APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

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APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by APOD Robot » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:06 am

Image Orion over El Castillo

Explanation: Welcome to the December solstice, a day the world does not end ... even according to the Mayan Calendar. To celebrate, consider this dramatic picture of Orion rising over El Castillo, the central pyramid at Chichén Itzá, one of the great Mayan centers on the Yucatán peninsula. Also known as the Temple of Kukulkan it stands 30 meters tall and 55 meters wide at the base. Built up as a series of square terraces by the pre-Columbian civilization between the 9th and 12th century, the structure can be used as a calendar and is noted for astronomical alignments. In fact, the Mayans were accomplished astronomers and mathematicians, accurately using the cyclic motions of the stars, Sun, Moon, and planets to measure time and construct calendars. Peering through clouds in this night skyscape, stars in the modern constellation Orion the Hunter represented a turtle in the Mayan sky. Tak sáamal.

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Ann » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:35 am

That's a lovely picture! Please note that even though the world hasn't ended, Orion has suffered a setback at the pinnacle of the pyramid - the pyramid appears to have eaten Saiph, that other foot of Orion!

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Boomer12k » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:43 am

Too bad it looks cloudy, it would have been awesome to have had a totally clear night.

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by starsurfer » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:04 pm

I love the combination of the ancient structure and the ancient light of the stars in the sky! However it is strange to see Orion described as a "modern" constellation, I thought it was one of the original Ptolemaic constellations? Also I don't know where this modern myth that the Mayans said the world would end today came from, they never predicted anything of the sort! I remember reading a book about ancient calendars a long time ago and I think it said that a particular baktun of the Mayan calendar (a specific period of time) ended on this date but then a new one starts the following day. The other thing I find hard to believe is the gullibility of so many people, how could they possibly believe that humans could see the future? Yet some of these people decry the Moon landings as faked! They want to believe in something amazing and fantastical, they choose a myth rather than the truth!

P.S. Ann are you single? :wink: :lol2:

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by zbvhs » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:16 pm

We give the Mayans too much credit. After years of scientific observation and mathematical analysis, the only technology they produced was three calendars. When Europeans beginning with Christopher Columbus came to North America at the end of the fifteenth century, the American Indians were still literally in the Stone Age. They used stone and bone for tools and weapons. They never developed any useful metals technology. The Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages never occurred in the Americas. They never invented the wheel. The horse didn't exist anywhere in the Americas and they had no domesticated animals beyond perhaps dogs. Pigs and deer abounded but they were viewed as game animals and never domesticated. The plains people hunted the American Bison (or buffalo) on foot but never tamed them. They were tied to the land and, if the land failed them (as it did in the thirteenth century), they were in deep trouble. We should not conclude that the American predecessors had any deep spiritual insights or understanding of the universe. They were like us: dependent on their interpretations of the present and guesses at the future. They guessed wrong and the rest is history (as they say).
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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by casus » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:31 pm

Is it possible that there is apparent motion of stars over just one human lifetime???
I ask because it seems, in memory from my childhood (60's , early 70's) that the belt stars of Orion comprised a perfectly straight line. Now it appears that, looking up with his 'head' on top, that there is a slight dip, with the center star just below the line defined by the east and west belt stars. Am I nuts???

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Keyman » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:35 pm

Don't get too smug yet. There's still 15.5 hours of "the last day" to get through. (The Mayans were on Central Standard Time, weren't they?)

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Lordcat Darkstar » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:37 pm

Orion is being devoured by that cloud! Its sign that the world is coming to an end! Quick everyone send me your money so I can spread the message! :mrgreen:
Happy winter solstice everyone! :lol2:

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by neufer » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:42 pm

Image
Keyman wrote:
Don't get too smug yet.

There's still 15.5 hours of "the last day" to get through.

(The Mayans were on Central Standard Time, weren't they?)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day wrote:
<<Ancient custom has a new day start at either
the rising or setting of the Sun on the local horizon.>>
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GJim

Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by GJim » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:47 pm

I think it would have been more interesting to have shot the photo over the 'Observatory' (El Caracol) at Chichen Itza, rather than El Castillo.

