Archaeologists recently released pictures of a hidden chamber inside the pyramid of Khufu, the largest of the Great Pyramids of Giza. The chamber was discovered with cosmic “X-rays.”
Cosmic rays are particles from exploding stars and other powerful events. When they strike atoms and molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, they create showers of other particles, including muons. They zip through solid matter — including the pyramid, which was built more than 4500 years ago. Detectors placed around the pyramid picked up the muons, providing a 3D view of its interior — revealing the 30-foot-long chamber.
The X-rays aren’t the pyramid’s only connection to the stars. It was laid out with the help of the North Star. And a shaft inside the pyramid points to another star.
When the pyramids were built, north was marked not by today’s North Star, Polaris, but by Thuban, a star in Draco. Under dark skies, it’s visible along the line between Polaris and the tip of the handle of the Big Dipper. The change is the result of a wobble in Earth’s axis. Guided by Thuban, architects aligned the pyramid with the cardinal directions with amazing precision.
The pyramid also contains a shaft that aims at Orion’s Belt. In ancient Egypt, the stars of Orion represented Osiris, the god of the underworld. A dead king joined Osiris as one of the stars in that part of the sky. So the shaft provided a path from this world to the next.
Script by Damond Benningfield