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Professor Bryan Penprase to Appear on National Geographic Channel on April 29

Petroglyphs in Chaco Canyon

Petroglyphs in Chaco Canyon / Photo by Ron Lussier

On Thursday, April 29, at 10 p.m., Bryan Penprase, Frank P. Brackett Professor of Astronomy and chair of the Physics and Astronomy department, will be featured on the National Geographic program “Known Universe.” The episode, “Decoding the Skies,” also features Harvey Mudd student Alex Hagen ’10 and explores Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.

In the documentary, the various ways that ancient people used the skies and astronomy is discussed,” says Penprase. “My role in the film is to explain some aspects of Chaco Canyon, a huge ceremonial site used by the Anasazi with several astronomically aligned buildings.” Both Penprase and Hagen were on site for the filming.

Penprase notes his and Hagen’s appearance in the U.S. edition of the show is brief, but is longer in the international edition. For more information on the show, which examines “mankind’s first observations of the cosmos to understand how they put us on the path to modern discovery,” visit the National Geographic website.

More information on Chaco Canyon can be found on the Department of Astronomy website.