Tag Archives: Anthony Aveni

In the Shadow of the Moon

At the time of the Uranus-Neptune conjunction in the early 90s, I was thrilled to read some of Professor Anthony Aveni’s books. Conversing with the Planets looked at people’s relationships with the cosmos through history and across cultures, and Empires of Time covered how people consider time, which derives from the cycles of the Sun and Moon. These books both touched on astrology, as the author is both an astronomer and anthropologist. Aveni became one of the first prominent voices on what would now be called cultural astronomy or, at the time, archaeo-astronomy.

Anthony Aveni’s work is refreshing since he accepts people’s beliefs (including astrology) as part of what makes them interesting. His latest book, In the Shadow of the Moon, covers solar eclipse viewing and arrives in time for total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. on 8/21/17.

In the Shadow of the Moon looks at not only eclipses but also the people who study them. The author eloquently shares his own eclipse viewing experiences and presents others who’ve captured the spectacle in words. We learn about predicting eclipses through the centuries, from Stonehenge to Babylon, the ancient Greeks, Chinese and Maya, with detailed accounts of eclipse expeditions in the U.S. and abroad in more recent times.

Full of insight and wit, Anthony Aveni’s eclipse book is part science history, part human interest, and captures the challenges of navigating capricious weather as well as the joys of encountering this rare natural phenomenon.

While this book doesn’t address the astrology of eclipses, it provides an excellent background to studying them and communicates why they’re so compelling, regardless of time and space.

Buy from Amazon.com:  In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses
Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks, and Cultures
Conversing with the Planets: How Science and Myth Invented the Cosmos (Kodansha Globe) by Aveni, Anthony published by Kodansha Globe Paperback