Archive for August, 2011

I have recently received communication from one of the authors of the paper ‘Correlation between the Mayan calendar and ours: Astronomy helps to answer why the most popular correlation (GMT) is wrong’, by J. Klokocˇn’ık, J. Kostelecky’, V. Böhm, B. Böhm, J. Vondra’k, and F. V’ıtek, published in Astronomische Nachrichten (2008). The proposal was to run my correlation with a list of dates obtained from the Dresden Codex. I have proceeded in doing so, as well as including relevant astronomical events according to the program Starry Night (MEADE). The results speak for themselves (Table 1, below). The most astonishing event is that occurred on 28th December 370, when Comet Levy pointed right down to Earth while in close proximity with the Moon.

    The Levy Comet was registered by Maya AstronomersFig. 1. Levy Comet in close proximity to the Moon on Long Count date 1 272 544, when the Böhm’s correlation finds a heliacal setting for Jupiter.

I am still waiting for my complete manuscript to be published, so in the meantime this is what I can say: my correlation is the correct one. The Böhm’s (622 261) correlation (1996, 1999, cited by Klokocˇn´ık et al., 2008) is lacking something absolutely fundamental: agreement with the ending of 13 Ajaw K’atun at the time the Spaniards arrived (Kelley’s criterion number 4 –Kelley 1976). This calendric concordance is key, because there is a clear reference to the exact date for a Tun ending on 13 Ajaw, which Morley (1920, cited by Thompson 1935:59) clearly showed must correspond to the ending of that 13 Ajaw K’atun, on the same 13 Ajaw 8 Xul annotated on page 66 of the Oxkutzkab manuscript. Thompson (1935:59) analyzed the colonial records and concluded that the ending of 13 Ajaw K’atun must have happened between mid November 1538 and mid November 1539, Julian date. In my correlation, the 13 Ajaw 8 Xul date registered in p.66 Oxkutzkab occured on 19th November 1539.

In contrast, the Böhm’s correlation is 104 years ahead of GMT, making it impossible for a given colonial date as important as that of p.66 of Oxkutzkab Chronicle, to fall in place. 

Finally, a historical reference which any correlation must agree with –although not mentioned by Kelley–, is one “which clearly has not been tampered with or altered by copyists (…) a Katun 3 Ahau was running its course when Fathers Orbita and Fuensalida reached Tayasal late in October of 1618”. Thompson (1935:59) added: “the fathers reached Tipu on their return from Tayasal five days after leaving the lake. Their arrival at Tipu was at the beginning of November, so the memorable conversation must have taken place near the end of October”. Precisely so, it was during that conversation that they were told that the K’atun 3 Ajaw had just commenced. With the correlation proposed in this paper, the beginning of K’atun 3 Ajaw (starting on 5 Ajaw 13 Sotz’ and ending on 3 Ajaw 18 K’ayab) was on 25th October, 1618 and it ended on 17th July, 1638. The correlation proposed by Thompson (1935), suggested the K’atun 3 Ajaw began on 20th September, 1618, which is evidently far earlier than the date (one near the end of October 1618) that he himself suggested based on common-sense and colonial data.

The main point that I am making is that any correlation proposed until now stands on the false premise that the Long Count is an expression of days counted along linear time, just as the Julian Day numbering system does. Such linearity obliges four quarter-days to become accumulated after four years, needing the inclusion of a bissextile day that must be counted. In contrast, my finding is that the Long Count system involves oriented Haabs according the orientation provided by the year-bearer, thus by implicitly including a quarter of a day by the turn of each year, the Haabs represent tropical years, so the mathematical form of a tropical year is 365, and not 365.2422.

With the epigraphic and ethnographic evidence I have found, the days contained in the Long Count system are in fact days determined by a Haab which represents a tropical year and whose numerical value (in corresponding oriented days) is 365.

For this reason, any Long Count inscribed in a stela or written on a Codex or on any other material, must be transformed into tropical years as follows:

  1. First, sum up the total number of oriented days expressed in Bak’tun (multiples of 144000), K’atun (x7200), Tun (x360), Winal (x20) and K’in (x1)
  2. Second, divide the total sum of oriented days by 365
  3. Third, mathematically understand that the result is immediately expressed as tropical years

This is of course anchored to the zero point date, which for a number proved astronomical and epigraphic reasons, is: 27th July -3116.

