Astronomy Notes


The zodiac was laid out on the diagonal of the double square –


Looking at the various ways in which different cultures have interpreted the Orion constellation the figure of a celestial manlike being is common to many cultures, and where it is not there is tendency to focus on the belt stars. The belt stars occupy the centre of the figure and are the prime candidates for alignments.

Other cultures (especially those living at the equator) saw the constellation in a different way. The diagram below shows the system devised by a contemporary Amazon tribe (Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. Astronomical Models of Behaviour among some Indians of Colombia’. New York Annals. 385.) –

– the ideal distribution of of a phratry of three intermarrying Colombian tribes is considered as a hexagon. Tribal territory is bounded by 6 waterfalls and these are imagined to have stellar counterparts, and tribal longhouses are built according to the same model. The equator, marked by two other major waterfalls, passes through the centre of the hexagon. Its heavenly counterpart is imagined to be an alignment from Sirius through Orion’s belt to Aldebaran, and then on to the Pleiades (this corresponding to the path from marriage to death). Men and women each have their own ‘quest’ – in the centre of the figure is shown the overlapping male/female dance pattern (copying the pattern of stars in Orion) and the vertical axis leads from a central rock covered with petroglyphs to Al Nilam – the central star in Orion’s belt.


Dash reports that the descending passages of the major pyramids, including those at Dashur, are better aligned to the true pole than pyramid sides (it is the latter which show precessional effects). This suggests that alignments were carried out in two stages. How this was done is the subject of speculation.

Lightbody – – discusses how the replica passages could have been used as a sighting device.

Rawlins and Pickering. 2001.’Astronomical orientation of the pyramids’. Nature volume 412, page699. – . The authors choose a different pair of stars, Thuban and Draconis as the objects for alignment measurements.


After drilling through the slab which terminates QC south shaft the Djedi explorers found marks on the floor behind the slab, which some have interpreted as the number 121. It is interesting that the line of this shaft (from the convergence point below the chamber to the slab) does appear to measure about 121 cubits. If this true it suggests that the builders used the same ratios in both upper and lower shaft systems but in different configurations for presumably symbolic reasons. Perhaps something like the diagram below –

But this is speculation. We continue to await the release of survey data.


As a result of its extensive promotion most readers will be familiar with Bauval’s hypothesis(LINK) that the three Giza pyramids were laid out in the pattern of stars of Orion’s belt – the ‘Orion Correlation Theory’. At the time of its announcement the proposition appeared to hold great promise and the equation ‘pyramids equal stars’ was easy to understand.

However the hypothesis encounters many problems. For example anyone can see that the belt stars are all about the same size, yet Mintaka is represented by a small pyramid, Menkaure. Secondly the positions of pyramid centres do not precisely match the configuration of the belt stars. Wilson and Ash sought to explain this by suggesting that the true match is created by the positions of the eastern sides of pyramids –

In fact, as described in the geometry pages, pyramid centres are separated in the ratio 10 : 11 along the 45 degree Giza diagonal.

In the development of his hypothesis Bauval suggested that the remaining IVth dynasty pyramids also corresponded to stars – the unfinished pyramids at Zawiyet El Aryan and Abu Rawash representing two other stars of the Orion configuration, Bellatrix and Saiph. But not to scale and badly distorted. The Dashur pyramids were said to represent two stars of the Hyades cluster in the constellation Taurus. However, while the northern ‘Red’ pyramid of Dashur might correlate with the bright orange star Aldebaran (albeit once again at a different scale), for the southern ‘Bent’ pyramid there is no bright star candidate, so why was this pyramid built equal in size to its northern neighbour?

Similar objections apply to further attempts to correlate stars with pyramids. The pyramids of the Vth and VIth dynasties contain the very Pyramid Texts that speak of a stellar destiny yet the positions of these small pyramids cannot be correlated with stars on a one-to-one basis. Therefore these pyramids could only have represented stars near Orion in a general sense, their dimensioning and locations being determined by other factors (eg. The already discussed alignments between pyramids). According to this view Giza might represent ‘an essential prototype’ : the ‘magnum opus’ of Old Kingdom funerary monuments. But we cannot prove this.

In the development of his ideas Bauval claimed that the layout of the Giza pyramids, along an azimuth 45 degrees from north, reproduced the pattern of the belt stars as they lay on the meridian in 10450 BC at the lowest point of their precessional cycle. This is incorrect –

Orion orientation at different dates

At 10450 BC the belt stars are not in the layout position, that is at 45 degrees to the vertical. In 2560 BC the layout position is achieved when the constellation hangs over the south east horizon (at azimuth about 143 degrees from north). Tedder noticed that this azimuth coincided with the edge of the desert escarpment along which the pyramids were built –

Escarpment alignment to Orion layout configuration


There have been other attempts to extract astronomical meaning from pyramids, for example calendrical information, or to see if pyramid slope angles correspond to the altitudes of stars .

Wiercinski, A. (1977. ‘Pyramids and ziggurats as the architectonic representation of the archetype of the cosmic mountain’. Almogaren, Nr 7 (1977), 199-212; Nr 8 (1978), 167-187) proposes that pyramids and ziggurats exhibit temporal-spatial relations in that important calendrical cycles (in days) are represented (in native units of measure) in the dimensions of these monuments. For example, the planet Mercury orbits in 116 days, and the earth in 365.3 days, and notes that 4 X 116 / 365.3 = 1.27 – the approximate slope of Khufu.


Meanwhile Tedder noted that the two faces of the Bent pyramid appear to correspond to the altitudes of two stars of Orion in meridian transit –

Orion and the Bent pyramid

The slope of the lower face varies between 55 and 54.5 degrees. The slope of the upper part is uncertain, quoted variously as 43.5 to 45 degrees. When the Bent pyramid was constructed (according to the conventional chronology) the altitude of Alnitak was just over 44 degrees, while Betelgeuse was a little over 54, so the idea is just possible. But the slope angles of most pyramids don’t appear to correlate with star altitudes.