Chankillo

We are told that sun rises in east and sets in west. But actually it is true only for two days in a year. All other days sun either rises towards north-east or south-east. In Northern Hemisphere when sun rises farthest to northeast it’s called Summer-Solstice (21st June). And similarly Winter-Solstice (21stDecember) happens when sun rises as farthest to the southeast. And those two days when sun really rises from east and sets in west are called equinoxes. This happens on 21st March and 23rd September.

Equinox-The-Sun-from-Solstice-to-Solstice-space-32280503-1080-1024

Few days ago while watching Brian Cox’s “wonders of the universe”, I saw a magnificent architecture built by our ancestors named Chankillo. Some 2300 years ago they built 13 similar pillars equidistant to each other in Peru (South America). I found it really amazing, since using it as a solar calendar they could tell including some errors what date it was.

Chankillo is in Southern hemisphere so on the June solstice the sun would rise behind the left pillar and then on December solstice sunrise occurred over the last pillar on right. And on the equinox sunrise occurred in the space between the pillars 6 and 7.

Now the sunrise position at the solstice has shifted to the right approximately 0.3° from year 300 BC.

fig_5-7-small-1
UNESCO Astronomy and World Heritage Web portal http://www2.astronomicalheritage.net/index.php/show-entity?identity=51&idsubentity=1

It will be an awesome experience to stand there and watch the sun rising.

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