Posted on Thursday, October 16, 2014
By Kadri
The Power of Stars by Bryan E. Penprase

There are many books that tell the different stories and myths of planets and constellations and how the Universe formed in ancient cosmologies. However there aren't too many that if you keep reading books on the same topic wouldn’t get repetitive, however the author of The Power of Stars has managed to do just that –although you might have read about it all somewhere else it still feels fresh and is very engaging.

This book is a treasure trove for those who work in a planetarium setting or give lessons about constellations and the Solar System – the beginning of the book is a great introduction to the star and planet lore –and it’s extensive enough to be a serious competitor to James W. Olcott’s classic “Star Lore”

Although the book is just under 350 pages long, while reading, it feels as if it were longer, as there’s so much of interest in there – for example about both ancient and modern timekeeping – how and why were calendars in various regions in Earth different and how does modern timekeeping work and why is it even important to know the right time anyway? It is fascinating to read about Sir Cloudley Shovel for example, whose ship’s clock was inaccurate and since he used the time on the clock for calculating his longitude, caused the catastrophe where four ships and 2000 men perished in 1707.

The Power of Stars takes on many topics –all related to stars of course – showing how in some way stars and planets have had an effect on human culture or life, be it a calendar or a temple erected in celebration of a heavenly body. It’s an interesting twist in the book to show how some future archeoastronomers might see our ruins of modern cities or skyscrapers as having some relation to astronomy and maybe a clue towards worshiping a planet or a star.

Although some of the topics do get a more in-depth look in some other books (that can be found in the references of The Power of Stars), combining all of them in a book that is more accessible and adds interesting facts and stories makes it a wonderful read that won’t leave the person who reads the whole book just wondering how things work nowadays, but rather it gives an overview of the past and present – and it is so with cosmology as well – although in the beginning of the book you find creation myths, it ends with modern cosmology and what we know about the Universe and the objects within.

It's a highly recommended read!

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