The mystery of the perfect alignment of the Pyramids of Giza with the stars

The Pyramids of Giza are perfectly aligned with the movement of the Sun on the Earth’s surface, especially during the equinoxes. They are also seamlessly positioned with the celestial vault.

The Pyramids of Giza are so old that even Cleopatra considered them to be ruins.

Although millennia have passed since their construction, contemporary archaeologists have had a hard time understanding how the ancient Egyptians squared these funerary buildings with the stars.

After decades of searching and research, a team of Harvard scientists cracked the explanation behind this age-old mystery.

Published in 2017, the Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture shows that the Pyramids of Giza achieved perfect alignment thanks to the Sun’s movement over the Earth’s surface and the shadow it leaves in its wake.

Solar accuracy: Why do all pyramids point to Orion?

It is not news that the Pyramids of Giza have an alignment that points towards a specific constellation. Rather, each peak was installed just below the three stars that make up Orion’s belt.

Religiously, the ancient Egyptians thought that this set of stars corresponded to Osiris and Isis, two of the most important gods of their sacred pantheon.

The alignment of the Pyramids of Giza points directly to this constellation so that, upon death, the pharaoh’s soul would arrive directly with Osiris, who conducted the Final Judgment in the other world.

Although this culturally explains why this orientation was chosen, scientists around the world questioned how the ancient Egyptians achieved this astronomical precision without having sophisticated technologies.

Harvard archaeologist, Glen Dash, seems to have found an answer: “Dash came up with another simpler idea,” a statement explains.

His study of the pyramids suggested that, approximately 4,500 years ago, the ancient Egyptians might have used the autumnal equinox to achieve a perfect alignment.

Although all three pyramids have minimal calculation errors, the precision comes specifically from the solar movement.

Specialists explain that, coincidentally, they were drawn from the shadow cast by the Sun during the autumn equinoxes on the Earth’s surface. “The Egyptians, sadly, left us few clues,” Dash laments.

How are the pyramids of Egypt aligned?

4,500 years ago, Egyptian engineers used the autumnal equinox to layout the tombs in which their pharaohs would forever rest.

Therefore, the alignment of the Pyramids of Giza depended on the movement of the Sun through the sky.

Scientists reveal that the equinox is regarded as the time twice a year when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun’s disk, and the length of day and night are roughly equal.

For the investigation, Dash used a method known as the “gnomon rod.” The archaeologist observed the shadow the Sun made using this stick during the autumnal equinox of 2016.

Recording the passage of the stick on the ground, he realized that it cast a shadow at regular intervals. At the end of the day, he got a perfect line from east to west.

It was thus, according to his theory, that the ancient Egyptians determined the alignment of the Pyramids of Giza.

Although Dash’s experiment was conducted in the United States, the astronomical difference in Egypt is nil. Even after millennia, the shadow cast by the Sun on the Earth’s surface during the equinox remains the same.

Source: Andrea Fischer, National Geographic

Night view of the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, GETTY IMAGES