Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon

Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico - a magical place in the Land of Enchantment

A "Sun Dagger" projected by three stone slabs onto a spiral petroglyph marks the summer solstice.

Early reports following the discovery by Anna Sofaer in 1977 are in
_ Science News Aug 26, 1978 (scans
_ The Atom 1979 January/February (9.3MB PDF) (scans)
_ Science 1979  A Unique Solar Marking Construct
By Anna Sofaer, Volker Zinser, and Rolf M. Sinclair

The most comprehensive information is on the official Solsticeproject website.
American Indian sources rate the 1977 event as a rediscovery , see also here here and here and Dennis Ward "Anna Sofaer, an artist who was documenting rock art as part of a survey of the canyon, rediscovered this site in June of 1977."

Recent developments include an interactive computer model
The Sun Dagger Interactive Computer Model: A Digital Restoration of A Chacoan Calendrical site By Anna Sofaer, Alan Price, James Holmlund, Joseph Nicoli, and Andrew Piscitello

Sun Dagger Explorer An interactive for research and analysis - Ohio State University -
Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design
more here and  here 
The Sun Dagger Explorer is now part of the Space Frontiers exhibit
at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
in Albuquerque 


Map of  Chaco Culture National Historical Park from the National Park Service

Chaco Canyon Tour including Fajada Butte  University of Colorado:

contains a large collection of links

in El Palacio, New Mexico's Magazine of Art, History & Culture of the Southwest
contains a hi-res aerial photo

Sunwatchers: A Survey of Chacoan Astronomical Sites  Dennis Ward, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
Archaeoastronomy of the Southwest Arizona Archaeological Society, Todd W. Bostwick, Ph.D.

Chaco culture national historical park  Chaco Canyon was an important Anasazi (ancient Native American) cultural center from about 900 through 1130 AD.

Solar Eclipses
Traditions of the Sun Explore the world's ancient observatories
Book  pg. 24: petroglyph called "Piedra del Sol" - Solar eclipse with corona?
Total Solar eclipses at the Fajada Butte location occurred on 0310 May 15, 0804 Apr 13, 1097 Jul 1, 1259 Oct 17 between 1 and 2012 as calculated by Xavier Jubiers tool Five Millennium (-1999 to +3000) Canon of Solar Eclipses Database

Exploratorium The petroglyph is thought by some to represent the total solar eclipse of AD 1097.  
Exploratorium Piedra del Sol
Solar Eclipse Petroglyph Solar Astronomy in the Prehistoric Southwest
Photography by David Cortner

Photos taken in July 1979

Jul 08, 1979. Fajada butte from west

Jul 09, 1979. Fajada butte from east

Jul 09
Jul 09
Jul 09

Jul 09, looking south
Jul 09, looking north

diary entry Jul 09

More images
A petroglyph called Piedra del Sol may represent
the sun's corona during a solar eclipse

then and now


Stereo anaglyphs, use red/blue viewer

prepared from ZDF TerraX 2011/07/24
prepared from ZDF TerraX 2011/07/24

prepared from "Mysteries of Chaco Canyon"

walking to Penasco Blanco

Penasco Blanco, possible
petroglyph of supernova 1054,
July 09, 1979