Dresden Codex & Venus Transit: Unnecessary Follow Up

English: Transit of Venus - Venus completely o...
English: Transit of Venus – Venus completely over the sun Italiano: Transito di Venere sul Sole Русский: Прохождение Венеры по диску Солнца (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feel free and skip today’s post. The recent one about the spirit in man and artificial intelligence is more interesting, and the last one about being hacked and having an old e-mail address of mine used for evil is more functional. But today’s is about the Dresden Codex, the Venus Transit, and a bit more information than what I gave in the related section of my “Adiós 2012” post (actually titled “A 2012 Non-pocalypse Post-mortem: Lessons I Learned”).

In that post I discussed the “Every Connection I Can Make is a Good Connection!” Mistake–how just because one can draw some sort of imaginative connection to “support” your point doesn’t mean that it is a good connection to make. It can actually be completely unrelated and can even contradict your point. After pointing out the odd and baseless Jesus Christ/Bolon Yokte connection I saw a few try to make, I mentioned the Venus Transit:

“However, I saw worse. For instance, in trying to claim a connection between the Dresden Codex and 2012, I saw a claim made that the Venus Transit in 2012 establishes such a connection. Does it really? No, not in any way whatsoever, and the assertion is ridiculous on its face. Yes, the Dresden Codex apparently has astronomical Venus tables, so it is plausible that the transit that occurred in 2012 would be indicated in one of the many positions noted in the table (though I would like to see someone show that table entry to me—something I’ve never seen displayed). But this simply does not indicate that the Dresden Codex, let alone its decorative last page, is related to 2012-goofiness at all! It would be like saying that the last page of the Farmer’s Almanac is all about my birthday because, after all, my birthday is in the Almanac! Of course, so is yours, and your mother’s, your dog’s, your parakeet’s, Steven Spielberg’s, etc.”

The point is still a good one: The fact that your anniversary is one of the dates on the Cow Calendar you can buy at Chick-fil-A, for instance, does not mean that they made the calendar just for you. All 365 days are on that calendar.

However, the point can be made even more strongly. You’ll notice some margin I added to my comment, to wit: “…it is plausible that the transit that occurred in 2012 would be indicated in one of the many positions noted in the table.” However, the reason I phrased that as I did is that I have never actually seen the transit indicated in the Dresden Codex. I was simply recognizing that any hobbyist who mentioned it in a sad effort to tie the Dresden Codex to 2012 (and some did) might at least be right in saying that the transit is on the Codex in the Venus tables. But I also noted that I have never seen such a notation in my characteristically parenthetical insert: “though I would like to see someone show that table entry to me—something I’ve never seen displayed.”

Come to find out, apparently 2012’s Venus Transit is mentioned nowhere in the Dresden Codex, even in the Venus tables.

I (re)discovered this after spending a few moments cleaning out some of my iPhone’s bookmarks (I apparently bookmark webpages that I never plan to visit ever again), which included this reference to the Wikipedia page on the Venus Transit. There can be found (as of this typing, at least) a plain statement (bolding mine): “Venus was important to ancient American civilizations, in particular for the Maya, who called it Noh Ek, ‘the Great Star’ or Xux Ek, ‘the Wasp Star’; they embodied Venus in the form of the god Kukulkán (also known as or related to Gukumatz and Quetzalcoatl in other parts of Mexico). In the Dresden Codex, the Maya charted Venus’ full cycle, but despite their precise knowledge of its course, there is no mention of a transit.

Of course, however, this is Wikipedia. So, I followed the footnote provided to a publication by Bohumil Böhm and Vladimir Böhm, titled “The Dresden Codex–the book of Mayan astronomy.” There, the authors go into detail about the astronomical information in the codex as they understand it, even pointing out that the famed Goodman-Martínez-Thompson (GMT) correlation coefficient used to turn Mayan dates into modern dates does not work with the Dresden Codex — something I mentioned before, based on my discussion with a working Mayan researcher and based on widely reported news.

Their views certainly have garnered real credibility, including being published in the prestigious German astronomical journal Astronomische Nachrichten in 2008 (abstract here).

So, if this work is credible, then the conclusions are certainly damaging to those who think 2012 was special to the Maya:

  • 2012’s Venus Transit is not mentioned in the Dresden Codex.
  • If Venus is associated with Kukulkán or Quetzalcoatl and the most significant Venus event of 2012 is not mentioned, given the weird and unsubstantiated claims that 2012 was supposed to be the return of Kukulkán or Quetzalcoatl, it is doubly goofy that 2012 was something significant to the Maya and that the Dresden Codex ties to 2012.
  • And if the GMT correlation is off, then a “Mayan 2012” is all the more delusional.

There really is no significant tie between the Dresden Codex and 2012.

Now, who cares about this anymore? Well, hopefully virtually no one. 🙂 But when I came across this old bookmark, I couldn’t help adding a little more detail in a follow up to that post a couple of weeks ago, so now I have. The obsession with 2012-ology out there was anything but Christian, and many who consider themselves “scholars” compromised themselves mightily in the service of their personal pet ideas. But now that it is past, what obsessions will 2012ers fixate upon next? Regardless, I don’t expect the facts to get in their way.

Neat musical video of Venus transit

As I mentioned recently, I missed the Venus transit due to the unhelpful cloud cover in Cincinnati, but there are no clouds in space! (Yes, there are nebulae and such, don’t be picky…) NASA has compiled a nice video from satellite images of the Venus transit taken through different filters and at different wavelengths. And it’s accompanied by trailer music, my favorite!

For those who just can’t get enough of seeing a planet pass in front of the sun, here it is:

There’s a little black spot on the sun today…

…but I won’t see it, clouds are in the way…  (Apologies to Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland.)

Well, I was really looking forward to seeing the transit of Venus today, but the weather here in Cincinnati is getting in the way as it is quite overcast. I’ve borrowed a welding mask from a local family (it’s nice to have a local family who has stuff like welding masks), but it looks as though it will go unused.  Phooey.

So, I’ve have to settle for the online live views. Here’s the current one (at the time of my typing) from SLOOH SpaceCamera:

Image of the Venus Transit from SLOOH SpaceCamera. Click the picture to visit the SLOOH website.

Click on the image to go to the SLOOH Website, yourself.

Also, here’s a great movie from NASA — they have others available, but I’m just linking to the one showing ingress: http://venustransit.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/kiosk/dataset/Venus_AIA96s_171In/phase/ingress

I suppose I’ll have to wait until the next one next century. If you’ve got better weather in your area, congratulations!