Ancient Skies: Stonehenge and the Moon.

29 11 2020

Whereas we can be sure that Stonehenge related directly to the Sun, its possible associations with the Moon remain much debated. Claims made in the 1960s that the monument incorporated large numbers of intentional alignments upon significant solar and lunar rising and setting positions are undermined by the archaeological evidence and are also statistically unsupportable.

The full Harvest Moon setting over Stonehenge. Photo credit to Stonehenge Dronescapes

Nonetheless, some tantalizing strands of evidence remain. Chief among these is the orientation of the Station Stone rectangle. While its shorter axis simply follows the main solstitial orientation of the sarsen monument, its longer axis is oriented southeastwards close to the most southerly possible rising position of the Moon (most southerly moonrise). It has been argued that the latitude of Stonehenge was carefully chosen so that these two directions were nearly perpendicular, but the perfect location would have been further south, in the English Channel.

In any case, the precise location of Stonehenge was actually fixed by the pre-existing earth and timber monument upon whose remains the stones were constructed. The sightlines along the sides of the Station Stone rectangle were not (quite) blocked out by the sarsen monument. This suggests that they were of enduring significance.

The lunar phase cycle (“synodic month”) averaging 29.5 days is, for many indigenous peoples, the best-known cycle in the sky. The position of moonrise (moonset) moves up and down the eastern (western) horizon during a slightly shorter period – the “tropical month” of 27.3 days. Its phase is related to the season: the most southerly Moon is full around the summer solstice and new around the winter solstice. For the most northerly Moon the opposite is true.

Before the stones arrived, there was no evident solstitial orientation at Stonehenge. Yet after the earthen enclosure built several centuries earlier had fallen into disuse, and the timber posts standing in the Aubrey Holes had rotted away, a few people came here to make offerings of animals, tools and even human cremations. These were placed in the ditch, in the (now empty) Aubrey Holes, and were not placed randomly. There are concentrations in the directions of most northerly and most southerly moonrise, suggesting that Stonehenge and the Moon the motions of the Moon were a concern even at this early stage. (See the discussion on major and minor lunar standstills in the panel “Ancient Skies”.)

Fred Hoyle famously endorsed the idea that the 56 Aubrey Holes could have been used to predict eclipses by moving marker posts around according to certain rules. This idea does not stand up to scrutiny. For one thing, this could only predict eclipse danger periods – very different from predicting actual eclipses, for which the device would have been unreliable. For another, there exist several other Neolithic sites containing pit circles and they have widely ranging numbers of holes. Finally, the Aubrey Holes most likely held a circle of timber posts, predating the later constructions in stone, that mimicked older woodworking techniques.
SOURCE: Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy. Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site

Stonehenge sky visible around the world.
Enjoy a personal Stonehenge sky all year round, thanks to a new live feed of the sky above the ancient monument. The live feed gives us a chance to see the sky above Stonehenge from within the monument, whenever you like. On the website, we can gaze at the sky above the stone circle and track the path of other planets in our solar system. You can visit the website at any time of the day or night to see what it’s like inside the stone circle, with 360 degree views.
Experience it for yourself at www.stonehengeskyscape.co.uk

Relevant Stonehenge Links:
Stonehenge and other stone monuments were probably used for special moonlit ceremonies. STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy. STONEHENGE AND AVEBURY WORLD HERITAGE SITES
Stonehenge Full Moon Guided Walking Tours. Explore the landscape with a local historian and astronomer. STONEHENGE GUIDED TOURS
Stonehenge Dronescapes. Amazing photos of Stonehenge. STONEHENGE DRONESCAPES
Celestial Stonehenge. The Moon, Planets and Stars. ENGLISH HERITAGE
Moving on from Stonehenge: Researchers make the case for archaeoastronomy. STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge: The ancient SUPERCOMPUTER used to track movement of the universe. THE DAILY EXPRESS
Visit Stonehenge with an expert tour guide. STONEHENGE TOURS
Full Moon Rise at Stonehenge. SILENT EARTH
U.K Moon Phase Calendar. MOONPHASE

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





2021 Stonehenge Full Moon Dates

9 01 2020

Was it a Neolithic calendar? A solar temple? A lunar observatory? A calculating device for predicting eclipses?
Or perhaps a combination of more than one of these? In recent years Stonehenge has become the very icon of ancient astronomy, featuring in nearly every discussion on the subject. And yet there are those who persist in believing that it actually had little or no connection with astronomy at all.

