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Observations of Far Southerly Moonrise from Hagar Qim, Ta'Hagrat, and Ggantija Temples from May 2005 to June 2007
John Cox and Michael Spiteri


An essay considering the orientation of Neolithic buildings in Malta and Gozo was published in Archaeoastronomy Vol.XVI (Cox 2001) and paid particular attention to the orientations of three temple enclosures that coincided with the direction of a far-southerly moonrise, Hagar Qim, Ta'Hagrat, and Ggantija. Observations from the temple enclosures made 2005 to 2007 explored the nature of observing a far-southerly moonrise and its relation to each of the three temple sites.
On the basis of the observations conducted 2005-2007 the observers speculate. If the observation of the most southerly moonrise was made from the temples, then it was likely to have been made towards a near full moon rising in summer. In some cycles, with the rising node at the first point in winter, the summer moonrise will be seen at much the same far-southerly position two years in a row. The eighteenth year might see the Moon at a far southerly position, but the nineteenth year might repeat the same view. From the viewpoint of the early astronomer this ambiguity might have presented a difficulty that was studied but not immediately resolved.