J. A. Belmonte's research while affiliated with Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and other places

Publications (249)

Article
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The Romanesque churches dotted along the Way of Saint James are magnificent examples of cultural heritage, and their analysis from the perspective of cultural astronomy may, in an unobtrusive manner, provide information of hitherto unexplored facets of these treasures. This study aims to examine the pilgrimage road as a communication channel and to...
Article
En este trabajo se examina, desde la perspectiva de la Astronomía Cultural, si las iglesias románicas del Camino de Santiago siguen un patrón de orientación común a todas ellas. Para ello, se ha obtenido la orientación de 191 templos en los antiguos reinos de León y Castilla, y se ha realizado un estudio comparativo. Ambos reinos comparten orientac...
Preprint
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America's first urban centres were allegedly located at the Supe Valley sites in Peru. After investigating the location and the orientation of the main built structures, we show that it is not only the presence of the River Supe that determines their orientation but also astronomical relationships within the orientation of the buildings dictate the...
Article
The pilgrimage along the Way of Saint James constituted the principal mechanism for the introduction of new currents of thought into the Iberian Peninsula, such as Romanesque architecture. Taking this into account, we examined whether the standard tradition on the orientation of Christian churches was followed. We measured the orientation of 108 ch...
Chapter
Equinox, what a controversial concept! Since the dawn of archaeoastronomy this has arguably been the most problematic concept—perhaps together with the lunar standstills or lunistices (González García and Belmonte, Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, 5(2):178–190, 2019)—to be taken into account since it was first used in ‘megalithic’ astronomy to expl...
Article
Full-text available
America's first urban centers may have been located in the Supe Valley, Peru. After investigating the location and the orientation of the main built structures, we show that it is not only the presence of the Supe River that determines their orientation but also that astronomical relationships within the orientation of the buildings dictate their s...
Article
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En el presente artículo se aborda la tan debatida cuestión de las orientaciones de ciudades romanas combinando dos procedimientos: un análisis estadístico de las orientaciones de una muestra significativa de ciudades romanas en la península ibérica, y los resultados de una investigación basada en la experimentación y reconstrucción de instrumental...
Preprint
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We present a study of the relationship between astronomy and landscape centered on the orientation of Christian churches of the island of La Gomera, located in the Canary Archipelago. The fieldwork consisted of measuring the precise coordinates of 38 churches, which represents almost all of the island's religious constructions, which has an area of...
Preprint
The city of San Cristobal de La Laguna in the Canary Island of Tenerife (Spain) has an exceptional value due to the original conception of its plan. It is an urban system in a grid, outlined by straight streets that form squares, its layout being the first case of an unfortified colonial city with a regular plan in the overseas European expansion....
Article
In earlier works, we had shown the actual possibility that the Nabataeans had used the Equinox, or an astronomical event equivalent to this, as an important milestone to control the calendar, stablish festivals and perform pilgrimages to important sacred sites. In this paper we present evidence that this was indeed the case. In a research carried o...
Article
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If astronomy can be understood as the contemplation of the sky for any given purpose, we must realize that possibly all societies throughout time and in all regions have watched the sky. The why, who, how and when of such investigation is the pursuit of cultural astronomy. When the research is done with the archaeological remains of a given society...
Article
The work presented in this article is part of a wide-ranging and ambitious project, started few years ago, to study the role of astronomy in Roman urban layout. In particular, the main aim is to check whether Roman cities present astronomical patterns in their orientations. The project emerged from ideas on how to properly orientate the main street...
Preprint
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We discuss the peculiar planning of the city of San Cristobal de La Laguna, in the Canary Island of Tenerife (Spain), when compared to the nearby and essentially contemporary Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which served as a maritime port of the former city. For this we review our previous study of the exact spatial orientation of twenty-one historic Chris...
Article
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In this work we try to identify if there exist specific patterns in the orientation of Roman towns and military settlements across the Roman Empire, and whether this can be explained by astronomy, as suggested in a number of ancient texts and latter discussed by contemporary scholars. In order to check if cosmology was present in the urban planning...
Article
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The city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna in the Canary Island of Tenerife (Spain) is of exceptional value as the first unfortified colonial city to follow regular plan - a grid, outlined by straight streets that form squares - in the overseas European expansion. It constitutes a historical example of the so-called "Town of Peace", the archetype of a...
Book
This state-of-the-art reference work includes over 15 sections dealing with all aspects of exoplanets and exobiology research, including historic aspects, the Solar System as a template, objects at the planet-to-star transition, exoplanet detection and characterization with related instrumentation, technology and software tools, planet and planet-s...
Article
Digital tools are increasingly used in cultural astronomy, so that it is now more important than ever to assess their precision and reliability, and to identify what uncertainties they may introduce. The present work aims to address these issues by comparing a dataset of orientations of Roman cities in the Iberian Peninsula measured in situ with me...
