Ancient Observatory Used to Predict the Harvest, Death and War

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Astronomy was incredibly important to the ancient Maya. In particular, they tracked the movements of planet Venus, the sun, and the moon.

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El Caracol, the Observatory, is a unique structure at pre-Columbian Maya civilization site of Chichen Itza.

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El Caracol, which means ‘snail’ in Spanish, is so named due to the spiral staircase inside the tower.

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Mayan astronomers knew from naked-eye observations that Venus appeared on the western and disappeared on the eastern horizons at different times in the year, and that it took 584 days to complete one cycle.

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They also knew that five of these Venus cycles equaled eight solar years. Venus would therefore make an appearance at the northerly and southerly extremes at eight-year intervals.

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According to the Manuscript of Serna, a missionary report from central Mexico, the natives “adored and made more sacrifices” to Venus than any other “celestial or terrestrial creatures” apart from the sun.

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SOURCEwikipedia
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