Stonehenge is situated on the edge of Salisbury Plain, the Landscape occupies a large, sparsely populated area ideal for stargazing.   These dark skies provide the perfect environment to see the stars in all their detail, so why not organise a night-time trip to see what you can discover?

Stonehenge Full Moon

Full Moon setting over Stonehenge. Photo credit to Stonehenge Dronescapes

FULL MOON 2021
December 30th  2021:  Full Cold Moon
January 28th  2021:  Full Wolf Moon
February 27th 2021: Full Snow Moon
March 28th 2021: Full Worm Moon
April 26th 2021: Full Pink Moon
May 26th 2021: Full Flower Moon
June 24th 2021: Full Strawberry Moon
July 23rd 2021: Full Black Moon
August 22nd 2021: Full Sturgeon Moon
September 20th 2021: Full Corn Moon
October 20th 2021: Full Blue Moon
November 18th 2021: Full Beaver Moon
December 18th 2021: Full Cold Moon

Stonehenge is one of the most impressive and best known prehistoric stone monuments
in the world. Ever since antiquarians’ accounts began to bring the site to wider attention
in the 17th century, there has been endless speculation about its likely purpose and meaning, and a recurring theme has been its possible connections with astronomy and the skies.

Stonehenge sky visible around the world.
Enjoy a personal Stonehenge sky all year round, thanks to a new live feed of the sky above the ancient monument.
The live feed gives us a chance to see the sky above Stonehenge from within the monument, whenever you like. On the website, we can gaze at the sky above the stone circle and track the path of other planets in our solar system.
You can visit the website at any time of the day or night to see what it’s like inside the stone circle, with 360 degree views.
Experience it for yourself at www.stonehengeskyscape.co.uk

Related links:
2021- Lunar Phases
2021 Astro Moon Calendar shows phases of the Moon each day, astronomical events and astrological forecast for the year.
Stonehenge and other stone monuments were probably used for special moonlit ceremonies.
Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy. Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
Stonehenge Full Moon Guided Walking Tours.  Explore the landscape with a local historian and astronomer.
Stonehenge Dronescapes. Amazing photos of Stonehenge. Visit the Facebookpage
Stonehenge Dronescapes YouTube channel

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





Celebrate the stars above Stonehenge this half-term.

11 10 2019

Enjoy a closer look at the relationship between Stonehenge and the skies above the monument this October half term with moon filled family fun.

MOON MAYHEM AT HALF-TERMStonehenge Full Moon

Running throughout the day at the Stonehenge visitor centre, this drop-in activity explores our long held fascination with the moon in a lively show that covers everything from werewolves to Galileo, and from H G Wells to Neil Armstrong – with a lot of fast-paced costume changes.

Families of all ages will enjoy this two-man show, taking place at the Stonehenge visitor centre.

This season of celestial themed events marks the anniversary of the moon landing and the launch of SkyScape,

Saturday 26th October – Sunday 3rd November
No booking required for Moon Mayhem, although advance booking for Stonehenge admission tickets is recommended.  Visit the English Heritage website for full details

Can’t make it to Stonehenge this half term?  You can still soak up the atmosphere thanks to Skyscape, a new feed of the sky above the Stones.  Skygazers from all over the world can experience sunrise over the ancient monument , and see the journey of the moon and stars from within the stone circle any time of the day or night by visiting www.Stonehengeskyscape.co.uk

