The latest Hong Kong Space Museum sky show, "Tales of the Maya Skies", which runs from today (November 1) to April 29 next year, will unveil the mysteries of the ancient Maya civilisation and its legends, as well as revealing its remarkable achievements in astronomy and mathematics.
Coming to prominence around 250 BC, the highly developed Maya civilisation reached its peak in the period from AD 250 to 900 and extended throughout much of present-day Yucatan Peninsula and parts of Central America. The Maya people invented a unique system of hieroglyphic writing and developed the concept of zero in calculations 800 years earlier than the Europeans. With an advanced knowledge of mathematics, they built one of the most ancient observatories capable of recording the rising and setting positions of the Sun, the Moon and other celestial bodies. Even before telescopes and fraction calculations were invented, they had already accurately predicted the occurrence of total solar eclipses and created a calendar based on the solar cycle.
The Maya civilisation started to decline in the 8th century, a process that continued following the invasion of the Spanish in the 16th century. Unfortunately much of the Maya legacy was destroyed or lost and their achievements in astronomy and science buried in the forest. It was not until the mid-20th century that archaeologists set foot there in earnest and many historical remains of the Maya were brought to light. The mysterious Maya civilisation and their ancient legends have once again attracted the attention of the world.
The 34-minute sky show "Tales of the Maya Skies" will enable the audience to discover how science, art and myths were interwoven to create the brilliant Maya civilisation which spanned over 2000 years.
The show will be screened at 3.50pm and 7.20pm daily at the Hong Kong Space Museum's Stanley Ho Space Theatre, and there will be an extra screening session at 12.20pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The museum is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Tickets at $24 (front stalls) and $32 (stalls) are available at the Hong Kong Space Museum Box Office and at all URBTIX outlets. Full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 or above and people with disabilities can enjoy a half-price concession.
The Hong Kong Space Museum is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. For further information, please call 2721 0226 or visit the website at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Space/WhatsNew/e_index.htm.
Ends/Thursday, November 1, 2012
Mayan astronomy dates back over two thousand years, and the Maya made accurate observations of Venus. The picture shows the observatory El Caracol, built by the Maya for studying Venus. The orientation of the observatory's grand staircase aligns with Venus's most northerly position in the sky.
A Maya priest and temple depicted in the sky show "Tales of the Maya Skies". The Maya priests were responsible for astronomical observation. One of their extraordinary accomplishments was the accurate prediction of a total solar eclipse which can be seen from the same place, on average, only once in 370 years.