Winter Solstice Solar Marker at Chaco Canyon

This morning I was able to observe sunrise at the great house of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The weather was dicey, so I feel very lucky to have captured this amazing solar display. This effect is seen at sunrise for the days surrounding the time of the winter solstice.
Winter Solstice Marker at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Culture National Historic Park

The sun shines through a corner window and the image appears in the opposite corner of the room. Over the course of a few minutes the image will appear in center of the northwest corner. Due to cloudy weather the effect could only be seen for a few moments.

The solar marker is on the top level of the southeast side of Pueblo Bonito. Notice the rooms below. The ledge from where this image was taken was about 10 feet above the solar marker and 30 feet above the floor of the lower chambers.

High-resolution image are available on Flickr. There are more images of summer solstice and other events at Chaco Canyon in our blog. You can learn more about Chaco Canyon and archaeoastronomy at the park in the Traditions of the Sun website.

Update: One thing I forgot to mention…also shooting photos this morning was Justin Ladd. Check out his amazing time lapse movies of Chaco Canyon at:

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