The Sphinx as an equinoctial marker… simply coincidental?
Mention the Great Pyramids of Egypt and we never fail to associate with them, the mighty Sphinx of Giza. Calmly and peacefully, the statue lies exactly along the east-west axis of the Giza necropolis, its gaze set perfectly due east. As the rising sun continues to illuminate its face, controversies continue to linger over the underlying meaning of the construction of the majestic body.
On the summer solstice at the latitude of Giza, the sun rises 28 degrees north of east. On the winter solstice, it rises about 28 degrees south of east. By contrast, the main characteristic of the equinoxes is that the sun always rises due east providing a sure and accurate reference to one of the cardinal directions. It is towards this reference point, with high precision, that the gaze of the Sphinx is set- not by accident but specifically designed, as suggested by Robert Bauval (author of The Orion Mystery).
With the Sphinx's gaze set due east, it is a perfect 'equinoctial marker', targeting the exact position of sunrise at dawn. Considering that ancient astronomers were particularly focused on the zodiacal constellation, the Sphinx monument being built in its leonine form, must have its great significance.
Returning to the epoch of 2500BC, when the Sphinx is conventionally assumed to have built, it was in the constellation of Taurus that housed the sun on the spring equinox. The Sphinx however, is leonine form.
Upon reconstruction of the night skies over Giza in the 10,500 epoch, Robert Bauval observed that the portion of the sky into which the sun is about to rise is occupied by none other than the zodiacal constellation of Leo (thus explaining the significance of the leonine form of the monument). This discovery hence strengthened Bauval's argument that the Giza's exact age revolved around 10,500 BC.(The constellation spans 30 degrees along the ecliptic and housed the sun on the vernal equinox from 10960BC to 8800BC - a period of 2160 years.)
According to Bauval's theory…
In the pre-dawn on the vernal equinox in 10500BC with the sun some 12 degrees below the horizon, the Great Sphinx would have gazed directly at his own celestial counterpart, the constellation of Leo- which experienced what astronomers known its 'helical rising' at this moment.
As the minute pass, the sky lightens. Then at the exact moment at which the top of the solar disc breaks over the horizon directly ahead of us a 90-degree right turn- so now we are looking due south. There, culminating at the meridian at altitude 9 degrees 20 minutes, we see the 3 stars of Orion's belt forming a pattern in the sky that is identical to the ground plan of the Giza Pyramids.
This marks the beginning of the 'Age of Leo' and the beginning of the upwards precessional cycle of the belt stars. It is this unique celestial conjunction that the Great Sphinx and the 3 Pyramids of Giza appear to modal.
Critics once again opposed to his findings. Since The Sphinx faces due east, it is true across all epochs that The Sphinx would serve as an equinoctial marker, not necessarily so only in the 10,500 epoch. In addition, since doubts arose as to whether ancient Egyptians recognised the constellation of Leo, suggestion that the Sphinx must be associated with the then ruling constellation, i.e. Leo, which supposedly lasted from 10,960 BC to 8800 BC, might not hold.