Article
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Petra, the ancient Nabataean capital, has been one of our main research objectives since the first field campaign on site in 1996. 1 In December 2015 a new visit to the city was made to coincide with the winter solstice. Historical, ethnographic, epigraphic and archaeological records are compared in order to gain an insight on the Nabataean calenda...
Article
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In this paper, we report on three areas of the Iberian Peninsula that were occupied at least during the Iron Age and the early stages of Romanisation, where observations of astronomical phenomena in the landscape, rock carvings, and Latin inscriptions point to a particular method of time reckoning. All of these sites have previously been connected...
Article
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We present the analysis of the measured orientations of 30 churches of the island of Lanzarote, in the Canarian archipelago, built prior to 1810, as well as a few buildings of later times, which represent a nearly complete sample of all the island's Christian sanctuaries. Our study indicates that a definite orientation pattern was followed on the i...
Book
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Los trabajos reunidos en este volumen, corresponden a las clases que dieron los autores durante la Primera Escuela Interamericana de Astronomía Cultural. La misma tuvo lugar en Noviembre de 2012 en la Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas de la Universidad Nacional de la Plata (Argentina).
Article
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The orientation of Christian churches is a well-known distinctive feature of their architecture. There is a general tendency to align their apses in the solar range, favoring orientations close to the east (astronomical equinox), although the alignments in the opposite direction, namely, with the apse towards the west, are not unusual. The case of...
Article
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Resumen: La orientación de las iglesias cristianas es un elemento distintivo de su arquitectura que repite patrones desde época paleocristiana. Se ha medido la orientación de un total de 30 iglesias antiguas de la isla de Lanzarote edificadas con anterioridad a 1810, así como algunos ejemplos más de época posterior. La muestra indica que se siguió...
Article
There is a long-lastingdebate, startedin the nineteenthcentury by d‟Arbois de Jubainville and Jullian, among others, regardingthe pan-Celtic nature of the mid-season (or rather,startof season) feasts known from the Mediaeval Ireland(set on1stNovember, February, May and August). D‟Arbois indicated that one of thesefeastscoincided with the festival c...
Article
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An essential difference between the western and eastern provinces of the Roman Empire is the fact that sophisticated urban cultures had developed in Asia Minor and the Levant centuries before the Romans arrived. Underlying the Hellenized, and later Roman, veneer was a myriad of older local traditions and languages, which had an immense impact upon...
Article
In this short report we examine the ideal status of the seven-stone antas (a type of very ancient megalithic monument in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula) as an excellent candidate for a serial nomination within the Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative. This case will be compared with an extraordinary set of dolmens at the other side of th...
Chapter
The Amon temple of Karnak shows an impressive axis of symmetry which can certainly be interpreted in a context where astronomy combines with religion, history, and landscape to produce one of the most sacred traditional spots on Earth. The combination of the local course of the Nile, a solstitial orientation, the wandering aspect of the civil calen...
Chapter
Cultural astronomy studies in the Canarian archipelago now have a tradition spanning two decades. The statistical relevance of astronomical implications for a certain number of sites and the spectacular character of some of the astronomical hierophanies discovered – with low probability of having been produced by chance in most cases – clearly poin...
Chapter
The sun was such an important divinity in antiquity, and even today, that solar alignments should be expected within a large variety of places and cultures. These are probably the most conspicuous kind of astronomical alignments a field researcher can deal with. The need for a correct identification is thus evident. The different kind of solar phen...
Article
Full-text available
The orientation of Christian churches is a distinctive feature of its architecture, repeating patterns from early Christian times that show a general tendency to orientate their apses in the solar range, with a predilection for orientations near the astronomical equinox. We measured the orientation of a total of 167 churches built prior to A.D. 108...
Chapter
This chapter describes an analysis of temples in Sudan undertaken in order to test the results obtained from the monuments of ancient Egypt. Data were obtained from high-resolution Google Earth images, covering a vast area of the country (although not all of it), and, in those sectors where such images were not available, from good quality maps yie...
Chapter
There has been a long-standing debate on the anthropogenic origin of Moxos’ lagoons. In the late 1990s, an analysis of the orientation of a comprehensive and statistically significant number of lagoons showed that only human action could explain the peculiarities of their geometry and especially their orientation according to a main axis aligned to...
Article
The two pyramids built during the Old Kingdom by the Fourth Dynasty King Sneferu at Dahshur are usually considered as two consecutive projects, the second - that of the Red Pyramid - being generated by a presumably failure of the first, the Bent Pyramid. In the present paper, we show that the archaeological proofs of such a scenario are far from ob...
Article
Some cities were built with the idea of establishing cosmic order. The sky used to be a very important component of the landscape that has been lost completely in our modern, overcrowded, and excessively illuminated, cities. However, this was not the case in the past. Astronomy actually played a most relevant role in urban planning, particularly in...
