For example, when they saw a full moon in a certain position against the background stars, they knew that the sun was in the exact opposite position of the zodiac. This is just simple geometry. An eclipse of the full moon is a special case of this geometry. During an eclipse, the shadow of the earth falls on the moon; otherwise the shadow goes just above or just below the moon leaving it free to shine brightly. Since the Maya understood this, they could use these events and their star maps to determine where the sun was in relation to the background stars on the days when there was a full moon.
Once they had these star maps, the Maya could put them to use as follows. Just before dawn, they would take note of the last visible constellation nearest the rising sun before the brightness of the sun made it fade away from view. Later that day, just after sunset, the Maya would take note of the first visible constellation nearest the setting sun. They would then know that the sun was approximately in the middle of these two constellations. But that was just a start. The Maya also used other observations to learn the position of the sun with much greater precision.
And, above all others, we should protect and hold sacred those types, Nature’s masterpieces, which are first singled out for destruction on account of their size, or splendor, or rarity, and that false detestable glory which is accorded to their most successful slayers. In ancient times the spirit of life shone brightest in these; and when others that shared the earth with them were taken by death they were left, being more worthy of perpetuation. Like immortal flowers they have drifted down to us on the ocean of time, and their strangeness and beauty bring to our imaginations a dream and a picture of that unknown world, immeasurably far removed, where man was not: and when they perish, something of gladness goes out from nature, and the sunshine loses something of its brightness.
Many Americans—even its youngest citizens—sensed this immediately. As three Brooklyn children wrote to the President just three days after he signed the Emancipation Proclamation: "You have added glory to the sky & splendor to the sun, & there are but few men who have ever done that before, either by words or acts... . O! dear Uncle Abe, only see the Proclamation carried out & how brightly will the name of Abraham Lincoln shine through all times & ages." History has largely confirmed their prediction.
Similarly to wind power, solar power is contingent upon the weather and the amount of sunshine present in a specific location. This means that geographical areas lacking in sunlight, or areas that frequently experience cloudy weather, may have difficulty utilizing solar power effectively.
Initially, the Maya created a map of the stars that they saw at night. Each night they saw a little bit more of the star map in one direction and a little bit less in the other direction, and after a while, they had a complete map. (Given good viewing conditions and a fairly low horizon, this only takes a few months to do. This is because at any given moment, you can see about half the sky. Since you can start viewing the stars just after sunset and continue until just before sunrise, you can see about three-quarters of the star map each night. So in just a few months, you will fill in the missing piece.) Incidentally, I have heard that they used reflecting ponds to help them with this. The image of the night sky, which was seen as a reflection in the pond, was measured with ropes. In this way, angles, relative size and distance were reproduced very precisely. The Maya refined their star maps over many years to the point where they were very accurate.
While the sun seems to move smoothly and continuously against the background stars, as seen from earth, this apparent motion is actually caused by the motion of the earth as it orbits around the sun. The earth's orbit around the sun always stays in the same plane. In other words, the earth does not bob up and down as it goes around the sun. Because of this, the background stars that seem to pass behind the sun are exactly the same year after year. By the way, the band of stars that lie behind the apparent path of the sun is called the zodiac. (The band of stars that make up the zodiac should not be confused with the band of stars made by our Milky Way galaxy. Note: these two bands cross in the sky and this crossing is often referred to as the sacred cross or the sacred tree by ancient cultures all around the world.)
As we just learned, the stars in the night sky repeat themselves year after year. But astronomers actually talk about two different types of years. We all know these two types of years but most of us just don't consciously consider the difference. We all know that it is a year when we go from the moment of the winter solstice to the next moment of the winter solstice. This is called a solar year and it is determined by the relationship between the sun and the angle of the axis of the earth. But we also know that it is a year when the earth completes its orbit around the sun. This is known as a sidereal year and it is determined by the sun's position against the background stars. A sidereal year is about twenty minutes longer than a solar year and this difference is caused by precession. The Maya tracked precession and both types of years very carefully.
The 25 creative college essay prompts listed above should give you a starting point to write your own personal statement. The personal statement is used by most colleges to help them evaluate the type of person you are, which can help differentiate yourself from other applicants who have similar academic backgrounds to yours. By considering the 25 creative college essay prompts above, you can be more prepared to write an engaging personal statement that will let your personality shine through and will help you to be accepted into the college of your choice.
Let the sunshine in! Interested in solar power for your home? There are a number of resources, projects, and products available online for families interested in going solar. To get the best bang for your buck, be sure to conduct thorough research before beginning any new effort.