Mayan dating system

For example, the rise of the Pleiades in the night sky occurs at about the same time that the rains come to the Mayan regions of Central America and southern Mexico.The stars, therefore, were of more practical use than many other aspects of Mayan astronomy.The Maya were expert at predicting solar phenomena such as eclipses, solstices, and equinoxes, as well as determining when the sun reached its apex.The moon was nearly as important as the sun to the ancient Maya.

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Kinich Ahau would shine in the sky all day before transforming himself into a jaguar at night to pass through Xibalba, the Mayan underworld.The sun shines through this hole for most of the summer but is directly overhead on May 15 and July 29.On these days the sun would directly illuminate an illustration of the sun on the floor, and these days were held importance for Mayan priests.The Maya painstakingly recorded the movements of Venus and determined that its year, relative to Earth, not the sun, was 584 days long, closely approximating the 583.92 days that modern science has determined.Like the planets, the stars move across the heavens, but unlike the planets, they stay in position relative to one another.

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