THE MAYA & SOLAR ECLIPSES

By Santiago Casal
Curator, Cesar Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar at Cesar Chavez Park
The ancient Maya were the most advanced astronomers of their time. Although modern experts believe eclipses were terrifying for ancient peoples, this was not true for the Maya. With their sophisticated knowledge of astronomy, the Maya understood the movements of celestial bodies and how the moon moving between the sun and earth caused a brief blacking out of sunlight. They called it “chi’ ibal kin,” translated as “to eat the sun.” And it was an awesome community experience. (see attached)
Pleased that NASA selected a Latina and African American to host the live national broadcast. Fascinating to see the phenomenon ripple across the country. Amazing that though the sun here in Berkeley was 75% eclipsed, the sky was only slightly darkened. Unfortunately, there was fog. On to Chile or Argentina in 2019. NOVA Special tonight at 9pm on PBS.
 
 
 
 
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