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Ancient Observatories Timeless Knowledge

Sun-Earth Day Presents: Ancient Observatories, Timeless Knowledge


Build an ancient observatory to predict the position of sunrise on the equinoxes / solstices

Predicting the yearly movement of the sun was very important to ancient civilizations. By building structures oriented with solar positions and observing the changes in the position and movement of the rising and setting sun, people had a calendar that could tell them when to plant and when to harvest their crops as well as predict changes in the length of day and year. Many examples of these structures still exist today throughout the world. Some of these are Stonehenge (England), Newgrange (Ireland), the Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza (Mexico), and the Sun Dagger and Pueblo Bonita at Chaco Canyon (New Mexico). Your goal in this activity is to observe the position of the rising and setting sun throughout the year and erect a structure aligned with the rising and/or setting sun on the days of the equinoxes or summer or winter solstices.


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