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Surprising Science

Ancient Monastery Tracked the Sun

The ancient monastery in Petra, Jordan tracked the sun, helping people tell time and worship their faith, scientists have discovered.  

The Huffington Post explains: 

When the Earth reaches its farthest point from the sun, light from the sun shines into the monastery — which is located in Petra, Jordan — and falls upon the podium of a deity. At the same time, the light casts the shadow of the head of a lion (a sacred animal in Nabatean culture) upon a mountain opposite to the religious center.

The structure in ancient Arabia is just one of several Nabatean temples, palaces and tombs on which scientists conducted a statistical analysis. The Nabateans flourished in what is now Jordan, and surrounding countries, between the 1st century B.C. and 1st century A.D.

The findings were published in the Nexus Network Journal and included a team of researchers from the Canaries Astrophysical Institute, the Spanish National Research Council, and the University of Perugia in Italy. Watch the video above to learn more or head over to The Huffington Post.

Image credit: Shutterstock


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