I've been doing a little 'other' research and found these clips, some of which leads me to believe they understood/stand space better then Sharer alludes to:
...the Mayas were aware that a year is slightly longer than 365 days, and in fact, many of the month-names are associated with the seasons; Yaxkin, for example, means “new or strong sun” and, at the beginning of the Long Count, 1 Yaxkin was the day after the winter solstice, when the sun starts to shine for a longer period of time and higher in the sky. When the Long Count was put into motion, it was started at 184.108.40.206.0, and 0 Yaxkin corresponded with Midwinter Day, as it did at 220.127.116.11.0 back in 3114 B.C.E. The available evidence indicates that the Mayas estimated that a 365-day year precessed through all the seasons twice in 18.104.22.168.0 or 1,101,600 days.
We can therefore derive a value for the Mayan estimate of the year by dividing 1,101,600 by 365, subtracting 2, and taking that number and dividing 1,101,600 by the result, which gives us an answer of 365.242036 days, which is slightly more accurate than the 365.2425 days of the Gregorian calendar.
(This apparent accuracy could, however, be a simple coincidence. The Mayas estimated that a 365-day year precessed through all the seasons twice in 22.214.171.124.0 days. These numbers are only accurate to 2-3 digits. Suppose the 126.96.36.199.0 days had corresponded to 2.001 cycles rather than 2 cycles of the 365-day year, would the Mayas have noticed?)
In ancient times, the Mayans had a tradition of a 360-day year. But by the 4th century B.C.E. they took a different approach than either Europeans or Asians. They maintained three different calendars at the same time. In one of them, they divided a 365-day year into eighteen 20-day months followed by a five-day period that was part of no month. The five-day period was considered to be unlucky. The Mayans used this during their calendar analysis that ends in 2012.
So, is 2012 a truly significant date? Will civilization end? Will this be the apocalypse? This date is most apparently connected to a Long Count of the Mayan calendar that means there will be a major change in the world order. Also, it is connected to the Mayan forecast of a major sunspot cycle. Here are some of the major things that have been forecase to occur in 2012:
* Major sunspot cycle in the Mayan calendar
* Asteroid or comet colision forecasted by algorythms taken from the Bible
* Nostrodamus speaks of a series of natural disasters...
The pre-Columbian Mayans observed and recorded movements of the heavens for 4,000 years and developed a calendar so accurate that any given day could be ascertained without duplication for 370,000 years. The Mayans knew that sun spots and solar flares had a direct link to the rise and fall of civilizations on earth.
There's a video embedded in the site about the date too, it's a short (3 mins.) watch, some facts about solar cycles and the pyramid building... I know, so far, there's been a 'split' opinion about this forthcoming year, thought to update this thread.