© 2017

The Power of Stars


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Bryan E. Penprase
    Pages 1-32
  3. Bryan E. Penprase
    Pages 33-85
  4. Bryan E. Penprase
    Pages 87-111
  5. Bryan E. Penprase
    Pages 207-254
  6. Bryan E. Penprase
    Pages 255-281
  7. Bryan E. Penprase
    Pages 283-331
  8. Bryan E. Penprase
    Pages 333-345
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 347-350

About this book


Completely revised and updated, this new edition provides a readable, beautifully illustrated journey through world cultures and the vibrant array of sky mythology, creation stories, models of the universe, temples and skyscrapers that each culture has created to celebrate and respond to the power of the night sky. Sections on the archaeoastronomy of South Asia and South East Asia have been expanded, with original photography and new research on temple alignments in Southern India, and new material describing the astronomical practices of Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. Beautiful photographs of temples in India and Asia have been added, as well as new diagrams explaining the alignment of these structures and the astronomical underpinnings of temples within the Pallava and Chola cultures. From new fieldwork in the Four Corners region of North America, Dr. Penprase has included accounts of Pueblo skywatching and photographs of ceremonial kivas that help elucidate the rich astronomical knowledge of the Pueblo people. The popular “Archaeoastronomy of Skyscrapers” section of the book has been updated as well, with new interpretations of skyscrapers in Indonesia, Taiwan and China.With the rapid pace of discovery in astronomy and astrophysics, entirely new perspectives are emerging about dark matter, inflation and the future of the universe. The Power of Stars puts these discoveries in context and describes how they fit into the modern perspective of cosmology, which has arisen from the universal human response to the sky that has inspired both ancient and modern cultures.


Archaeoastronomy Book Archaeoastronomy Index Archaeoastronomy of Skyscrapers Bryan Penprase Celestial Architecture Chinese Archaeoastronomy Indian Astronomical Lore Indian Constellation Modern Cosmology Stonehenge Archaeology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Division of ScienceYale-NUS CollegeSingaporeSingapore

About the authors

Dr. Bryan Penprase received a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1985 and his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1992 from the University of Chicago. Dr. Penprase was a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and an NRC Postdoctoral Researcher at IPAC/Caltech in Pasadena. Dr. Penprase has been a professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Brackett Observatory at Pomona College since 1993, and recently has become a Professor of Science at the Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and a Visiting Associate at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Penprase was a visiting fellow at Downing College, Cambridge, at the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and as a JPL Summer faculty fellow. Dr. Penprase conducts observational astrophysics projects with the Las Campanas Observatory, the Keck Telescope and Hubble Space telescope, among other facilities. He has worked extensively in many areas of astrophysics, primarily in observational astronomy related to the interstellar medium and star formation. Dr. Penprase's research in astronomy and astrophysics has taken him around the world, to observe with telescopes such as the Australian AAT, the observatories of CTIO and ESO in Chile, Caltech's telescopes on Mauna Kea and at Palomar, and the Nordic Optical telescope in La Palma, Spain, and telescopes in Taiwan, India and Thailand. He has given astronomy tours and talks since 1986 at venues that include the Yerkes Observatory, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, as well as archaeoastronomy and eclipse tours in the Southwestern US, Indonesia, India, China and Wyoming.

Bibliographic information


“The volume is really a beginner’s guide to cultural astronomy. … is worth buying for the images alone, which are stunning throughout; probably the best collection of this kind to be found all in one place.” (Liz Henty, Journal of Skyscape Archaeology (JSA), Vol. 04 (2), 2018)

“Penprase (Pomona College) has updated the first edition … developed for his course ‘Archaeoastronomy and World Cosmology,’ with new material and illustrations. … Recommended not only as a textbook, but also as an excellent general reference for undergraduates and general readers. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.” (M.-K. Hemenway, Choice, Vol. 55 (3), November, 2017)