STONEHENGE AND AVEBURY WORLD HERITAGE SITE, AND ITS ASTRONOMICAL IMPORTANCE: 20th NOVEMBER 2019 – Click here
More English Heritage Stonehenge Events – click here
National Trust Stonehenge Landscape Events – Click here
Guided Tours of Stonehenge from London, Bath and Salisbury – Click here
Solar Astronomy at Stonehenge Blog – Click here

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





Stonehenge Full Moon Dates 2019

1 01 2019

Was it a Neolithic calendar? A solar temple? A lunar observatory? A calculating device forpredicting eclipses?
Or perhaps a combination of more than one of these? In recent years Stonehenge has become the very icon of ancient astronomy, featuring in nearly every discussion on the subject. And yet there are those who persist in believing that it actually had little or no connection with astronomy at all.

IMG_4552-eclipse

Stonehenge is one of the most impressive and best known prehistoric stone monuments
in the world. Ever since antiquarians’ accounts began to bring the site to wider attention
in the 17th century, there has been endless speculation about its likely purpose and meaning, and a recurring theme has been its possible connections with astronomy and the skies.

FULL MOON 2019

January 21st  2019 Monday

February 19th 2019 Tuesday
March 21st 2019 Thursday
April 19th 2019 Friday
May 18th 2019 Saturday
June 17th 2019 Monday
July 16th 2019 Tuesday
August 15th 2019 Tuesday
September 14th 2019 Saturday
October 13th 2019 Sunday
November 12th  2019 Tuesday
December 12th 2019 Thursday
January 10th 2020 Friday

Related links:
2019 Lunar Phases
Astro Moon Calendar shows phases of the Moon each day, astronomical events and astrological forecast for the year.
Stonehenge and other stone monuments were probably used for special moonlit ceremonies.
Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy. Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
Stonehenge Full Moon Guided Walking Tours.  Explore the landscape with a local historian and astronomer.

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily Stonehenge Sunset / Sunrise / Moonrise / Moonset times.

 





Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy

4 06 2018

Stonehenge is one of the most impressive and best known prehistoric stone monuments in the world.

sun

Ever since antiquarians’ accounts began to bring the site to wider attention in the 17th century, there has been endless speculation about its likely purpose and meaning, and a recurring theme has been its possible connections with astronomy and the skies. Was it a Neolithic calendar? A solar temple? A lunar observatory? A calculating device for predicting eclipses? Or perhaps a combination of more than one of these? In recent years Stonehenge has become the very icon of ancient astronomy, featuring in nearly every discussion on the subject. And yet there are those who persist in believing that it actually had little or no connection with astronomy at all. A more informed picture has been obtained in recent years by combining evidence from archaeology and astronomy within the new interdiscipline of archaeoastronomy – the study of beliefs and practices concerning the sky in the past and the uses to which people’s knowledge of the skies were put. This leaflet attempts to summarize the evidence that the Stonehenge monument was constructed by communities with a clear interest in the sky above them.

This leaflet is one of a series produced by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). An electronic version is available for download at http://www.ras.org.uk.
To find out about modern astronomy in Britain see http://www.astronomy2009.co.uk

Download the PDF here

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News





2018 Moon Phases for Stonehenge. #FullMoon #Calendar

14 01 2018

Ancient peoples had the benefit of dark skies and experienced the full spectacle of the starry heavens. The Moon gave light at night and would have been particularly useful in the two weeks centred on full Moon. The regular monthly cycle of lunar phases provided a convenient measure of time, upon which many ancient calendars were based.

Was it a Neolithic calendar? A solar temple? A lunar observatory? A calculating device for predicting eclipses? Or perhaps a combination of more than one of these? In recent years
Stonehenge has become the very icon of ancient astronomy, featuring in nearly every discussion on the subject.
A more informed picture has been obtained in recent years by combining evidence from archaeology and astronomy within the new interdiscipline of archaeoastronomy – the
study of beliefs and practices concerning the sky in the past and the uses to which people’s knowledge of the skies were put.