Here is a photo that I shot, March 1996, of El Caracol:
http://wyomerc.com/g-jim_photography/?attachment_id=290

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:34 pm

casus wrote:Is it possible that there is apparent motion of stars over just one human lifetime???
I ask because it seems, in memory from my childhood (60's , early 70's) that the belt stars of Orion comprised a perfectly straight line. Now it appears that, looking up with his 'head' on top, that there is a slight dip, with the center star just below the line defined by the east and west belt stars. Am I nuts???
It's your memory that has shifted, not the stars.

While all stars move relative to each other, the positions of the naked eye stars do not change perceptibly over a single lifetime. Indeed, the positions of the stars in Orion don't look visibly different today than they did in star charts from several hundred years ago.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:39 pm

starsurfer wrote:I love the combination of the ancient structure and the ancient light of the stars in the sky! However it is strange to see Orion described as a "modern" constellation, I thought it was one of the original Ptolemaic constellations?
Semantics, maybe? While most of the asterisms we see in the constellations have been recognized for thousands of years, the constellations themselves are a modern invention- 88 regions of the sky mapped out in the 1920s and 1930s. These "modern" constellations were, in many cases, drawn to include the classical asterisms.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by neufer » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:43 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
starsurfer wrote:
I love the combination of the ancient structure and the ancient light of the stars in the sky! However it is strange to see Orion described as a "modern" constellation, I thought it was one of the original Ptolemaic constellations?
Semantics, maybe? While most of the asterisms we see in the constellations have been recognized for thousands of years, the constellations themselves are a modern invention- 88 regions of the sky mapped out in the 1920s and 1930s. These "modern" constellations were, in many cases, drawn to include the classical asterisms.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy wrote:
Claudius Ptolemy (Greek: Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, Klaudios Ptolemaios; Latin: Claudius Ptolemaeus;
c. AD 90 – c. AD 168) was a Greek-Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization wrote:
<<The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period (c. 2000 BC to AD 250), according to the Mesoamerican chronology, many Maya cities reached their highest state of development during the Classic period (c. AD 250 to 900), and continued throughout the Post-Classic period until the arrival of the Spanish.>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_%28mythology%29 wrote: <<Orion (Ancient Greek: Ὠρίων or Ὠαρίων, Latin: Orion) was a giant huntsman in Greek mythology whom Zeus placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion. The constellation is mentioned in Horace's Odes (Ode 3.27.18), Homer's Odyssey (Book 5, line 283) and Iliad, and Virgil's Aeneid (Book 1, line 535).

Although Orion has a few lines in both Homeric poems [c. 750 BC] and in [Hesiod's] Works and Days [c. 700 BC], most of the stories about him are recorded in incidental allusions and in fairly obscure later writings. No great poet standardized the legend. The ancient sources for Orion's legend are mostly notes in the margins of ancient poets (scholia) or compilations by later scholars, the equivalent of modern reference works or encyclopedias; even the legend from Hesiod's Astronomy survives only in one such compilation.

Another narrative on the constellations, three paragraphs long, is from a Latin writer whose brief notes have come down to us under the name of Hyginus [c. 5 AD]. It tells two stories of the death of Orion. The first says that because of his "living joined in too great a friendship" with Oenopion, he boasted to Artemis and Leto that he could kill anything which came from Earth. Earth objected and created the Scorpion. He connects Orion with several constellations, not just Scorpio. Orion chased Pleione, the mother of the Pleiades, for seven years, until Zeus intervened and raised all of them to the stars. In Works and Days, Orion chases the Pleiades themselves. Canis Minor and Canis Major are his dogs, the one in front is called Procyon. They chase Lepus, the hare, although Hyginus says some critics thought this too base a prey for the noble Orion and have him pursuing Taurus, the bull, instead.

The Bible mentions Orion three times, naming it "Kesil" (כסיל, literally - fool).>>
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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by neufer » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:07 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
casus wrote:
Is it possible that there is apparent motion of stars over just one human lifetime???

I ask because it seems, in memory from my childhood (60's , early 70's) that the belt stars of Orion comprised a perfectly straight line. Now it appears that, looking up with his 'head' on top, that there is a slight dip, with the center star just below the line defined by the east and west belt stars. Am I nuts???
It's your memory that has shifted, not the stars.

