing the sky and wants to learn more – or even if you live outside the UK – the British Astronomical Association is a great resource for online lectures, practical guides and information to help you understand more about what’s going on in the night sky above.
Society for Popular Astronomy
The SPA is another fantastic resource for astronomers – both beginners and intermediate – who want to learn more about observing the night sky. Follow for regular stargazing tips, info on what’s coming up in the night sky, and space science. They also have a separate account for younger astronomers that’s worth a follow.
Royal Astronomical Society
The Royal Astronomical Society is a British institution and has been at the forefront of scientific discovery for over 200 years. Follow for online lectures, space science news and educational resources.
European Southern Observatory
Based in the Chilean Atacama Desert, the European Southern Observatory is one of the most prolific observatories in the world, with the Very Large Telescope and the upcoming Extremely Large Telescope among its facilities. Follow for beautiful images of the cosmos, space science and stunning vistas of the desert night sky.
UK Space Agency
The UK Space Agency is the British government’s dedicated body for promoting the country’s role in spaceflight. Follow for the latest British space news and information about how you can get involved.
US-based Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, among others, and its current CEO is popular science communicator Bill Nye. The society’s Twitter account provides up-to-date accounts of space missions by space agencies across the world, and encourages citizen science to make sure exploration of the cosmos remains accessible to all.
Planetary scientist, member of the Planetary Society and science communicator, Emily Lakdawalla’s enthusiasm for all things space is obvious in both her writing and her social media activity. Lakdawalla is one of the Planetary Society’s most engaging and enthusiastic writers, a case in point being her online work on the successes of the Hayabusa2 mission to English-speaking audiences.
Dr Katie Mack is another space scientist who has taken the Twitter format and turned it into an accessible platform for communicating cosmology and theoretical astrophysics to non-academics. Expect fascinating science, interesting retweets and links to ‘further reading’, often with a dose of humour.
Libby Jackson is a space writer, author and Human Exploration Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency. Follow for updates on spaceflight news and the latest developments in British space endeavours.
Follow The Sky at Night co-presenter Chris Lintott for up-to-date space and astronomy news and commentary on the latest astronomical discoveries and space probes exploring the Solar System. Prof Lintott is also a leading figure in promoting citizen science, so expect calls to action and links to places where you can get involved in helping explore the cosmos.
The iconic Lovell Telescope is a mesmerising sight well-known to anyone who’s familiar with rural Cheshire. One of the world’s most famous observatories and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Jodrell Bank is a jewel in the British astronomical crown. Follow for images of the Lovell Telescope in all seasons, for astronomical discoveries and updates on outreach events taking place at the observatory.
Professor of Astrophysics and Associate Director at Jodrell Bank, Tim O’Brien is one of the UK’s best science communicators, and another Twitter user who manages to make astrophysics fun and accessible. Follow for updates on what’s happening at Jodrell Bank, retweets of important discoveries and astronomy news, as well as the occasional live tweet during Manchester United games.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Some of the world’s biggest and best radio telescopes fall under the NRAO banner, including the Green Bank Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. Follow for science outreach, online lectures and the latest discoveries in the field of radio astronomy.
Are we alone? Will we ever find life beyond Earth? This question has plagued humanity since we first began to look up at the night sky, and now you can follow the latest developments on Twitter! Follow for videos, images and info on the search for life in the Solar System and beyond.
Amy Shira Teitel
Author and historian Amy Shira Teitel makes history cool. Space history, that is. Shira Teitel has become an authority on the legacy of spaceflight: specifically the Apollo moonlandings and the contribution of women scientists and engineers to humanity’s push beyond Earth orbit. Follow for updates on current missions and key dates in space history.
The ‘Science Guy’ is one of the US’s most famous science communicators, and is an avid Twitter user, regularly uploading videos, links to scientific content and space and astronomy news. Nye is also CEO of the Planetary Society and regularly tweets about the latest missions exploring the Solar System.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency regularly trains and sends astronauts to the ISS, and engages in incredible missions such as the Hayabusa2 mission, which is currently returning a sample of an asteroid to Earth for analysis, and an upcoming sample-return mission to a Martian moon. Keep up to date with the latest JAXA mission updates and news from Japan’s astronauts on the International Space Station.
James Webb Space Telescope
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is set to revolutionise our view of the cosmos. Seen as a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, it will be able to peer back into distant space and get a look at the early Universe. Expect amazing science and imagery once JWST launches later in 2021.
