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Astronomy on the Yucatan peninsula

Listed under Astronomy in Mexico.

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  • Photo of Astronomy on the Yucatan peninsula
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The Yucatan coast of Mexico, home of the ancient Mayan culture, is a must-see destination for anyone interested in both amateur astronomy and the history of its relevance in human societies.

As well as excellent stargazing conditions and clear, dark skies the ruins of the Yucatan peninsula are a monument to the Mayan relationship with celestial bodies, in particular the Sun.

The very best time to visit the Yucatan peninsula is of course at either the spring or autumn equinox when the Mayan ruins really come alive: at Chichen-Itza the equinox marks what is known as the descent of the Sun Serpent where a snake of sunlight appears to wind its way down the northern face of the temple and at Dzibilchaltun a similar phenomenon occurs when in both cases the sun's path directly lines up with the internal structure of the ancient buildings.

Both of these sites, set as they are amid the beautiful ruins of Mayan architecture, provide an awe-inspiring glimpse of the ages long link between celestial objects and mythology and there are tours in place that offer the combination of trekking among the ruins and sampling the wonders of the modern Mexican skies.

Written by  Anna Dejardin.

Other expert and press reviews

“Deep Inside the Yucatan”

Cenote Dzitnup, an immense vaulted cavern in the middle of the Yucatán Peninsula, is a strange and otherworldly tourist trap, filled with deep, clear water, flanked with roots, vines and giant stalactites pointing down over an inky abyss. Buses stop the… Read more...

Written by press. New York Times 23 Feb 2007

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