Come to SEPA in Nashville early for a special presentation on Mayan astronomy by world-renowned archaeoastronomer Dr. Anthony Aveni and the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Aveni will use the new Sudekum Planetarium, GOTO Chiron Hybrid optical star projector seamlessly integrated with Evans and Sutherland Digistar 3, to recreate important aspects of Mayan astronomy.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
8:30 – 10:30 am
Sudekum Planetarium at the Adventure Science Center
Admission to Planetarium professionals is free. You will be able to sign up for this presentation when online registration opens on March 10, 2009.
SKYWATCHERS OF ANCIENT MEXICO
A Lecture by Anthony F. Aveni
Since western man first studied Mayan archaeological and artistic remains about a century ago, we have begun to appreciate that the ancient Maya rulers of Central America were possessed by the study of time, calendar and astronomy. In this lecture, we dwell mainly on the evidence that suggests Maya priest-astronomers carefully watched the planet Venus, clocking its motion to an accuracy of better than 2 hours in 5 centuries—all without the advantage of a technology like our own. What drove them to such precision? What was the observational methodology employed to follow the planet? Why was Venus, above all other celestial objects so important to Maya astronomers? What other celestial bodies were given attention? These questions are discussed in some detail along with an understanding and appreciation of Maya calendar documents, hieroglyphic writing and the role of astronomical orientations in standing Maya architecture.
Anthony F. Aveni is the Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology, serving appointments in both Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Sociology and Anthropology at Colgate University, where he has taught since 1963. Dr. Aveni helped develop the field of archaeoastronomy and now is considered one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy, in particular for his research in the astronomical history of the Maya Indians of ancient Mexico. Dr. Aveni is a lecturer, speaker, and editor/author of over two dozen books on ancient astronomy.