I now present Table 1 with the results of all LC dates integrated by Klokocˇn´ık et al.(2008), and correlated with the system I propose.

Table 1. Long Count dates correlated with two proposals and astronomical events

Page on Dresden Codex Long Count Phenomenon according to J. Klokocˇn´ık et al. Gregorian dates Phenomenon according to Correlation 583 172+LC(365)
D 24–29 1 366 560 full Moon 27 July 628 Conjunction Jupiter-Mercury
    Mercury west elong.    
  1 364 360 Venus heliacal rising 17 July 622 Conjunction

Mercury-Regulus-Venus (Saturn close-by)

    new Moon    
  1 397 640 Venus heliacal rising 20 September


Venus-Jupiter conjunction
  1 433 260 Venus heliacal rising 23 April 811 Mercury-Pleiades conjunction
    Mercury east elong    
  1 373 460 conjunct. Mercury–Venus–Jupiter 22 June 647 Saturn-Mercury conjunction
D 30–37 1 412 848 Solar eclipse 21 May 755 Jupiter and Mercury announcing eclipses; 12 Lamat day to anchor Eclipse intervals; new Moon.
  1 412 863 full Moon 5 June 755 Partial Moon eclipse
  1 412 878 new Moon 20 June 755 Annular solar eclipse
  1 412 893 full Moon 5 July 755 Full Moon on ecliptic
  1 412 908   20 July 755 Mars-Sun conjunction
  1 419 257 Solar eclipse 11 Dec 772 Saturn, Mars and Jupiter aligned in east, 9 days before partial Moon eclipse and 24 days before partial solar eclipse in 8 Kimi (death)
  1 420 290 Solar eclipse 10 Oct 775 heliacal setting Venus in east, heliacal setting of Saturn in west, 24 days before partial solar eclipse
  1 420 822 Solar eclipse 26 March 777 Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mars aligned in East, 21 days before partial solar eclipse
  1 421 855 Solar eclipse 23 January    780 Venus-Saturn conjunction; 7 days before Moon eclipse in conjunction with Mars; 21 days before partial solar eclipse
  1 424 808 Solar eclipse 25 Feb 788 Heliacal setting of Saturn in West, Pleiades in conjunction with Moon and 8 days before Moon eclipse and 21 days before Sun eclipse
D 37–38 1 426 360 conjunction Venus–Mars 28 May 792 Moon eclipsing Saturn, 3 days before partial solar eclipse
  1 426 109 conjunction Venus–Mars 19 Sept 791 Last visibility of Venus in east and last visibility of Mars in west
  1 386 580 conjunction Venus–Mars 2 Jun 683 Moon in conjunction with Jupiter
  1 386 069 maximum angle distance of Mars and Jupiter between two conjunctions 7 Jan 682 Conjunction Moon-Saturn
D 40–43 1 272 921 Jupiter heliacal rising 9 Jan 372 Total Moon Eclipse; Saturn in conjunction with Sun; Jupiter, heliacal rising
    Moon eclipse    
    Saturn heliacal rising    
    autumn equinox    
  1 272 465 Mercury 10 Oct 370


