Yucatan’s winter solstice impacts 6 Maya cities with archaeoastronomical phenomena


On December 21, the Earth will have its maximum inclination, which marks the end of autumn.

MÉRIDA, Yucatán.- The day after tomorrow, in at least six pre-Columbian cities of Yucatan archaeoastronomical phenomena related to the winter solstice, will be appreciated, which will record the longest night of the year, since the Sun will set from 5:22 p.m., he said the Yucatecan astronomer Eddie Ariel Salazar Gamboa.

The academic from the Mérida Technological Institute described that in Yucatán, the change of season will be observed in Chichén Itzá, Dzibilchaltún, Mayapán, Oxkintok, San Antonio Chel, and Uxmal. “This event represented for the Mayans an important cycle from the astronomical, chronological, agricultural, and religious point of view,” he said.

 Dzibichaltún, Yucatán

Salazar Gamboa stressed that Monday 21 will be the shortest day of the year, since the Sun will rise at 6:30 a.m. and will set at 5:22 p.m., so the day will last 10 hours and 52 minutes, and consequently, the night will be longer.

“This same day, the Sun will have its maximum decline towards the South, so for several days it will remain in the same place, from the optical point of view. Later, it will begin to return to the celestial equator, which will be reached on the very day of the spring equinox, when night and day have the same duration ”, he added.

On Monday, December 21, at 4:04 a.m., the Earth will have its maximum inclination, which marks the end of fall and the beginning of winter.

“This event is of great importance since the buildings are aligned in the exact position of the Sun on this date of the year, but few people know it, because it is not disclosed, and therefore, tourism does not come to appreciate it”, said the emeritus professor of the Uady.

He added that thanks to the knowledge embodied in Mayan architecture, archaeoastronomical phenomena are projected that are recorded in structures of various pre-Hispanic cities, with which the priests-astronomers determined the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.

“The solstice, as well as the equinox, are important astronomical events for the diverse cultures of the world, and for the Mayans, it was no exception. However, there is no interest on the part of the Government in promoting the various events that are registered in at least six pre-Hispanic cities of our State, despite the fact that the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Yucatán has already validated its discovery, in Chichén Itzá is not promoted by the state and federal government ”, asserted Eddie Salazar Gamboa.

Solstice Effects

He mentioned that, for example, in Chichén Itzá that day the bisection of the Castle will be recorded, which means that at sunset, the pyramid will practically be divided in half in a play of light and shadow generated by the Sun.

“The South and West side of the temple dedicated to Kukulcán is completely illuminated, while the North and East part will be totally in shadow. The opposite occurs during the summer solstice since the Sun has its maximum declination to the North. An archaeoastronomical event is also observed in the Mayapán pyramid, in whose alfarda a snake of light and shadow crawls, and in the case of ‘El Caracol’, a halo of light filters through ”, he explained.

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He said that other phenomena of light and shadow also occur in the Temple of the Seven Dolls of Dzibilchaltún, in the false Arch of the Ah Canul Group in Oxkintok, in the “Governor’s Palace” and “El Palomar” in Uxmal, as well as in the main structure of San Antonio Chel.

“In all these pre-Columbian cities the causality is remarkable since there are no accidental facts to determine the winter solstice. The Mayans were very precise in the construction of their buildings ”, he concluded.


  • Solstice means “sun stopped”, because the star can no longer get any closer to the south, it is practically in the same place for three days.
Así se vive el impresionante Equinoccio de Otoño en las pirámides mayas •  NeoMexicanismos

Source: sipse.com/novedades-yucatan

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