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Astronomy & Archeoastronomy Books

Pacaritambo: The Machu Picchu Magazine & Science Bookstore

Astronomy, Archeoastronomy, & Outer Space Books

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by Emmeline Plunket. B&W photos, drawings, & charts illustrate. Condition: PLEASE READ. UNREAD, but not perfect, 1997 Senate Trade paperback, reissue of the 1903 original edition. Problem: a bit of shelf wear to the front and back covers. Tiny edge wear. Interior perfect. Content: This is a wonderful book, IMHO!!! The night sky has fascinated humankind for thousands of years. Over the course of millennia, the movements of the stars have become inextricably entwined with complex systems of belief & of prediction that we have come to call astrology. This is a fascinating guide to the astrological beliefs of several important early civilizations. It traces the way in which shape & meaning has been given to the heavens through the arrangement of the houses of the zodiac which mark the passage of the astronomical year. Draws on the surviving records of the cultures of early Greece, Egypt, Persia, & India. Maps & engravings. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
$ 5.49 + $ 2.99 media shipping. International shipping available upon arrangement.

Price: $ 5.49
Calendars & Constellations of the Ancient World, Plunket

CONVERSING WITH THE PLANETS: How Science and Myth Invented the Cosmos
by Anthony Aveni. B&W photos, charts, & Maya language charts illustrate. Condition: NEW 1994 Kodansha International Trade Paperback, first thus, first printing. Content: Probably the best book on the subject. "Aveni, a professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate University, seeks here to integrate--in his view, reintegrate--the rational universe with a more comforting model that takes into account "the interrelationship between matter and spirit." Such ancient astronomically inclined peoples as the Babylonians and the Mayans, he argues, made direct connections between events in the night sky and those on earth, and hence between nature and culture. The Mayans, for example, used their observations of the path of Venus to create a culturally useful myth about planting." For those interested in Mesoamerican archeoastronomy, this is an invaluable point of view for study. [1 copy available]
$ 5.49 + $ 2.99 media shipping.

Price: $ 5.49
Conversing With the Planets

CYCLES OF THE SUN, MYSTERIES OF THE MOON: The Calendar in Mesoamerican Civilization
by Vincent Malmstrom. Loaded with B&W photos, maps, and charts. Condition: NEW 1997 Univ. of Texas Press trade paperback, first edition. Content: The simple question "How did the Maya come up with a calendar that had only 260 days?" led Vincent Malmström to discover an unexpected "hearth" of Mesoamerican culture. In this boldly revisionist book, he sets forth his challenging, new view of the origin and diffusion of Mesoamerican calendrical systems--the intellectual achievement that gave rise to Mesoamerican civilization and culture. Malmström posits that the 260-day calendar marked the interval between passages of the sun at its zenith over Izapa, an ancient ceremonial center in the Soconusco region of Mexico's Pacific coastal plain. He goes on to show how the calendar developed by the Zoque people of the region in the fourteenth century B.C. gradually diffused through Mesoamerica into the so-called "Olmec metropolitan area" of the Gulf coast and beyond to the Maya in the east and to the plateau of Mexico in the west. These findings challenge our previous understanding of the origin and diffusion of Mesoamerican civilization. Sure to provoke lively debate in many quarters, this book will be important reading for all students of ancient Mesoamerica--anthropologists, archaeologists, archaeoastronomers, geographers, and the growing public fascinated by all things Maya. Reviewer: "Malmstrom has written a wonderfully entertaining book stuffed full of facts on the Mesoamerican systems of calendrical accounting. I had no idea the history of their calendars went so far back, nor that they were so widely used by such a great number of civilizations. His theories fill in where the facts leave off, as most studies on ancient cultures must, and the facts support his hypotheses. Malmstrom's theories on the origin of the calendar are quite different in some aspects than those of scholars before him -- one major difference is that he does not believe the Olmec developed the calendar. I don't want to ruin any surprises for a reader -- and there are some for those who accept the commonly supported theories of the Olmec as the "father" of all subsequent Mesoamerican civilizations -- so I will stop with just one more comment: If you have any interest in Mesoamerica or the cultures of the Zoque, Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Mixtec, Toltec or Aztec, GET THIS BOOK! " [1 copy available]
$ 12.49 + $ 3.29 media shipping.

