Pyramids as Telescopes?

Here is another quite interesting tidbit from Carroll and Ostlie’s textbook, Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. Stone Telescope, indeed!

Because of the long periods of time since construction, care must be given to the proper precession of celestial coordinates if any proposed alignments are to be meaningful. The Great Pyramid at Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world, is an example of such a structure. Believed to have been erected about 2600 B.C., the Great Pyramid has long been the subject of speculation. Although many of the proposals concerning this amazing monument are more than somewhat fanciful, there can be no doubt about its careful orientation with the four cardinal positions, north, south, east, and west. The greatest misalignment of any side from a .true cardinal direction is no more than 51′. Equally astounding is the nearly perfect square formed by its base; no two sides differ in length by more than 20 cm.

Perhaps the most demanding alignments discovered so far are associated with the “air shafts” leading from the King’s Chamber (the main chamber of the pyramid) to the outside. These air shafts seem too poorly designed to circulate fresh air into the tomb of Pharaoh, and it is now thought that they served another function. The Egyptians believed that when their pharaohs died, their souls would travel to the sky to join Osiris, the god of life, death, and rebirth. Osiris was associated with the constellation we now know as Orion. Allowing for over one-sixth of a precession period since the construction of the Great Pyramid, Virginia Trimble has shown that one of the air shafts pointed directly to Orion’s belt. The other air shaft pointed toward Thuban, the star that was then closest to the north celestial pole, the point in the sky about which all else turns. (pp. 15-16)

2 thoughts on “Pyramids as Telescopes?”

  1. Yes I agree I can imagine that they were used as telescopes. Wondering what would we see if we take a telescope what we are using in this century to observe the universe, to one of the pyramids, and what we would see. It could prove it either right or wrong- This telescope theory of the Pyramids.

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