Venus, Planets, and Stars - Deepstash

Venus, Planets, and Stars

  • The Maya knew about Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter and tracked their movements. They determined that a year of Venus relative to Earth was 584 days long. Modern science determined it at 583.92 days.
  • Venus was associated with war. The Maya arranged battles to coincide with the movements of Venus.
  • The stars were less significant to the Maya. They used the stars to predict when seasons would come and go.

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MORE IDEAS FROM How Does Ancient Mayan Astronomy Portray the Sun, Moon and Planets?

The Mayan sun god was Kinich Ahau, one of the creator gods more powerful than the Mayan pantheon. During the day, Kinich Ahau would shine in the sky, and at night, transform himself into a jaguar and pass through the underworld.

The moon was associated with a maiden, an old woman, and a rabbit. The powerful Maya moon goddess Ix Chel fought with the sun and made him go to the underworld every night. Ix Ch’up was another moon goddess, young and beautiful.

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The ancient Maya were devoted astronomers

The Maya believed they could use the stars, moon, and planets to know the will of the gods.

In the early 9th century CE, the Maya day keepers created astronomical tables that tracked the course of the celestial bodies. The tables are found on the walls of a unique structure at Xultun, Guatemala and in the Dresden Codex, a bark-paper book.

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The Maya believed the Earth was fixed and central and that the sun, moon, stars and planets were gods that travelled between the Earth, the underworld and other celestial places.

They believed the gods were closely involved with humans and therefore planned their movements to coincide with certain celestial moments. The Maya were experts in predicting eclipses, solstices, and equinoxes.

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Mayan buildings were often laid out in accordance with astronomy. Temples and pyramids were designed so that the sun, moon, stars, and planets would be visible from the top or through specific windows at certain times of the year.

The Mayan calendar was associated with astronomy. The Maya used two calendars: The Long Count calendar was divided into a solar year as a base, and the Calendar Round consisted of two calendars - a 365-day solar year and a 260-day Tzolkin cycle.

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The Maya civilisation
  • The Maya refer to modern people and to their ancestors who built an ancient civilisation in Central America.
  • The Maya civilisation reached its peak during the first millennium A.D. It consisted of many small states that were ruled by kings.
  • The Maya people live on today in Central America and throughout the world. They speak many languages including Mayan languages (Yucatec, Quiche, Kekchi and Mopan), Spanish and English.

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Pioneer

Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 were launched in 1972 and 1973. They were the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter and Saturn in a one-way voyage.

  • Pioneer 10 traveled through the solar system's asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
  • A year-and-a-half after it's launch, it made the first flyby of the planet Jupiter and took up-close photos of the Great Red Spot.
  • A year later, Pioneer 11 flew by Jupiter, then toward Saturn, where it discovered a couple of small moons around the planet and a new ring.

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Where the names of the planets came from

Sumerian astronomers named the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn after their gods. Ancient China named planets after things of nature, like water, fire, or wood. The English names for planets came from the Romans, who named them after their gods and goddesses.

More distant planets were generally titled by the people who found them. They continue with historical trends by naming planets after ancient Greek and Roman gods.

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