Price: $ 12.49
Cycles of the Sun, Mesoamerican Calendar

THE DAWN OF ASTRONOMY: A Study of Temple Worship and Mythology of the Ancient Egyptians
by J. Norman Lockyer. Preface by Giorgio De Santillana. B&W photos, charts, & drawings illustrate. Condition: PLEASE READ - UNREAD, but not perfect, 1964 M.I.T. Press trade paperback, assumed first printing. Tag removal mark top front cover at fore edge (see graphic) with edge wear to the fore edge. Interior clean & tight - no tanning. Content: Original publication date was 1894. This celebrated study — derived from Lockyer's belief that ancient Egyptian monuments were constructed "in strict relation to the stars" — explores the relationship between astronomy and architecture in the age of the pharaohs. The author addresses one of the many points already extensively investigated by Egyptologists: the chronology of the kings of Egypt. Essential classic. There are later printings of this book, but no new editions. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 4.00
Dawn of Astronomy, Lockyer

THE FIRST STARGAZERS: An Introduction to the Origins of Astronomy
by James Cornell. B&W photos, charts, & drawings illustrate. Condition: PLEASE READ - UNREAD, but not perfect, 1982 Scribner's hardcover and DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Problem is top DJ edge: edge wear with small nic spine top. Interior perfect. Content: Around the world, from the moors of northern Europe to the jungles of south Asia to the deserts of the American Southwest, the scattered ruins of ancient civilizations remain to tantalize us with memories of former glories, prehistoric accomplishments, and forgotten sciences. Was astronomy one of these lost sciences? Did priest-observers once stand atop these now crumbling towers to watch the slow turning of the stars? Archaeoastronomy, a modern discipline combining astronomy and archaeology, attemps to describe the astronomical knowledge of ancient peoples through the study of unwritten records they left behind in these stone ruins. This book covers Stonehenge, Angkor Wat, Chaco Canyon, the Aztecs and Mayas. [1 copy available]
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The First Stargazers, James Cornell, Archeoastronomy

LINES TO THE MOUNTAIN GODS: Nazca and the Mysteries of Peru
by Evan Hadingham. Wonderful B&W photos (many by the Author) throughout. Condition: Gently pre-read and highlighted to page 18 and abandoned. Clean front page 19 on. 1989 Univ. of Oklahoma Press large soft cover, second printing. Questions encouraged. Content: "Why did the pre-Incan Nazca Indians carve long mysterious grooves in the Peruvian desert, lines that form enormous outlines of animals, spirals, zigzags and parallels? The fact that many patterns are clearly distinguishable only when viewed from the air led von Daniken to claim that the Nazca lines were a landing strip for UFOs. Hadingham, archaeologist and author of "Early Man and the Cosmos", refutes von Daniken's theory. He also disputes German investigator Maria Reiche, who has spent four decades living near the lines; her belief that the desert markings are a calendar of seasons and star movements accounts for only a small proportion of the lines, according to Hadingham. He argues that some of the patterns wee aids to shamanistic practice, others wee fertility symbols, still others were markers linking holy spots. His thoroughly documented, beautifully written and richly illustrated account is must reading for anyone intrigued by this enigma." - Publishers Weekly. It's a wonderful book! [1 copy available.]
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Price: $ 8.50
LInes to the Mountain Gods, Nazca Lines

MOONSCAPES: A Celebration of Lunar Astronomy, Magic, Legend, and Lore
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. B&W photos and era drawings & woodcuts illustrate. Condition: UNREAD 1991 Prentice Hall hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Content: This book will delight anyone who has ever marveled at the effect of Earth's satellite on the tides. A compendium of lunar lore -- fact & fantasy -- from prehistoric times to the Apollo program & thru the 1980s. Beginning with lunar science & history, it presents a potpourri of facts from alchemy to modern astronomy. Includes religious & mythological aspects of the moon, including its influence on fertility, love, prosperity, & good fortune; its use in magic, initiation rites, divination, & witchcraft; & its association with dark powers & creatures of the night, such as werewolves, vampires, & the spirits of the dead. Elegant illustrations, sidebars, charts, & lists. Chapters: What Do We Know about the Moon?; Myths, Rites, and Mysticism; Moon Magic and Lore for Love, Health and Properity; Night Things, Madness and Mayhem; and Man on the Moon and Beyond. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
$ 6.29 + $ 3.29 media shipping.

