At Midnight, Guatemala Time, the full moon was showed signs of change: what had been a brilliant white sphere since the moon first appeared over the wooded mountains surrounding Antigua, slowly began to take on a tinge of reddish orange along one side. The earth’s shadow, created by the sun shining on the other side of the globe began to inch across the lunar surface. By 2am, the moon was no longer overhead had begun its slow descent toward the west. The streets and yards of Antigua were no longer brightly lit, except by the occasional streetlights. The moon was an orangeish-brown color, almost like a badly dimpled soccer ball. According to whom one believes this was the first lunar eclipse occurring on the same day as the winter solstice, December 21st, and the last occurred either 372 years ago or 456 years ago.
The Western world has always had a problem with their calendars: from the days of the roman emperor, Julian to the times of the Gregorian monks, days, months and years have been artificially manipulated for religious reasons. The only correct date keeping had to do with the days of the longest or shortest durations, the winter or the summer solstice.
Not so with some of the earliest inhabitants of Guatemala, the Mayans. Using simple observatories and basic tools they were able to create a sophisticated and incredibly accurate calendar, moving backwards and forwards. Done so for agricultural and religious reasons, their calendar was the first and most accurate yet to be found. To this end, elements of time units were devised, along with observations such as the day of August 13th being the day that the sun was directly overhead and using a 260 day calendar for agricultural purposes, working around the traditional dry and wet seasons.
More recently predictions based on the Julian and or Gregorian calendars have warned of possibly cataclysmic events based upon the end of a Maya time unit that changes on December 21, 2012. The Maya make no predictions for such changes, except to note that on that day (or another) the sun, the earth and the moon are in alignment with the galactic center of the universe, around which the Mayan calendar is based. Recently astrologers have begun to state that this year, 2010, is actually the date in question. The unusual alignment of a full lunar eclipse, the earth and the sun in alignment with the galactic center on the winter solstice are too coincidental, some say. Further investigations reveal nothing remotely similar happening on Dec 21, 2012, aside from the winter solstice. The lunar eclipse has come and gone: the earth’s poles haven’t shifted and unless we’re diagonally parked in a parallel universe, nothing happened today.