History

Inca Astronomy

Inca Astronomy

Without a doubt, that of the Incas is the most representative empire in South America.

In the Central Andes area, pre-Inca cultures carried out works such as the Nazca Lines, or the Puerta del Sol in Tiahawanaco.

In reality, there is still much to be investigated in this regard and nowadays scientists from different parts of the world have returned to look at America, because without a doubt, despite the looting carried out by the European conquerors, many things can be discovered plus.

The Inca Empire dominated South America for a long time. It is precisely in Cuzco, where many researchers have found documents of Spanish colonizers describing the Temple of the Sun, which radiated forty-one axes called ceques, whose arrangement involved geomantic or astronomical guidelines, which defined the valley in 328 huacas, which They performed ritual and political functions.

The Incas, given the extensiveness of their territory, came to have a fairly advanced knowledge of the celestial vault, which they used for their public and religious activities. We know that the departure of the Pleiades had a special meaning for them, since their first appearance on the eastern horizon was used as a reference for the calendar.

The Incas knew the synodic revolution of the planets, They built a Lunar calendar for religious holidays and a solar calendar for agriculture. They used elements such as cairns around the villages to perform observational astronomy. The Chibchas knew the constellation Orion and recognized the relationship between the heliacal exit of Sirius with the beginning of the rainy season.

They observed the Sun patiently and determined the solstices and the equinoxes. Its calendar (one of those found) consisted of a 365-year solar year, divided into 12 months of 30 days and with 5 days interspersed. It is known that the calendar was determined by observing the sun and the moon. To set the exact dates of the year and months, Pachacútec ordered the construction of 12 towers or pillars located east of the llacta of Cusco, called sucangas.

The night sky of the southern hemisphere is impressive, with a splendid view of the Milky Way and its two satellite galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds. The ancient inhabitants of the Inca Empire saw in those bright spots in the sky, the stars, drawings that grouped and identified as "constellations."

The Incas gave great importance to the constellations and were very interested in measuring the time for agricultural purposes. They had their own constellations, among which the Southern Cross and the Centaur stand out.

The Milky Way was "the great Rio Mayu", a bright stream whose dark areas clearly stood out above the neighboring areas, full of stars. For them the Milky Way was obscured by sacks of coal. Astronomy also played a very important role for the construction of its cities.

◄ PreviousNext ►
Mayan AstronomyAztec Astronomy