Price: $ 6.29

THE ORION MYSTERY: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids
by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert. B&W photo section plus B&W charts and drawings illustrate. Condition: NEW 1994 Crown hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first American edition, first printing. Content: This fascinating archaeological detective story argues that the great pyramids of Egypt's Fourth Dynasty (c. 26002400 b.c.) were vast astronomically sophisticated temples, rather than the pharaonic tombs depicted by conventional Egyptology. In March 1993, a tiny remote-controlled robot created by Rudolf Gantenbrink, a German robotics engineer, traveled up airshafts within the Great Pyramid of Giza and relayed to scientists video pictures of a hitherto unknown sealed door within the pyramid. Bauval, a British engineer and writer who has been investigating the pyramids for more than ten years, and Gilbert, a British publishing consultant, use Gantenbrink's tantalizing discovery as a launching pad for an extended analysis of the purpose of the mysterious airshafts, which lead from the Great Pyramid's chambers to its exterior, and of the placement of other Fourth Dynasty pyramids. They were sited, the authors argue, to coincide with the key stars of Orion, a constellation that had religious significance for the Egyptians. Bauval and Gilbert claim that the shafts were pointed directly at important stars in Orion--that is, at those stars as they were placed in ancient times. Using astronomical data about stellar movement, they argue that the Orion stars coincide exactly with the pyramids' positions in approximately 10,400 b.c.--a period the Egyptians called the First Time, when they believed the god Osiris ruled the Earth. The authors also speculate that the mysterious space within the Great Pyramid discovered by Gantenbrink contains the mythical Benben stone, which the Egyptians linked to the creation of the world. The book's contentions are sometimes far-fetched and certainly unlikely to put scholarly controversy about the pyramids to rest. Still, this is an enjoyably radical rethinking of the mystery of the pyramids, with some ingenious arguments made in lucid style. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
$ 14.49 + $ 3.29 media shipping.

Price: $ 14.49
Orion Mystery, Ancient Egypt

THE PROPHET AND THE ASTRONOMER: A Scientific Journey to the End of Time
by Marcelo Gleiser. A fat B&W photo section plus B&W photos and charts throughout. Condition: NEW 2002 Norton hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Content: An astrophysicist guides us through the celestial apocalypse, from Revelations to the Big Crunch. From the beginning of time people have looked to the heavens to find order in the universe, to divine meaning and direction from celestial events. The same skies that used to instill fear in our ancient prophets today spawn a rich apocalyptic science for awestruck stargazers. This remarkable book explores the shared quest of prophets and astronomers to explain the strange phenomena of our skies - from the apocalypse foretold in Revelations to modern science's ongoing identification of multiple cataclysmic threats, including the impact of comets and astrois on earthly life. Reviewer: "Gleiser argues that science and religion spring from a single challenge to the human spirit: anxiety over our mortality, which defines us and gives our life meaning. Thus, the different narratives used by science (the Big Crunch) and religion (the apocalypse) to reconcile our finite existence with an apparently infinite universe are not mutually exclusive; they share an awareness of our limited time on Earth, which motivates us to understand the universe and our place in it. While Gleiser offers an extensive discussion of modern scientific cosmology, his account is not overly technical and is easily accessible to the average reader. One measure of how much a reader has enjoyed a book is the number of margin notes and underlined passages that mark the text, and this reviewer's copy has been copiously highlighted in three different colors." [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 5.39
The Prophet and the Astronomer, Gleiser

SEEING AND BELIEVING: How the Telescope Opened Our Eyes and Minds to the Heavens
by Richard Panek. Condition: NEW 1999 Penguin soft cover, first pritning. Tiny edge wear. Content: Panek's concise, popularly written history of the telescope is an exciting interstellar voyage that shows how a humble novelty item and maritime tool evolved into a powerful exploratory instrument that has changed our conception of the cosmos. Although Galileo's discovery of Jupiter's moons with a spyglass in 1610 helped demolish the medieval worldview that placed a stationary earth at the center of creation, faulty lenses and frustrating optics hobbled astronomical research for decades. Amateur astronomer William Herschel's discovery of Uranus in 1781 led to his pre-Einsteinian insight that stargazers were not only looking tens of trillions of miles into space, but also penetrating into time past. Yet, incredibly, as recently as the turn of this century most astronomers clung to the belief that the universe consisted of just one galaxyAoursAwith the sun in a central position. In 1996, the Hubble Space Telescope pierced the heavens, resulting in the current estimate of a total of 50 billion galaxies. Panek puts these and other conceptual breakthroughs into clear perspective as he deftly explains how astronomy's interface with photography, spectroscopy, radio and space exploration led to the discovery of quasars, pulsars, black holes, galaxy superclusters and the search for "dark matter." His narrative sometimes bogs down in technical detail, but, nonetheless, it is a delightful intellectual adventure, fleshed out with vivid cameos of innovators like Tycho Brahe, Edwin Hubble and visionary astrophysicist George Ellery Hale, who in 1948 supervised the construction of what was then the world's largest telescope at Mount Palomar, but whose mental illness made him report that he was suffering periodic visits from an elf. [2 copies available]
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Price: $ 3.69
Seeing & Believing, Panek, Telescope