Lunation New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Third Quarter Duration
1175 2 Jan 02:24 8 Jan 22:25 29d 19h 47m
1176 17 Jan 02:17 24 Jan 22:20 31 Jan 13:26 7 Feb 15:53 29d 18h 48m
1177 15 Feb 21:05 23 Feb 08:09 2 Mar 00:51 9 Mar 11:19 29d 16h 06m
1178 17 Mar 13:11 24 Mar 15:35 31 Mar 13:36 8 Apr 08:17 29d 12h 46m
1179 16 Apr 02:57 22 Apr 22:45 30 Apr 01:58 8 May 03:08 29d 9h 51m
1180 15 May 12:47 22 May 04:49 29 May 15:19 6 Jun 19:31 29d 7h 55m
1181 13 Jun 20:43 20 Jun 11:50 28 Jun 05:53 6 Jul 08:50 29d 7h 05m
1182 13 Jul 03:47 19 Jul 20:52 27 Jul 21:20 4 Aug 19:17 29d 7h 10m
1183 11 Aug 10:57 18 Aug 08:48 26 Aug 12:56 3 Sep 03:37 29d 8h 04m
1184 9 Sep 19:01 17 Sep 00:14 25 Sep 03:52 2 Oct 10:45 29d 9h 45m
1185 9 Oct 04:46 16 Oct 19:01 24 Oct 17:45 31 Oct 16:40 29d 12h 15m
1186 7 Nov 16:01 15 Nov 14:54 23 Nov 05:39 30 Nov 00:18 29d 15h 18m
1187 7 Dec 07:20 15 Dec 11:49 22 Dec 17:48 29 Dec 09:34 29d 18h 08m
* All times are local time for Stonehenge. Dates are based on the Gregorian calendar.
Source: Time and Date

Stonehenge Links:

Astro Moon Calendar shows phases of the Moon each day, astronomical events and astrological forecast for the year.
Stonehenge and other stone monuments were probably used for special moonlit ceremonies.
Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy. Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site
Stonehenge Full Moon Guided Walking Tours.  Explore the landscape with a local historian and astronomer.
All eyes on the sky! We’ll see a supermoon, blue Moon, and blood Moon all in one night!
How to see the super blue moon, a cosmic event you won’t want to miss

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily Stonehenge Sunset / Sunrise / Moonrise / Moonset times.

 





Biggest full moon for 60 years! At Stonehenge and in the UK #Supermoon

14 11 2016

STARGAZERS at Stonehenge and around the world are looking forward to catching a glimpse of the biggest supermoon in nearly 70 years.

Tonight’s supermoon will be particularly large because it is the first time that the full img_4552moon has come this close to Earth since 1948.

Make sure you look up to the night’s sky this evening because there will not be another supermoon as big and bright as this one until 2034.

The best time to see Monday’s supermoon in the UK will be at around 4.45pm – but a sighting will depend on the weather.

But the moon will actually be at its closest – 356,509km away – at 11.21am this morning.

NASA said that the biggest and brightest moon for American stargazers will be on Monday morning just before dawn.

A Met Office spokesman said: “Monday evening and overnight Monday night is the best chance to spot it in Europe.”

Although the sky may be cloudy in Wiltshire, he said that there are likely to be cloud breaks.

What is a supermoon?

Ever looked up at the night sky to see a full moon so close you could almost touch it? Well done, you’ve spotted a supermoon.

The impressive sight happens when a full moon is closest to Earth. It orbits our planet in an oval shape so sometimes it comes closer to us than at other times. To us Earth-lings, the moon appears 30 per cent brighter and 14 per cent bigger.

By the way, supermoon is not an astrological term. It’s scientific name is perigee-syzygy, but supermoon is more catchy, and is used by the media to describe our celestial neighbour when it gets up close.

Astrologer Richard Nolle first came up with the term and he defined it as “… a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit”, according to earthsky.org.

How can I see it? 

The best time to view it in the UK will be when the sun is setting in the late afternoon. The closer to the horizon it is, the bigger it will appear.

