During the spring equinox (19 March) the sun set on the shoulder of the Sphinx in Giza, Egypt. This is termed as “distinctive astronomical” moment by the Egypt Ministry of Antiquities. Cats love basking in the sun and the Sphinx is no exception. Carved out of limestone bedrock, its face shows the likeness of Pharaoh Khafre, the fourth king of ancient Egypt’s 4th dynasty (2575 B.C. to 2465 B.C.).
The Sphinx is also placed in such a way that for the summer solstice in June, the sun sets between the pyramids of pharaohs Khufu and Khafre.
Thus the position of Sphinx suggests that the ancient Egyptians purposefully positioned the Sphinx statue. “This phenomenon proves that archaeologists were wrong when they said that the ancient Egyptians had found an ancient rock by accident and turned it into a statue of a human face and a non-human body,” the Egypt Ministry of Antiquities wrote in a Facebook post.
Equinox is the instant of time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the centre of the Sun. This occurs twice each year, around 20 March and 23 September. The Northern and Southern hemispheres receive equal amounts of the sun’s light and the day and the night are equal in length.
Sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion.
Solstice is an event occurring when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21.
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