2 days before Moon, Jupiter and Mars in triad
    summer solstice west elong    
  1 272 544 Jupiter heliacal setting 28 Dec 370 Comet Levy in conjunction with Moon; Venus and Jupiter aligned in east; Saturn, conjunction with Sun; Mercury-Mars aligned in west
    Saturn heliacal rising    
  1 272 423 Mercury east elong 29 Aug 370 Pleiades in conjunction with Moon
  1 234 220 Jupiter heliacal setting 29 Dec 265 Jupiter, Venus and Mercury in triad in west; first visibility of Moon
  1 268 540 Jupiter heliacal setting 8 Jan 360 Venus close to Jupiter, Mercury aligned;
  1 268 523 Mercury west elong. 22 Dec 359 Venus close to Mercury in east, Jupiter in last visibility in west
  1 499 004 Mercury west elong. 6 Jun 991 Moon-Mars in west at dawn
  1 538 342 Saturn heliacal rising 16 mar 1099 Venus, Jupiter, Pleiades in triad in west
  1 486 923 Saturn heliacal rising 1 May 958 Last visibility of Mars in west, aligned with Venus and Jupiter
D 48–52 1 394 120 Venus heliacal setting 28 Jan 704 Last visibility of Mercury in west, aligned with Venus and Mars
  1 393 514 Mercury east elong. 1 Jun 702 Moon in conjunction with Saturn
  1 437 020 Mercury near west elong 11 Aug 821 Last visibility of Mars on west, first visibility of Moon, Max. elongation of morning Venus
  1 435 374 Mercury heliacal rising (?) 6 Feb 817 Jupiter in opposition with Saturn in morning, Moon close to Pleiades, prediction of next Saturn in first heliacal rising in conjunction with Moon
  1 567 332 Mercury east elong. yes 18 Aug 1178 Last visibility of morning Venus, Moon close to Pleiades, prediction of Solar eclipse occurring one month later, with Venus in first heliacal rising in conjunction with Moon
  1 520 654 Mercury heliacal rising 29 Sep 1050 Partial solar eclipse, with Venus and Mercury in proximity
  1 201 200 Mercury west elong. 12 Jul 175 Venus-Jupiter in east
  1 201 114 Mercury heliacal setting 12 Jan 178 Venus and Mercury close in west
  1 274 240 Mercury heliacal setting 21 Aug 375 Mercury, heliacal rising in west
  1 274 052 Mercury near east elong. 14 Feb 375 Jupiter and Venus in close proximity; Venus, max. elongation in west; Mars in proximity with new Maya Moon*
  1 541 852 Venus heliacal setting 27 Oct 1108 Mercury, heliacal setting in east, Jupiter-Moon conjunction
    Mercury heliacal setting    
  1 407 554 Venus heliacal setting 18 Nov 740 Mercury, heliacal rising in west aligned with Venus also rising
    Mercury heliacal setting    
  1 330 732 Mercury heliacal rising 30 May 530 Heliacal setting of Saturn and of Venus, both in conjunction
D 72–73 1 435 980 Mars shortly after oppos. with Sun 5 Oct 818 Venus, Mercury, Jupiter in triad disposition in east
D 74 1 278 390 max angle distance of Jupiter and Saturn between two conjunctions 3 Jan 387  
  1 307 510 max angle distance of Jupiter and Saturn between two conjunctions 15 Oct 466 Pleiades in conjunction with Moon
Temple cities        
Copan 1 415 637 summer solstice date 10 Jan 763 Full Moon-Mars announcing next Solar eclipse with Venus and Mercury in heliacal setting
Yaxchilan 1 407 601 summer solstice 4 Jan 741 5 days before Venus-Jupiter conjunction; 13 days after 22nd  Dec solstice
Quirigua 1 401 577 winter solstice


4 July 724 13 days after 22nd June solstice; new Maya Moon*, in opposition with Saturn
Piedras Negras 1 379 662 winter solstice


19 June 664 Summer solstice; full Moon close to Saturn

 *The term ‘new Maya Moon’ refers to the first visibility of the Moon in the west.

Note: Julian dates can be obtained with the following equation:                                X = year x 10 /1582, where X = days to subtract from the Gregorian date.


In pages D30-37, while there is absolute match in the second and third Dresden opening dates of the Eclipse Table.

 The Levy event is of course, spectacular, and I wonder if there is a particular glyph that could be suspiciously be making reference to such a happening.

A lot more can be analysed from the results obtained, but I hope this is sufficient to begin an interesting discussion.



Kelley, D.H., 1976.  Deciphering the Maya Script. Austin and London: University of Texas Press.

 Klokocˇn’ık J., J. Kostelecky’, V. Böhm, B. Böhm, J. Vondra’k, and F. V’ıtek (2008) “Astronomy helps to answer why the most popular correlation (GMT) is wrong”. Astronomische Nachrichten (2008). Astron. Nachr. / AN 329, No. 4, 426–436 (2008) / DOI 10.1002/asna.200710892.

Thompson, E., 1935  “Maya Chronology: the Correlation Question”. Contributions to American Archaeology, Vol. 14, pp. 53-104.

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