Eclipse Table

This table in the Dresden codex is interpreted by most researchers as giving a list of 69 possible solar eclipse dates (68 table positions and the base date). The structure of the table is such that it is not recording 69 observed solar eclipses, but only days when an eclipse is possible. The expectation is that the moon node is within 18 days (plus or minus) of the date given in the table.

The historical base date of the Eclipse Table was (black number) 12 Lamat 1 Muwan for Solar eclipses. The analysis of all eclipse stations in this table lead to the interpretation as a Solar eclipse table, because the eclipse stations are arrangened in groups of +-18 days around the Moon nodes. This lead to the assumption, that at the long count date the distance to the Moon node should be about zero.

Any correlation that does not fit this expectation, at least in a general way, will not allow this table to function as an eclipse warning table. The base date of this table is generally accepted as 12 Lamat 1 Muwan. While there are six dates given in the introductory section of the Eclipse Warning table, three are not 12 Lamat dates. Of the three remaining dates only 12 Lamat 1 Muwan can be linked to other dates in the Dresden -- namely the table on pages 58 and 59. None of these three dates fits the moon node in the GMT.

Using 12 Lamat 1 Muwan in the GMT correlations 57.97% (40) of the dates given in the Eclipse Warning table have moon node positions greater than 18 days (see Figure below). This means that eclipses do not occur on these dates.

In the WF correlation the fit is much better with 11.6 % (8) of the 69 dates have moon node positions greater than 18 days. We have no explanation for this error, but it is probably the result of the difference between the Maya and modern calculations of the moon node.