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Did Extraterrestrials Create the Maya Calendar? (cont.)By Thomas Razzeto

The Maya Needed to Know the Length of the Year to a Very Precise Level

As I mentioned in the very beginning, to intentionally hit the winter solstice of 2012, the Maya needed to know the length of the year to within 45 seconds. Now let's see how easy it is for us to calculate this value. First, let's look at the problem with a simple approximation.

We all know that the length of the year is about 365 and a quarter days. Let's suppose that the Maya almost knew the exact value but that they had a value that was one minute too long. And let's suppose they wanted to know how many days it would be from one winter solstice to another winter solstice ten years later. To get the answer, they would just add the length of the year together ten times and this would make their one-minute error build up to a total error of ten minutes. If they were interested in 100 years, the error would grow to 100 minutes and so forth. Since 2012 was 2,000 years away, this error would grow to 2,000 minutes. Since there are only 1,440 minutes in a day, this means that their total day count would be just over one day too long. So a one-minute error is too much, but only by a little bit.

To calculate a better value for the allowed error per year, we need to take the total allowed error of 1,440 minutes and divide it by 2,000 years. This gives us a value of just under three-quarters of a minute. This is about 45 seconds. When I first did this calculation, I again almost fell out of my chair. It was just mind boggling to me. In fact, it continues to amaze me every time I think about it!

But knowing the length of the year is not the only challenge in creating the calendar. There are two other astronomical problems. When the Maya picked the year 2012 as the year when the sun would be in the middle of the dark rift on the same day as the winter solstice, they also showed that they knew a lot about the wobble of the earth. Let's see how it works.