Chapter
The World Heritage Site of the hierothesion of Antiochos I, King of Commagene, at Mount Nemrud (Turkey) certainly constitutes one of the most fascinating historical enigmas in human culture. The monument includes the famous lion “horoscope” which has often been used in various attempts to interpret and date the ruins with controversial results. Acc...
Chapter
The possible astronomical or topographical orientations of the Hittite monuments of the Bronze Age has remained unexplored until recently. This would provide an important insight into how temporality was imprinted by this culture in sacred spaces and in the landscape. The authors’ analysis of a statistically significant sample of Hittite temples −...
Chapter
Pre-Romanesque churches in the Iberian Peninsula include a number of constructions from the fourth-fifth to the eleventh century when the first Romanesque churches appeared in the north of Spain. This period of time coincided with the Muslim invasion of the Peninsula. An important number of churches and mosques were built with prescriptions for the...
Chapter
The ancient Egyptians had a wide range of constellations, which populated the skies of ancient Egypt (see Chap. 133, “Orientation of Egyptian Temples: An Overview”) for more than three millennia, whose knowledge has come to us through lists of stars and other representations which have mainly appeared in a dozen of coffins, a few clepsydrae, and a...
Chapter
It is quite common, when reading popular books on astronomy, to see a place referred to as “the oldest observatory in the world”. In addition, numerous books on archaeoastronomy, of various levels of quality, frequently refer to the existence of “prehistoric” or “ancient” observatories when describing or citing monuments that were certainly not bui...
Chapter
The Nabataeans built several monuments in Petra and elsewhere displaying decoration with a certain preference for astronomical motifs. A statistical analysis of the orientation of their sacred monuments demonstrates that astronomical orientations were often part of an elaborate plan and possibly reflect traces of the astral nature of Nabataean reli...
Chapter
Archaeoastronomy has never been a favored discipline within Egyptology. As a consequence, important questions such as the orientation of Egyptian temples and the relevance of astronomy in this respect had not been treated with the requisite seriousness and depth. This situation is changing, however, and over the past decade, there have been several...
Article
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On the basis of a recently updated data base of Sardinian Megalithic monuments, we perform two independent statistical analyses on several groups of these structures and confirm the existence of differences between the southern and northern halves of Sardinia, indicating that there seem to be different traditions of orientation in these two parts o...
Article
The idea of temporality and how this concept is introduced in the ritual domain could be investigated in past cultures through measurements of the orientation of cultic buildings, provided that such orientations are linked with particular astronomical events. Hellenic societies, among those of the Mediterranean Iron Age, had a need to regulate time...
Article
Despite the fact that ancient writings indicate a clear necessity to orient Roman towns according to the path of the sun (Hyginus Gromatius, Constitutio, 1), Le Gall (1975) in an early work made clear that there was no clear preferred orientation pattern. However, Le Gall's analysis was done by taking into consideration a sparse number of Roman tow...
Article
Orientation studies have recently received considerable attention in the archaeological domain as a source of information that may shed light on a number of anthropological issues such as beliefs systems or landscape and territory apprehension by past cultures. This is especially important in those cultural contexts, such as the 'megalithic' phenom...
Article
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We identify and characterize secondary eclipses in the original light curves of published CoRoT planets using uniform detection and evaluation criteria. Our analysis is based on a Bayesian statistics: the eclipse search is carried out using Bayesian model selection, and the characterization of the plausible eclipse candidates using Bayesian paramet...
Article
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We aim to identify and characterize secondary eclipses in the original light curves of all published CoRoT planets using uniform detection and evaluation critetia. Our analysis is based on a Bayesian model selection between two competing models: one with and one without an eclipse signal. The search is carried out by mapping the Bayes factor in fav...
Article
Full-text available
The Nabateans built several monuments in Petra and elsewhere displaying a decoration with a preference for astronomical motifs, possibly as a reflection of their religion. However, due to the lack of direct written accounts and the scarcity of inscriptions we do not have a clear knowledge on the precise nature of such believes and how these reflect...
Article
Participants; Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Extrasolar planet detection methods Laurance R. Doyle; 2. Statistical properties of exoplanets Stéphane Udry; 3. Characterizing extrasolar planets Timothy M. Brown; 4. From clouds to planet systems: formation and evolution of stars and planets Günther Wuchterl; 5. Abundances in stars with extrasolar plane...
Article
We present a new eclipsing post-common-envelope binary, identified inside the Kepler field prior to the launch of the spacecraft. Multifilter photometry and radial velocity data are analysed with an eclipsing-binary modelling code to determine the physical parameters of the binary. Spectra of the system within the primary eclipse and uneclipsed all...
Article
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The Stellar Observations Network Group (SONG) is an international network project aiming to place eight 1-m robotic telescopes around the globe, with the primary objectives of studying stellar oscillations and planets using ultra-precision radial velocity measurements. The prototype of SONG is scheduled to be installed and running at the Observator...
Article
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We report the detection of transit timing variations (TTVs) well in excess of one hour in the Kepler multi-planet candidate system KOI 806. This system exhibits transits consistent with three separate planets -- a Super-Earth, a Jupiter, and a Saturn -- lying very nearly in a 1:2:5 resonance, respectively. We used the Kepler public data archive and...
Article
Archaeoastronomy is a discipline apparently subject to controversy. The reason for this is that it is situated between astronomy, whose tools it uses; and anthropology, archaeol-ogy, and history, the disciplines archaeoastronomy serves and within whose epistemological framework should be integrated. Perhaps for this reason, until recently it has no...
Article
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It is of note that no special direction of the compass seems to have been preferred either for the orientation of the temples or for that of the cult chamber themselves. Jürgen Seeher As a natural sequel to studies of temple orientation in the Mediterranean basin, and especially of the temples of ancient Egypt, 1 the Hittite monuments of the Bronze...
Article
g' and z' photometric time series for the last ~1.6hrs of the transit of KOI 806.2 observed with the Gran Telescopio Canarias at Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma, Spain. The observations occurred on JD 2455740, revealing a transit timing variation of -103.5+/-6.9 minutes. The raw fits files were bias and flat field...
Article
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We report the discovery of TrES-5, a massive hot Jupiter that transits the star GSC 03949-00967 every 1.48 days. From spectroscopy of the star we estimate a stellar effective temperature of$5171 +/- 36 K, and from high-precision B, R and I photometry of the transit we constrain the ratio of the semi-major axis and the stellar radius to be 6.07 +/-...
Article
Many stars exhibit stellar pulsations, favoring them for asteroseismic analyses. Interpreting the oscillations requires some knowledge of the oscillation mode geometry (spherical degree, radial, and azimuthal orders). The δ Scuti stars (1.5-2.5 M ☉) often show just one or few pulsation frequencies. Although this may promise a successful seismologic...
Article
In this essay we present a tentative archaeoastronomical analysis of the Moxos' Lagoons, a controversial and huge geographical network in the landscape of the Bolivian Amazon. In the late 1990s, a preliminary analysis of the orientation of a comprehensive and statistically significant number of lagoons showed that only human action could explain th...
Article
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We present a preliminary spectroscopic analysis of the binary system V577Oph, observed during the summer of 2007 on the 2.6 m NOT telescope on La Palma. We have obtained time series spectroscopic observations, which show clear binary motion as well as radial velocity variations due to pulsation in the primary star. By modelling the radial velocitie...
Article
For various reasons, Archaeoastronomy has not been one of the favourite disciplines of the Egyptologists in the past. Probably because of that, important questions such as the orientation of Egyptian temples and the relevance of astronomy in this respect had never been afforded with the necessary seriousness and deepness. The Egyptian–Spanish Missi...
Article
Full-text available
The Stellar Observations Network Group (SONG) is an international network project aiming to place eight 1 m robotic telescopes around the globe, with the primary objectives of studying stellar oscillations and planets using ultra-precision radial velocity measurements. The prototype of SONG will be installed and running at the Observatorio del Teid...
Article
Full-text available
We present preliminary observational results of the multi-site STEPHI campaign on the cluster NGC 1817. The three observatories involved are San Pedro Martir (Mexico), Xing Long (China) and the Observatorio del Teide (Spain) - giving an ideal combination to maximise the duty cycle. The cluster has 12 known delta Scuti stars and at least two detache...
Article
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Simple astronomical patterns or families were basically defined in relation to the stations of the sun (solstice, equinoctial or seasonal, notably New Year’s Eveor Wepet Renpet the brightest stars of the Egyptian skies (notably Sirius, ancient Egyptian Sopdet ) and the cardinal directions. On several occasions, these patterns were in agreement with...
Article
We observed several transits of TrES-1 and TrES-2 with the IAC 80cm telescope. (2 data files).
Article
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The aim of this work is a detailed analysis of transit light curves from TrES-1 and TrES-2, obtained over a period of three to four years, in order to search for variabilities in observed mid-transit times and to set limits for the presence of additional third bodies. Using the IAC 80cm telescope, we observed transits of TrES-1 and TrES-2 over seve...
Article
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We report new spectroscopic and photometric observations of the parent stars of the recently discovered transiting planets TrES-3 and TrES-4. A detailed abundance analysis based on high-resolution spectra yields [Fe/H] = –0.19 ± 0.08, T eff = 5650 ± 75 K, and log g = 4.4 ± 0.1 for TrES-3, and [Fe/H] = +0.14 ± 0.09, T eff = 6200 ± 75 K, and log g =...