September 21, 2011
Astronomy Lecture Notes
3. El Caracol: openings in the observatory dome are aligned
4. Mayan bark books: durable books containing listings of historical events, including celestial events
(eg. The “Dresden Codex” contains Mayan dates of the full eclipse cycle and the Venus cycle)
5. 2012: Mayan calendar notation ends on December 21, 2012. This is not based on any astronomical
cycle. Mayan record describe this date as the last date of one calendar cycle, as opposed to the last date
of all time.
-august 3100 BC – Mayans believe this to be their date of creation.
6. Mayan number symbols: visually represent their quantity, making them efficient for addition and
subtraction of large numbers. This allowed the Maya to easily record the number of days between
celestial events and to recognize their-long term patterns.
7. Eclipses: believed by many civilizations to be heralds of bad times, due to the “damaged” appearance
of Sun or Moon. Their longer-term, complex cycle led many