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Many important Mayan buildings, such as temples, pyramids, palaces, observatories, and ball courts, were laid out in accordance with astronomy.Temples and pyramids, in particular, were designed in such a way that the sun, moon, stars, and planets would be visible from the top or through certain windows at important times of the year.The sun was of utmost importance to the ancient Maya. He was one of the more powerful gods of the Mayan pantheon, considered an aspect of Itzamna, one of the Mayan creator gods.Kinich Ahau would shine in the sky all day before transforming himself into a jaguar at night to pass through Xibalba, the Mayan underworld.For example, the rise of the Pleiades in the night sky occurs at about the same time that the rains come to the Mayan regions of Central America and southern Mexico.The stars, therefore, were of more practical use than many other aspects of Mayan astronomy.

Some Mayan dynasties claimed to be descended from the sun.The stars, moons, sun, and planets were gods; their movements were interpreted as gods traveling between the Earth, the underworld, and other celestial destinations.These gods were greatly involved in human affairs, and so their movements were watched closely.The Maya were expert at predicting solar phenomena such as eclipses, solstices, and equinoxes, as well as determining when the sun reached its apex.The moon was nearly as important as the sun to the ancient Maya.

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