Voices from New Mexico's Space History
Voices from New Mexico's Space History
Different quotations from New Mexico space pioneers appear on this page monthly. This is the October 2017 installment.
Different quotations from New Mexico space pioneers appear on this page monthly. This is the October 2017 installment.
 Home
This description of Anasazi astronomy at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, is taken from the March 1985 issue of New Mexico Magazine. In the article, Michael Zeilik wrote about the Native Americans who lived in the pueblo between 850 and 1250 AD.

"Each pueblo had a special religious officer known as a Sun Priest.... From his experience, he knw that the sun swung in a seasonal arc along the horizon, due east at the fall and spring equinoxes, farthest north of east at the summer solstice, and farthest south of east on the winter solstice....

Sun Priests also had to anticipate rituals and have them announced publicly ahead of time. For example, the winter solstice ceremony---the most important of the year---was usually proclaimed eight to 10 days ahead of time. Why the need for anticipation? Pueblo rituals require considerable preparation....

Some corner openings in Bonito [an 800-room great house] served as doorways between rooms, but the two in the second story seem to have another function, for they face the general direction of the winter solstice sunrise....

Sunrise light first penetrates one opening at the end of October.... From the end of October to the winter solstice, the light beam moves horizontally a few inches each day. Markings along the plastered wall could point out to the Sun Priest how many days would elapse until the sacred day."



See previously featured quotes on the following pages:
Voices Archives for the current year
2016 Voices Archives
2015 Voices Archives
2014 Voices Archives
2013 Voices Archives
2012 Voices Archives
2011 Voices Archives


Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.


Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is © Loretta Hall 2010-2017.

This description of Anasazi astronomy at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, is taken from the March 1985 issue of New Mexico Magazine. In the article, Michael Zeilik wrote about the Native Americans who lived in the pueblo between 850 and 1250 AD.

"Each pueblo had a special religious officer known as a Sun Priest.... From his experience, he knw that the sun swung in a seasonal arc along the horizon, due east at the fall and spring equinoxes, farthest north of east at the summer solstice, and farthest south of east on the winter solstice....

Sun Priests also had to anticipate rituals and have them announced publicly ahead of time. For example, the winter solstice ceremony---the most important of the year---was usually proclaimed eight to 10 days ahead of time. Why the need for anticipation? Pueblo rituals require considerable preparation....

Some corner openings in Bonito [an 800-room great house] served as doorways between rooms, but the two in the second story seem to have another function, for they face the general direction of the winter solstice sunrise....

Sunrise light first penetrates one opening at the end of October.... From the end of October to the winter solstice, the light beam moves horizontally a few inches each day. Markings along the plastered wall could point out to the Sun Priest how many days would elapse until the sacred day."





See previously featured quotes on the following pages:
        Voices Archives for the current year
        2016 Voices Archives for quotes posted during 2016
        2015 Voices Archives for quotes posted during 2015
        2014 Voices Archives for quotes posted during 2014
        2013 Voices Archives for quotes posted during 2013
        2012 Voices Archives for quotes posted during 2012
        2011 Voices Archives for quotes posted during 2011


Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.


Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is
© Loretta Hall 2010-2017.

Be notified of
page updates
it's private
powered by
ChangeDetection
For more information about New Mexico's contributions to space exploration, visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History.
Be notified of
page updates
it's private
powered by
ChangeDetection
For more information about New Mexico's contributions to space exploration, visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History.