Pick a place with the least light pollution. Paul Thomsett, chairman of the South East Kent Astronomical Society said: “As long as the skies are clear and you have a good view to the south you will have no trouble seeing our nearest celestial neighbour blazing in the night sky.”

The Stonehenge Guided Tour Company offer Stonehenge ‘Full Moon’ walking tours with a local astronomer and Stonehenge expert

Full Moon (SuperMoon) Links Links:
What is a supermoon, when can I see the largest moon in 69 years and will it be cloudy where I live? (Telegraph)
Watch the Moon rise at Stonehenge with local astronomer tour guide (The Stonehenge Guided Tour Company)
‘Supermoon’ viewers to get closest glimpse since 1948 (BBC)
Catch a glimpse of the biggest supermoon for 70 years in the UK TONIGHT (Express)Full Moon Rise at Stonehenge:  (Silent Earth Blog)

“Weather permitting it will be visible without the need for a telescope in Wilsthire.”

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge news.





Solar Astronomy at Stonehenge

4 11 2016

Most people are aware that Stonehenge is somehow aligned to the annual movements of the Sun.

Each year thousands of pilgrims, druids and party-goers gather in celebration, hoping to Stonehenge Avenue.jpgwitness the most famous of these – the Summer Solstice Sunrise on June 21st.

At this time of year, as seen from the centre of the monument, the Sun rises in the same direction as the centre-line of the Avenue – the ancient processional approach to Stonehenge – towards the northeast.

The Stonehenge Avenue alignment was first pointed out by William Stukeley in 1740.

Even though almost everyone believes the Heel Stone was put up by the builders to exactly mark the summer solstice sunrise position, this can’t be true because it stands off to the right hand side of the alignment.

Today the Sun seems to rise out of the top of the Heel Stone due to the modern trees that are on the horizon.

heel-stone-sunrise

Walking up the Avenue they would have seen the Sun setting exactly into the middle of the stones between the uprights of the tallest trilithon in the southwest. We can still experience this today, even though only one upright of that trilithon – Stone 56, the tallest stone on the site – remains in place.

There’s a secondary alignment too – from Winter Solstice Sunrise to Summer Solstice Sunset.

This was first described by Prof. Gordon Freeman in 1997 and it makes use of a “notch” in the edge of Stone 58 of the western trilithon to give a clear sightline across the stone circle.

Viewed through this notch, Winter Solstice Sunrise is seen over Coneybury Hill to the southeast…

winter-solstice-sunrise

If they weren’t there, sunrise would be almost a Sun’s width to the left – and 4,500 years ago the Sun would have risen a whole degree further over to the left.

Even though the Heel Stone wasn’t intended as the solstice sunrise marker, the sight is still magnificent – when the weather cooperates.

Along the same alignment, but exactly in the opposite direction, lies the Winter Solstice Sunset point.

… and Summer Solstice Sunset is seen over Fargo Wood to the northwest.

What’s remarkable about these alignments through the circle is that they intersect over the centre of the Altar Stone (shown as Stone 80 in the plan below). The Altar Stone is not perpendicular to the main alignment but is offset so that it lies exactly along the secondary one.

image description

The intersection angle of 80° between summer and winter solstice sunrises at this latitude is echoed in the large gold lozenge discovered in 1808 when the Bronze Age “shamanic” burial from Bush Barrow, just south of Stonehenge, was excavated.

The intersection angle of 80° between summer and winter solstice sunrises at this latitude is echoed in the large gold lozenge discovered in 1808 when the Bronze Age “shamanic” burial from Bush Barrow, just south of Stonehenge, was excavated.bush-barrow-lozenge
Some see this as coincidence. Others believe the lozenge shows that the knowledge of this important astronomical angle was passed down the generations for at least 600 years.

The lozenge and the other astonishing Bush Barrow finds are on display at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

There are Stonehenge lunar alignments too, but that will be the subject of a different article.

