Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2023 March 19
Explanation: To see the feathered serpent descend the Mayan pyramid requires exquisite timing. You must visit El Castillo -- in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula -- near an equinox. Then, during the late afternoon if the sky is clear, the pyramid's own shadows create triangles that merge into the famous illusion of a slithering viper. Also known as the Temple of Kukulkan, the impressive step-pyramid stands 30 meters tall and 55 meters wide at the base. Built up as a series of square terraces by the pre-Columbian civilization between the 9th and 12th century, the structure can be used as a calendar and is noted for astronomical alignments. The featured composite image was captured in 2019 with Jupiter and Saturn straddling the diagonal central band of our Milky Way galaxy. Tomorrow marks another equinox -- not only at Temple of Kukulcán, but all over planet Earth.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC,
NASA Science Activation
& Michigan Tech. U.