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01/14/2022 – Ephemeris – Mayan civilization and the planet Venus

January 14, 2022 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Friday, January 14th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 10 minutes, setting at 5:27, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:16. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:47 tomorrow morning.

The Mayan people of pre-Columbian Central America were diligent observers of the planet Venus. One of their few surviving records is the Dresden Codex. It counts through a long series of Venus’ 584 day cycles. The location of the Mayan cities are a lot closer to the equator than we are, so when Venus disappears as it moves between the Earth and the Sun as it did last weekend, it only disappeared for 8 days. For us, at our latitude, it can be a few days longer. So we should spot it on clear mornings next week in the southeast by 7:15 to 7:30 am. It will appear as a thin crescent in telescopes or even binoculars. Venus will stay in the morning sky until later this year, which will set it up to be a spectacular evening star next year.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus Cycle

Venus Cycle derived from John P Pratt who had another purpose for the diagram and annotated to include the day number of days in each phase. For my purposes, ignore points 1 and 4. The Mayan cycle starts with 7, the first appearance of Venus during the morning. Points 8 and 5 are the points where Venus is at greatest elongation from the Sun. Credit John P Pratt.

Venus section of the Dresden Codex

Pages of the Dresden Codex, produced by the Maya tracking Venus’ appearances in the skies over the Yucatán, for 104 years. The Dresden Codex is one of only 4 surviving Mayan Codices.

01/10/2022 – Ephemeris – Venus starts a new cycle in the morning sky

January 10, 2022 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, January 10th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 5:22, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:18. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 2:36 tomorrow morning.

Two days ago, Venus passed between the Earth and the Sun in an event called an inferior conjunction. Inferior has nothing to due to quality, but denotes the fact that Venus is passing between the Earth and the Sun. The other Venus conjunction is the superior conjunction when Venus passes the Sun on the far side. We should be able to spot Venus rather suddenly in the late 7 to 8 am hour in a few days. Its appearance seems sudden and is sometimes reported as a UFO. It sometimes surprises airport control tower officials, because it may look like an airplane coming in with its landing lights on. But it never lands. In its morning appearance, Venus is sometimes called the Morning Star or Lucifer.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EST, UT – 5 hours). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The Mayans of pre-Columbian Central America were meticulous observers of Venus, as is seen in one of their surviving books, the Dresden Codex. A Venus Cycle lasts 584 days, from first appearance in the morning sky, its heliacal rising, through its morning appearance, disappearance behind the Sun, through its evening appearance and disappearance on front of the Sun to the next heliacal rising. Astronomers call that it’s synodic period. Five Synodic periods equal almost exactly 8 years.

Venus 9 days after Inferior conjunction

Venus, 9 days after Inferior conjunction, next Monday morning. Venus will be just under 5 degrees above an unobstructed horizon at 7:30 am in northwest lower Michigan. Created using Stellarium.

04/27/2018 – Ephemeris – The Mayan special relationship to Venus

April 27, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Arbor Day, Friday, April 27th. The Sun rises at 6:38. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 8:42. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 6:20 tomorrow morning.

The Mayans of Mesoamerica a thousand years ago diligently observed Venus and discovered Venus’ unique cycles that they used to correct their calendars. The first was the Venus Cycle, the period we’d say that Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun to enter the morning sky to the next time it does it. That was 584 days. Its appearance in the morning sky would last 263 days, Then it would disappear near the Sun, actually behind it for 50 days. It would reappear in the evening sky for another 263 days before again disappearing near the Sun, this time for only 8 days. These are the 4 phases of a Venus cycle. Five of these cycles equals almost exactly 8 years, called a sequence. 13 sequences equal 104 years, a Venus Round.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Venus Cycle

Venus Cycle derived from John P Pratt who has another purpose for the diagram and annotated by me to include the number of days in each phase. For my purposes ignore points 1 and 4. The Mayan cycle starts with 7, the first appearance of Venus during the morning. Points 8 and 5 are the points where Venus is at greatest elongation from the Sun. Credit John P Pratt.