Orion over El Castillo

If you read this, We survived!

Orion over El Castillo. Welcome to the December solstice, with this a day the world does not end… even according to the Mayan Calendar. It’s the new start of the Calendar!

Image © Stephane Guisard, www.astrosurf.com/sguisard       Used with permission



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To celebrate consider this stunning image of Orion rising over El Castillo, the central pyramid at Chichén Itzá, one of the great Mayan centers on the Yucatán peninsula.

Also known as the Temple of Kukulkan it stands 30 meters tall and 55 meters wide at the base. Built up as a series of square terraces by the pre-Columbian civilization between the 9th and 12th century, the structure can be used as a calendar and is noted for astronomical alignments. In fact, the Mayans were accomplished astronomers and mathematicians, accurately using the cyclic motions of the stars, Sun, Moon, and planets to measure time and construct calendars. Peering through clouds in this night skyscape, stars in the modern constellation Orion the Hunter represented a turtle in the Mayan sky.



 

Chichen Itza, from Yucatec Maya, “at the mouth of the well of the Itza”, was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya civilization. The archaeological site is located in the municipality of Tinum, in the Mexican state of Yucatán.

Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the northern Maya lowlands from the Late Classic (c.600–900 AD) through the Terminal Classic (c.800–900) and into the early portion of the Early Postclassic period (c.900–1200). The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the northern Maya lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or even conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion.

Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.

Orion over El CastilloImage © wikipedia



sources APOD,   wikipedia