Sun Directly Overhead Tomorrow

May 22, 2019
Tomorrow is pretty special in Yucatan.

and July 21, 2019 too…

The sun finally sits directly overhead at solar-noon here … just twice a year.**

Go outside at solar noon tomorrow (12:55 PM + 13 sec) … and notice that our  Solar Noon sun casts NO SHADOW for vertical telephone poles etc…

Today or tomorrow?    It depends on your latitude in Yucatan.   I quote data for Merida.


and yes …  One Maya city kept a calendar this way – by having a deep hand-dug well with perfectly perpendicular walls … and the bottom of the well was illuminated just twice a year … around May 22 … and July 23 …

“around” ??  …  The actual dates, like the March & Sept Equinox dates,  for our special sun overhead at Solar Noon date changes every because of the Leap Year issue … where our calendar year is off by 1 day every 4 years.    (The length of a Solar year is not 365 days … It’s 365.2422 days.)

This 1 day error every 4 years is why the Maya Calendars get a full month off from the sun’s actual positions every 125 years    …    😉

¡Viva Yucatán!

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .

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7 Responses to Sun Directly Overhead Tomorrow

  1. Eric Chaffee says:

    Love that details, Steve, about the vertical wells to prove the azimuth of Sol, (or Sun, in English). ¿What did the ancient pre-Columbian Mayas call it?.

    • yucalandia says:

      Great question.

      I’ll have to ask my Maya-Calendar friend about the actual citation in Maya glyphs … They tended to just factually simply describe things “Jaguar Paw held a Fire Ceremony on the (Calendar Round or Long Count) Date of _____ ”

      … It took so many glyphs just to carve-write dates, that they would cite just one date & one person & one simple action~deed … and then carve~write “and 2,352 days later ___ blah, blah, blah

      Even significant dates, like “4-Ajau 8-Kumku” were uniformly agreed upon & easily recognized … so even dates like the “Beginning of Time” … “Beginning of Creation4-Ajau 8-Kumk’u were not described in the stone-carved writings … because it took so many glyphs to carve … “The Beginning of Creation” in stone glyphs.

      This means that the glyphs we see on stelae & buildings & step-faces are not the modern flowery long-winded propaganda proclamations of today … Carved stone glyph messages were pretty terse.

      NOW … If we had copies of some of the Maya libraries … some of the Maya books (Codices) that crazy Christians burned in fires that lasted 3 days & nights … the Christian Nazis of their times …

      If we had those books … those books (easily written in ink vs stone) had the flowery names & elaborate colorful descriptions… with pictures !!


  2. eric chaffee says:

    Here we encounter the difference between glyphs and alphabets. (An alphabet has fewer than 30 characters, while glyphs are pictographic and “legion”.) The Mayans were brilliant astronomers, but like many other cultures, they hadn’t streamlined written records (yet). The Spaniards arrived with their “inquisition” and tortured the locals in a manner not unlike the Soviets (or the Americans on Guantanamo) and destroyed a precious cultural artifact of science and religion. (Thank you, Bishop de Landa, for the purity of your “Christianity”.) How sad that the teachings of one who instructed us to love and respect our neighbors had been so completely perverted that we enslaved them in order to save them. ¶ Maybe lunch Wednesday, Steve? (I’m installing a tin roof over a neighbor’s head, until then.)

  3. eric chaffee says:

    On the question of the Mayan name for Sun, Sol : — our gardener, Victor, is Mayan, and grew up in a local pueblo. He’s educated, having a teaching degree in special ed. I asked him if he new the name. He thought for a minute, and told me he has heard it, but is not sure how to spell it in Yucateco. The name he pronounced sounds much like the English word keen. He thinks there might be an apostrophe between those two e’s, but i heard no glottal stop when he pronounced the name.

  4. Didn’t know that happened in the Yucatan!

    • yucalandia says:

      It happens … twice a year … at every location on Earth that’s in the “Tropics” … aka between the two Tropics.

      If you are between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, then by definition, the sun is directly overhead at solar noon, on 2 days of the year.

      Science is fun that way,

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