While all stars move relative to each other, the positions of the naked eye stars do not change perceptibly over a single lifetime. Indeed, the positions of the stars in Orion don't look visibly different today than they did in star charts from several hundred years ago.
Could casus possibly be 150,000 years old (as old as dirt) :?:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_%28constellation%29 wrote:
<<Orion's stars will gradually move away from the constellation due to proper motion. However, Orion's brightest stars all lie at a large distance from the Earth on an astronomical scale—much farther away than Sirius, for example. Orion will still be recognizable long after most of the other constellations—composed of relatively nearby stars—have distorted into new configurations, with the exception of a few of its stars eventually exploding as supernovae, for example Betelgeuse, which is predicted to explode sometime in the next million years.>>
Last edited by neufer on Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Orion over El Castillo

Post by Semyase_SiriusB » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:34 pm

Great Image! Our guide in Chichén Itzá wanted us to remember that he and his people are Maya and are not to be called Mayan.
You never refer to a Hopi as Hopian or Apache as Apachean. In a tribe no member is ever singular or apart from his tribe.
Last edited by Semyase_SiriusB on Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by JoseMac » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:23 pm

Shouldn't that be " Taak saamal"?
;-)

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by neufer » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:42 pm

JoseMac wrote:
Shouldn't that be " Taak saamal"? ;-)
Only if you are from the Netherlands.
  • taak f (plural taken, diminutive taakje): task
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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by jdarley » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:24 pm

Great picture, but I'm confused by the apparent position of the either rising or setting sun and Orion. It appears the photographer is facing east to get Orion over the temple, but if that's the case then the setting sun would be behind the photographer. If it is the setting sun then Orion is in the wrong place as it rises in the eastern winter sky. What am I missing?

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Ann » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:09 pm

casus wrote:Is it possible that there is apparent motion of stars over just one human lifetime???
I ask because it seems, in memory from my childhood (60's , early 70's) that the belt stars of Orion comprised a perfectly straight line. Now it appears that, looking up with his 'head' on top, that there is a slight dip, with the center star just below the line defined by the east and west belt stars. Am I nuts???
Your only chance to possibly detect proper motion in a star with your naked eye is to go outside as soon as possible and locate 61 Cygni, a fifth magnitude star in constellation Cygnus. You can actually see that star without optical aid if you are observing from a very dark site, and the star has a sufficient proper motion that you could, at least theoretically, detect a minute difference in its position if you observe it continuously for, say, fifty years, although a hundred years would be better!

Other stars have an even greater proper motion, for example Barnard's Star, but this is an incredibly faint star that you can't observe without optical aid.

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by Raven » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:58 am

neufer wrote:Canis Minor and Canis Major are his dogs, the one in front is called Procyon. They chase Lepus, the hare, although Hyginus says some critics thought this too base a prey for the noble Orion and have him pursuing Taurus, the bull, instead.
The Mithraic iconography features Mithras killing a bull, surrounded by a dog, a snake, a scorpion, a raven, and other images. Statues of twins holding torches (one upright, one inverted) would stand near the entrance of a Mithraeum. It has been suggested that all these represented constellations, Mithras himself being the one we call Orion.

The Old English rune "Ing" -- ᛝ -- represents a god (Yngvi) and constellation; from the shape of it, guess which constellation.

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Re: APOD: Orion over El Castillo (2012 Dec 21)

Post by neufer » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:58 pm

Raven wrote:
neufer wrote:
Canis Minor and Canis Major are his dogs, the one in front is called Procyon. They chase Lepus, the hare, although Hyginus says some critics thought this too base a prey for the noble Orion and have him pursuing Taurus, the bull, instead.
The Mithraic iconography features Mithras killing a bull, surrounded by a dog, a snake, a scorpion, a raven, and other images. Statues of twins holding torches (one upright, one inverted) would stand near the entrance of a Mithraeum. It has been suggested that all these represented constellations, Mithras himself being the one we call Orion.
"Raven," have you been talking to Mithras lately :?:
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