May 2019 Update: Mayan Astronomy Expedition

A few months ago I was asked if I would be interested in joining a party to Belize to prove a theory on the Mayans and Meteor Showers.

The group comprised of Astronomers David Asher and Miruna Popescu, along with Mayan expert Hutch Kinsman. The idea was to stay overnight at the Caracol site in Belize and observe the Eta Aquariid Meteor shower from the A 3and A6 complex. We were to show that the Meteor shower was seen by the Mayans, and that it was a very important event from the Heavens for them. Hutch was able to read the Hieroglyphs from Caracol showed that the Mayans crowned Kings after certain Meteor Showers. David had calculated Meteor outbursts, at the same time as these Kings came to power.

My role was to photograph the night observations to create an image showing the Caracol Pyramids, and the Radiant of the Meteor Shower from the East over the A6 Complex.

While we did observe meteors for the Las Cuevas Research centre, we were unable to get a permit to stay overnight at the Caracol site. We had located to Aernal where a Mayan temple was still semi covered in vegetation. Unfortunately this was in an area where after Sunset, low lying cloud and fog rolled in on us.

After deciding to change site we spent out last night back in the Mountain Pine Ridge area. While this was after the peak of the Meteor Shower we saw some meteors although only one was caught by the camera.

We may go back again to have another go at this project. There was time to visit Guatemala to see the stunning Tikal site, a huge complex of 4000 buildings and 500 square Kms of Mayan buildings. We even made it to a Live Radio and TV streamed show to explain the project and our interest in the Mayan culture and History.

We want to thank the guides and farmers who helped us out showing us around the sites, and helping us with our late night trips, strange requests and exploits.

Images below are from Tikal, Las Cuevas Research Centre, Love FM Radio / TV, and a Composite photo of Caracol, showing my representation of what the Eta Aquariid Meteor shower would look like from Caracol at night. The Foreground was taken from our daytime visit there. The night sky was taken from 30Km from Caracol, on our last night out observing, and the Meteors were added from the August 2016 Perseid shower I captured from France.

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