All four numbers are multiples of 780, the number of days it takes Mars to return to the same location in the sky, a tally known as the synodic period of Mars.The tallies are also closely related to the position of Venus: all four are whole- or half-number multiples of Venus’s synodic period.These resources can help you explore the connection between astronomy and the arts.
The variation accounts for the calendar's whole-number approximation of a messy decimal number, in much the same way that the modern calendar uses 366-day leap years to keep the months in sync with Earth's orbit around the sun.
The researchers suggest that the Xultun table marks a series of lunar semesters over some 13 years. U., the University of Texas at Austin and Colgate University report their findings in the May 11 issue of .
(And good news: they do not predict the world will end this year—in fact, some of the numbers appear to refer to dates far in the future.) Archaeologists stumbled onto the astronomical tables, inscribed on the walls of a small building, while excavating part of the Xultun ruins, a large, heavily looted archaeological site in northern Guatemala, near its borders with Mexico and Belize.
William Saturno, an archaeologist at Boston University (B.
The number column 13/5/4, then, would equal 4,784 days (13 x 360 5 x 20 4).
The dates of the final two columns, which are the most legible, are separated by 178 days.
The date in the third-to-last column, which is mostly legible, looks to be separated from that in the penultimate column by 177, 178 or 179 days, pointing to a common pattern.
The Maya clustered lunar months into sixes, making lunar "semesters" lasting 177 or 178 days.
Likely a masterpiece clock made for admission into the Augsburg clockmakers’ guild, it meets all the specified technical requirements.
The architectural structure provides an ideal surface for displaying the dials and features.
The presence of lunar glyphs in one of the numerical tables raised the possibility that the table related to astronomy.