Just like JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission, OSIRIS-REx is a US-led asteroid sample-return endeavour bringing back pieces of Asteroid Bennu for analysis on Earth. Asteroids are primordial relics left over from the formation of the Solar System, so studying them could reveal clues as to how our planetary neighbourhood came to be.
Samantha Cristoforetti is one of ESA’s most publicly-engaged astronauts, regularly taking part in interviews, podcasts and promoting science online. During her time on the ISS, Cristoforetti conducted multiple experiments on the effects of space on the human body, and much of her Twitter timeline provides fascinating links to the latest space science research.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover
Mars’s latest resident is NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed safely on the surface of the Red Planet on 18 February 2021. Perseverance’s mission will see it search for signs that life may once have existed on Mars. Follow for Martian imagery, rover selfies and the latest scientific discoveries.
The UK’s first ESA astronaut continues to promote science via public speaking events, across the internet and regularly on social media, following the end of his Principia mission on board the International Space Station. Follow Peake for the latest ESA news and links to how you can get involved in space science.
Dr Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to journey into space when she flew on the Space Shuttle in 1992 (making her one of our most influential women who changed astronomy and spaceflight). Follow for science outreach and musings on the latest crewed missions.
You may not have known this, but the Vatican has an observatory. And current head of the Vatican Observatory is Brother Guy Consolmagno, author of the classic astronomy book Turn Left At Orion. Follow for astronomy history, news, musings and updates from the observatory itself.
UK Women in Astronomy
A fantastic resource for UK women astronomers, both beginners and seasoned experts. Follow for news of events, talks and other ways to get involved in astronomy.
Lisa Harvey Smith
Prof. Lisa Harvey Smith is an astrophysicist, author and Women In STEM Ambassador for Australia. Follow for Southern Hemisphere astronomy updates, astrophysics news and the latest STEM outreach.
US astrophysicist Janna is an expert on black holes and makes regular appearances on podcasts and radio shows around the globe. Follow for the latest black hole news and links to where you can hear her make hardcore astrophysics deceptively simple.
Mark McCaughrean is Senior Advisor for Science & Exploration at the European Space Agency and gives regular talks on space exploration. He is also the founder of the Space Rocks Live outreach programme combining science and the arts. Follow for spaceflight updates and links to online events.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Astrophysicist, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and podcaster Neil de Grasse Tyson is one of the most famous astronomy communicators in the world. Follow for astronomy and astrophysics outreach, and the occasional cosmological quandry.
For Britons, the Royal Observatories in Greenwich and Edinburgh need little introduction. Many of us may have begun our love of the night sky during a visit to either ROG, and both observatories continue to be at the forefront of British astronomy outreach. Follow for details of events, astronomy news and what’s coming up in the night sky.
Scott Kelly’s year on the International Space Station was a groundbreaking experiment in the study of the effects of spaceflight on the human body. This veteran astronaut has flown both the Soyuz and the Space Shuttle, and today is regularly engaged in science outreach. Follow for Tweets about human spaceflight and space history.
With over 665 accumulated days in space, it’s safe to say Peggy Whitson knows a thing or two about long-duration spaceflight! Follow for updates on current crewed missions and highlights from her adventures aboard the ISS.
Met Office Space
The term ‘space weather’ describes the effects of the Sun on the Solar System and our own planet, including the solar wind, magnetic fields and coronal mass ejections. Follow the UK Met Office’s space weather account for the latest solar science, updates and aurora alerts.
And if you’re really interested in solar science, follow Lucie Green, physics Professor at University College London, The Sky at Night presenter and expert on all things Sun-related, for the latest solar science and space news.
Prof Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an astrophysicist, astronomer, author and expert on dark matter and the evolution of the Universe. As well as this, she is a researcher on feminist science studies and how science can be made more accessible to everyone. Follow for cosmological news and info on increasing diversity in STEM subjects.
Carolyn Porco is undoubtedly one of the most important planetary scientists of her generation. Originally a member of the Voyager team and subsequently imaging lead on the Cassini mission at Saturn, Porco has been instrumental in helping the general public get a closer look at the worlds of our Solar System.
Author and host of the magnificent russianspaceweb.com, Zak is a prominent writer and historian covering the legacy of Soviet and Russian space missions. Follow for updates on current space missions, but also information on groundbreaking Soviet campaigns and spaceflight history.
BBC Sky at Night Magazine
Well, we couldn’t let a list of best astronomy and space Twitter accounts pass by without a nod to our own! Follow for space news and links to features, interviews, stargazing tips and astrophotography tutorials.
Which accounts did we miss? Do you follow any amazing astronomy and space Twitter accounts that you think we should have included? Let us know by getting in touch via email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter.