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A lunar observatory on the island of Cozumel appears to mark the occurrence of the lunar standstill, the varying movement of the moon through the skies.
The Maya were aware of the planets in the solar system—Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter—and tracked their movements.
The sun shines through this hole for most of the summer but is directly overhead on May 15 and July 29.
On these days the sun would directly illuminate an illustration of the sun on the floor, and these days were held importance for Mayan priests.
Many events in Maya life were planned to coincide with certain celestial moments.
For example, a war might be delayed until the gods were in place, or a ruler might ascend to the throne of a Mayan city-state only when a certain planet was visible in the night sky.
Although she was a fearsome goddess, she was also the patroness of childbirth and fertility.
However, the stars shift seasonally and were used by Mayan astronomers to predict when the seasons would come and go, which was critical for agricultural planning.
The tables are also found in the Dresden Codex, a bark-paper book written about the 15th century CE.
Although the Maya calendar was largely based on the ancient Mesoamerican calendar created at least as early as 1500 BCE, Maya calendars were corrected and maintained by specialist astronomical observers.
Mayan astronomers analyzed and predicted the moon’s movements with great accuracy.
As with the sun and planets, Mayan dynasties often claimed to be descended from the moon.
For example, the rise of the Pleiades in the night sky occurs at about the same time that the rains come to the Mayan regions of Central America and southern Mexico.