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  • Writer's pictureViaje del Pirata

The Mayans and the "Broken Sun".

On Monday, April 8, an astronomical phenomenon occurred: a total solar eclipse that lasted 4 minutes and 20 seconds. This occurs when the Moon is located between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on the latter that totally or partially blocks the Sun's light in some areas of our planet.


Eclipses have been documented throughout history by different civilizations, perhaps the Mayans are the ones who have provided the most information about this astronomical phenomenon. A good example of this is what is known as the Dresden Codex , which contains astronomical tables with which the Mayans could calculate the phases of the Moon and the planet Venus. But how could they predict eclipses with the means at their disposal?



A total solar eclipse only occurs when there is a new Moon. Starting from this basis, the priestly elites and Mayan rulers used a complex system to count the lunar months associated with the dates noted in the so-called "long count" of the Mayan calendar to precisely calculate solar eclipses, to which They called Pa'al K'in , that is, "Broken Sun."


Due to its almost magical nature, the prediction of these astronomical phenomena became a fundamental tool for the control of the population by the elites. In reality, it was a way to protect themselves against the discomfort generated by the feared solar eclipses among the population, which, terrified, stopped all their activities and made all kinds of noises to distance the Moon from the Sun, its source of life.



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