SOLAR OBSERVING TECHNIQUES (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series)
by Chris Kitchin. Great B&W photos, drawings, and tables with 25 color plates. Condition: NEW 2002 Springer (UK) Trade Paperback, no printing given. Content: Professor Chris Kitchin provides all the information needed for safe solar observing. The Sun well-suited to amateur astronomers - the Sun is close enough to need little magnification. It also has the practical advantage, unlike every other astronomical object, of being visible in the daytime!During solar eclipses, there are momentary chances to observe and photograph some spectacular and scientifcally interesting sights.Studying the Sun nonetheless needs specialist knowledge. Safety is paramount, as without the right precautions the heat and light of the Sun would instantly blind the observer. But given the right techniques, the Sun is a rewarding subject for amateur astronomers. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
$ 8.89 + $ 3.19 media shipping. Priority shipping available.

Price: $ 8.89
Solar Observing Techniques

STAIRWAYS TO THE STARS: Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures
by Anthony Aveni. B&W photos and detailed drawings of astronomical observation sites. Condition: NEW 1996 John Wiley & Sons hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first edition, first printing. Content: With little or no technology, many ancient societies achieved significant understanding of the movements and cycles of the moon, sun, planets, and stars. The primary difference between their astronomy and ours is that they believed the sky served as a connection between the natural and spiritual world, while our Western view of science dictates an objective, quantifiable, and measurable existence. Using the findings of the last decade, Aveni (Behind the Crystal Ball) examines the astronomy of three ancient societies: Great Britain and Stonehenge; the Mayas and the cult of Venus; and the Incas and the city of Cuzco, built as a vast observatory. Also included is a chapter on "naked eye" observing that allows readers to see the night sky as did our ancient ancestors. This book is not as much a history of astronomy, but a focused survey of the beliefs and astronomy of three ancient cultures and how they compare and contrast with the prevailing way that Western society watches the night sky. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 7.89
Stairways To the Stars

THE STARGAZERS: A Historical Drama in Two Acts
by Joseph Cowley (The Chrysanthemum Garden). Condition: NEW 2000 Author's Choice Press Trade Paperback, second printing. Tiny edge wear. Content: The planetary observations of the Danish Astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) provide the data upon which Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) will later base his famous three laws accurately describing the revolutions of the planets around the sun. The play's conflict stems not only from Kepler's urgent need for Tycho's observations to prove his theories, and Tycho's equally urgent desire not to share them before he can use them (with Kepler's help) to prove his own, but also from the utterly different characters of the two men. Kepler is an advocated of the Copernican sun-centered system, Tycho of the Ptolemaic earth-centered system. Kepler's cunning and seeming weakness are pitted against Tycho's arrogance and seeming strength. A stake is the glory and fame for one of the greatest discoveries of all time: how the solar system works. This conflict will keep you on the edge of your seat from first page to last. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 4.50
Stargazers, Play, Theatre

STONEHENGE DECODED: An astronomer examines one of the great puzzles of the ancient world
by Gerald S. Hawkins in collaboration with John B. White. Two B&W photos and detailed drawings illustrate. Condition: Gently pre-read, if at all, 1993 Barnes & Noble hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), 4th printing. No problems, just perhaps pre-read. Content: Reviewer: "The author is a Professor of Astronomy who chose to investigate Stonehenge. He concluded that Stonehenge was a sophisticated astronomical observatory designed to predict eclipses. The positioning of the stones provides a wealth of information, as does the choice of the site itself. If you can see the alignment, general relationship, and the use of these stones then you will know the reason for the construction. The author, and other astronomers, discovered the 56-year cycle of eclipses by decoding Stonehenge! Stonehenge was constructed from about 1900BC to 1600BC. Appendix B tells how the movement of stones once each year from an initial fixed position will predict accurately every important lunar event for hundreds of years. This computer would need resetting about once every 300 years by advancing the stones by one space. Mankind generally used the cycle of the moon as a unit of timekeeping. The most significant Stonehenge positions line up to point to some unique sun of moon position (Figure 12). Chapter 7 tells how they used an IBM 704 computer in 1961 to plot the Stonehenge positions (120 pairs of points) and calculated where the lines would hit the sky (p.105). Chapter 9 asks if the Aubrey holes can be proved to have been used as a computer? No, but it is the most reasonable solution proposed so far. This entertaining and educational book tells about the author's investigations and conclusions. It is a classic science book for the general reader." [Of course, some of this information may be a bit dated, but it is fascinating.] [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 3.59
Stonehenge Decoded, Hawkins

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