Satellite Photo of Chankillo near Lima, Peru
Click the thumbnail to further enlarge the image.
Copyright © 2007 GeoEye. All rights reserved.
About 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Lima, Peru, lies an enigmatic, 2,300-year-old observatory named Chankillo on January 13, 2002, the central complex appears in the upper left with its concentric rings of fortified walls. The Thirteen Towers (Southeast of the central complex) were the key to the scientist's conclusion that the site was a solar observatory. These regularly spaced towers line up along a hill, separated by about 5 meters (16 feet). The towers are easily seen from Chankillo's central complex, but the views of these towers from the eastern and western observing points are especially illuminating. Although the dark shapes in the northeast seem like rock outcrops, they are actually trees. These viewpoints are situated so that, on the winter and summer solstices, the sunrises and sunsets line up with the towers at either end of the line. Other solar events, such as the rising and setting of the Sun at the mid-points between the solstices, were aligned with different towers.