Article by guest blogger and local Stonehenge historian Simon Banton

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge news and discoveries





Orionid meteor shower 2016 to light up Wiltshire skies this October

9 10 2016

The Orionid meteor shower will be at its peak — 20 showers per hour — in the morning of  21st October 2016.

Sky gazers in the United Kingdom can brace themselves for a visual feast, thanks to the meteor shower that will light up the sky this October.

meteor-shower

A general view of Stonehenge during the annual Perseid meteor shower in the night sky in Salisbury Plain, southern England August 13, 2013. The Perseid meteor shower is sparked every August when the Earth passes through a stream of space debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. Picture taken using a long exposure. [Representational image] Reuters

The meteor shower is called Orionid and originates from the remains of the Halley’s Comet. The shower is likely to take place from October 2 to November 7, a Science Alert report said.

The Earth passes through the Halley’s Comet trail twice annually. The last time the planet passed through the trail of Halley’s Comet was in May and Eta Aquarids meteor shower was observed.

The meteor shower will be at its peak — 20 showers per hour — in the morning of October 21 2016. However, scientists have said that the shower will be seen at pre-dawn from today up to October 15, as the moon is likely to hinder the visibility later on.

Various planets, stars and constellations can be observed this month along with the meteor shower. Uranus will be visible opposite the Sun in the east post sunset on October 15 and the full moon will aid the visibility.

Jupiter will be spotted along with its moon with naked eyes during dawn in the east on October 28. Saturn and Venus too will be seen too in the low south-west skies on October 30 and Venus will be more luminous than Saturn.

Aldebaran, the orange star which is known as the bull’s red eye of the constellation Taurus, might be seen in the dark skies on October 18. Also, radiant stars Alpha Leonis and Eta Leonis from constellation Leo can be seen before sunrise on October 25, National Geographic reported.

Article Source and more stories: International Business Times

The Stonehenge News Blog

""

 





Moon Phases for Stonehenge, Wiltshire 2016

23 01 2016

moon-phase

Lunation New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Third Quarter Duration
1150 2 Jan 05:30 29d 15h 01m
1151 10 Jan 01:30 16 Jan 23:26 24 Jan 01:45 1 Feb 03:27 29d 13h 08m
1152 8 Feb 14:38 15 Feb 07:46 22 Feb 18:19 1 Mar 23:10 29d 11h 16m
1153 9 Mar 01:54 15 Mar 17:02 23 Mar 12:00 31 Mar 16:16 29d 9h 29m
1154 7 Apr 12:23 14 Apr 04:59 22 Apr 06:23 30 Apr 04:28 29d 8h 06m
1155 6 May 20:29 13 May 18:02 21 May 22:14 29 May 13:11 29d 7h 30m
1156 5 Jun 03:59 12 Jun 09:09 20 Jun 12:02 27 Jun 19:18 29d 8h 01m
1157 4 Jul 12:00 12 Jul 01:51 19 Jul 23:56 26 Jul 23:59 29d 9h 44m
1158 2 Aug 21:44 10 Aug 19:20 18 Aug 10:26 25 Aug 04:40 29d 12h 19m
1159 1 Sep 10:03 9 Sep 12:48 16 Sep 20:05 23 Sep 10:56 29d 15h 08m
1160 1 Oct 01:11 9 Oct 05:32 16 Oct 05:23 22 Oct 20:13 29d 17h 27m
1161 30 Oct 17:38 7 Nov 19:51 14 Nov 13:52 21 Nov 08:33 29d 18h 40m
1162 29 Nov 12:18 7 Dec 09:02 14 Dec 00:05 21 Dec 01:55 29d 18h 35m
1163 29 Dec 06:53 29d 17h 14m
* All times are local time Stonehenge. Time is adjusted for DST when applicable. Dates are based on the Gregorian calendar.

Links:
http://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/uk/london
http://www.calendar-uk.co.uk/lunar-calendar/
http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/why-was-stonehenge-built

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily Sunrise and Moon phase times

 








%d bloggers like this: