Vernal (Spring) Equinox at Stonehenge.

25 02 2017

The Spring Equinox in 2017 falls on March 20th and occurs at 10:28am GMT. The time is for the instant when the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving northwards and has a celestial longitude of 0°. Everywhere on Earth has a day and night of almost equal length and it marks the beginning of the northern spring season.

Druids and Pagans enjoying the Equinox sunrise celebrations at Stonehenge.

Druids and Pagans enjoying the Equinox sunrise celebrations at Stonehenge. Copyright

There is considerable debate in the archaeoastronomy community as to whether the Equinox had any special meaning for the builders of Stonehenge. They had no accurate clocks by which they could determine when the day and night were almost exactly equal and discovering the mid-point between the Winter and Summer solstice can be done in a couple of obvious ways.

You can count the days and divide by two. Or you can mark the summer and winter sunrise positions along the horizon and divide that line into two equal parts. These two methods give different results.

For example, counting the days between Winter Solstice 2016 (December 21st) and Summer Solstice 2017 (June 21st) gives 182 days. Half of that is 91, meaning the midpoint would fall on March 22nd 2017 – two days after the actual Equinox.

north_season

The time is for the instant when the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving northwards and has a celestial longitude of 0°

 

Using the “divide the horizon” approach causes an additional problem – at the Solstices do you mark the first gleam of the Sun appearing, the point when half of it is above the horizon or when it has fully risen and the full orb is standing exactly on the horizon?

The difference in position between using “first gleam” and “full orb” is about 1.5° because the Sun rises at an angle. As a result the halfway position could be 0.75° different depending on your choice and that is one and a half times the width of the Sun’s disc, potentially putting your Equinox out by a day or so.

In any event, there is no alignment through Stonehenge for the Equinox and what’s more there isn’t even a clear sightline directly through the monument that runs true East-West towards the Equinox sunrise position, in the way that there are clear sightlines for the Solstice sunrises and sunsets.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get a nice photo of an equinox sunrise when it’s clear, because you can.

equinox-sunrise

English Heritage Charitable Trust allows everyone in to the centre of the monument for the Spring Equinox sunrise, in the same way that they do for the Autumn Equinox and the two Solstices, through their “Managed Open Access” events. It’s one of only four occasions in the year when open access is allowed.

It’s worth checking with their customer services department (0370 333 1181) a week or so ahead because sometimes they set the actual day of the open access to be different to the day when the Equinox occurs.

Equinox open accesses attract fewer people than the Solstices – in the several hundreds rather than tens of thousands – and there are modern Druid ceremonies which are held in the circle around dawn, so if you prefer a quieter experience then attending an Equinox is a good choice.

If you do visit Stonehenge on the Equinox please respect the special terms of entry and read this blog: ‘Respecting the Stones’

If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Solstice or Equinox celebrations you can join a specialist organised small group tour.  Use a only a reputable tour operator who respect the conditions of entry.  Stonehenge Guided Tours are the longest established company offering award winning discreet tours from London. Solstice Events offer small group sunrise tours using only local expert guides.

Article by guest blogger and local Stonehenge historian Simon Banton

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http://www.Stonehenge.News





Visiting Stonehenge this year for the Equinox or Solstice Celebrations? #ManagedOpenAccess

28 01 2017

Respecting the Stones
The conditions of entry for the Managed Open Access events at the Solstices and Equinoxes contain the following statements:

Stonehenge is a world renowned historic Monument and part of a World Heritage Site. It is seen by many who attend as a sacred place.  Please respect it and please respect each other.

Do not climb or stand on any of the stones – this includes the stones that have fallen.  This is in the interest of personal safety, the protection of this special site and respect for those attending.  As well as putting the stones themselves at risk, climbing on them can damage the delicate lichens.

… but some people seem happy to ignore these requests. I’m going to take a little time to explain that, strange as it may seem, the monument is actually quite delicate and damage to it does occur.

Sunrise at Stonehenge on the summer solstice

The popularity of the summer solstice has grown over the years

In 1953 during an archaeological investigation a set of carvings were noticed on the inner face of one of the stones of the central trilithons (Stone 53, to be precise). These carvings weren’t the usual graffiti that’ve been incised into many of the stones over the last 200 years or so – people’s names, initials, dates and so on. They were in fact very ancient indeed, dating back to the middle Bronze Age around 1700BC and were of bronze axe heads and a dagger.

Here’s a photo from 1953 showing the ancient carvings, followed by a more recent one:

atkinson-croppedstone-53-modern

The ancient carvings are noticeably “softer” around the edges in the modern shot and this is largely due to the action of people’s fingers tracing their outlines over the course of the last 63 years. Sarsen may be hard, but it’s still a sandstone.

Some bluestones exist only as stumps and many are fallen. These get trampled over by thousands of feet at the solstices and equinoxes, and many have acquired a polish as a result.

One of two examples of bluestone are so soft that they crumble away at a touch and these have eroded down to stumps that barely break the surface of the ground.

It’s been a while since tourists were rented hammers by the local blacksmith so they could take souvenirs, but it’s not unknown even in modern times for people to try it.

vandals

Although deliberate damage is rare, it does happen. At the 2014 Summer Solstice, someone thought it’d be a good idea to start writing the date (in US format – 6.21.14) in letters about 3” high, using a marker pen, near the bottom of Stone 3.
stone-3-graffiti
This damage is permanent. The ink has been carried deep into the stone surface and the conservators have been unable to remove it.

At the winter solstice that year, another bright spark decided to annoint the sides of about a dozen stones with some kind of oil, leaving dark streaks over 18” long that will take decades to fade. If you’re going to annoint the stones with anything, then use pure spring water and not some nasty goo you’ve bought off eBay.

Thoughtless damage happens every year – candlewax from spilt tealights, rubbings with crayon that goes through the paper, forcing random items like crystals or coins into crevices, digging in the ground and even trying to light a fire on a stone.

Disrespectful damage – vomiting, urinating or even defecating on the stones – is less common but also occurs. It’s hard to imagine the kind of person who thinks that sort of behaviour is acceptable anywhere, let alone at our most famous ancient monument.

Stonehenge Summer Solsice

While standing on the stones is bad enough, climbing up them is far worse.

 

The fuzzy grey-green lichen that coats the upper reaches of most of the sarsen stones is a species called Sea Ivory (Ramalina Siliquosa) and usually only grows on marine cliffs, particularly in southwest England and Wales. It’s very easily knocked off by people brushing against the stones and large areas are destroyed by someone sliding back down having scaled any of the uprights.

There are at least 9 marine cliff species of lichen present, and how they ended up 50km from the sea is something of a mystery.

The last major study of the Stonehenge lichens was carried out in 2003. It found 77 different species, including two that are found in a particular recess of one specific stone and nowhere else on site, and another that only grows on one single stone at Stonehenge and nowhere else in southern England.

So the next time you decide to come along to an Open Access Equinox or Solstice Dawn, please be one of the people who understands how fragile the monument is and who treats it with respect.

Tell your friends too and – even better – if you find any litter that other people have dropped, please pick it up and put it in one of the bins.  Please share this article on social media and help raise awareness.

The stones, the ancestors, and the staff who do the tidying up after you’ve gone home and who genuinely love Stonehenge, all thank you! (This article was submitted with thanks by Simon Banton who worked at the monument for many years)

Stonehenge is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act and you must adhere to the regulations outlined in the act or face criminal prosecution. No person may touch, lean against, stand on or climb the stones, or disturb the ground in any way. The Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (as it then was). It was introduced by John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, recognising the need for a governmental administration on the protection of ancient monuments – more information

If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Solstice or Equinox celebrations you can join an organised tour.  Use a reputable tour operator who respect the conditions.  Stonehenge Guided Tours are the longest established company and Solstice Events offer small group Solstice tours using only local expert guides.

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

 

 





The Stonehenge Calendar. Sunrise and Sunset Times 2015

21 07 2015

Stonehenge was primarily a functional scientific instrument, used for measuring angles.  The angles of interest were the rising and setting bearings of the sun, moon, and stars.  It was therefore possible, over a period of time, to map the entire visible sky. Please find below accurate times for the sunset, sunrise and the moon phases.

Stonehenge Sunrise

July 2015
Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1

Sunrise: 4:56am
Sunset: 9:26pm
Moonrise: 8:33pm
Moonset: 4:39am
2

Sunrise: 4:56am
Sunset: 9:26pm
Moonrise: 9:22pm
Moonset: 5:39am
3

Sunrise: 4:57am
Sunset: 9:26pm
Moonrise: 10:05pm
Moonset: 6:46am
4

Sunrise: 4:58am
Sunset: 9:25pm
Moonrise: 10:42pm
Moonset: 7:59am
5

Sunrise: 4:59am
Sunset: 9:25pm
Moonrise: 11:14pm
Moonset: 9:15am
6

Sunrise: 5:00am
Sunset: 9:24pm
Moonrise: 11:44pm
Moonset: 10:32am
7

Sunrise: 5:00am
Sunset: 9:24pm
Moonrise: none
Moonset: 11:49am
8

Sunrise: 5:01am
Sunset: 9:23pm
Moonrise: 12:12am
Moonset: 1:05pm
9

Sunrise: 5:02am
Sunset: 9:23pm
Moonrise: 12:41am
Moonset: 2:20pm
10

Sunrise: 5:03am
Sunset: 9:22pm
Moonrise: 1:11am
Moonset: 3:33pm
11

Sunrise: 5:04am
Sunset: 9:21pm
Moonrise: 1:45am
Moonset: 4:44pm
12

Sunrise: 5:05am
Sunset: 9:20pm
Moonrise: 2:23am
Moonset: 5:50pm
13

Sunrise: 5:06am
Sunset: 9:20pm
Moonrise: 3:07am
Moonset: 6:50pm
14

Sunrise: 5:08am
Sunset: 9:19pm
Moonrise: 3:57am
Moonset: 7:43pm
15

Sunrise: 5:09am
Sunset: 9:18pm
Moonrise: 4:52am
Moonset: 8:28pm
16

Sunrise: 5:10am
Sunset: 9:17pm
Moonrise: 5:52am
Moonset: 9:06pm
17

Sunrise: 5:11am
Sunset: 9:16pm
Moonrise: 6:54am
Moonset: 9:39pm
18

Sunrise: 5:12am
Sunset: 9:15pm
Moonrise: 7:57am
Moonset: 10:07pm
19

Sunrise: 5:13am
Sunset: 9:14pm
Moonrise: 9:00am
Moonset: 10:32pm
20

Sunrise: 5:15am
Sunset: 9:13pm
Moonrise: 10:03am
Moonset: 10:55pm
21

Sunrise: 5:16am
Sunset: 9:11pm
Moonrise: 11:05am
Moonset: 11:18pm
22

Sunrise: 5:17am
Sunset: 9:10pm
Moonrise: 12:07pm
Moonset: 11:42pm
23

Sunrise: 5:19am
Sunset: 9:09pm
Moonrise: 1:09pm
Moonset: none
24

Sunrise: 5:20am
Sunset: 9:08pm
Moonrise: 2:12pm
Moonset: 12:06am
25

Sunrise: 5:21am
Sunset: 9:06pm
Moonrise: 3:15pm
Moonset: 12:34am
26

Sunrise: 5:23am
Sunset: 9:05pm
Moonrise: 4:19pm
Moonset: 1:05am
27

Sunrise: 5:24am
Sunset: 9:04pm
Moonrise: 5:20pm
Moonset: 1:42am
28

Sunrise: 5:26am
Sunset: 9:02pm
Moonrise: 6:19pm
Moonset: 2:27am
29

Sunrise: 5:27am
Sunset: 9:01pm
Moonrise: 7:11pm
Moonset: 3:22am
30

Sunrise: 5:28am
Sunset: 8:59pm
Moonrise: 7:58pm
Moonset: 4:25am
31

Sunrise: 5:30am
Sunset: 8:58pm
Moonrise: 8:39pm
Moonset: 5:36am

August 2015

Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1

Sunrise: 5:31am
Sunset: 8:56pm
Moonrise: 9:14pm
Moonset: 6:53am
2

Sunrise: 5:33am
Sunset: 8:54pm
Moonrise: 9:46pm
Moonset: 8:12am
3

Sunrise: 5:34am
Sunset: 8:53pm
Moonrise: 10:16pm
Moonset: 9:31am
4

Sunrise: 5:36am
Sunset: 8:51pm
Moonrise: 10:45pm
Moonset: 10:50am
5

Sunrise: 5:37am
Sunset: 8:49pm
Moonrise: 11:16pm
Moonset: 12:07pm
6

Sunrise: 5:39am
Sunset: 8:48pm
Moonrise: 11:48pm
Moonset: 1:23pm
7

Sunrise: 5:40am
Sunset: 8:46pm
Moonrise: none
Moonset: 2:35pm
8

Sunrise: 5:42am
Sunset: 8:44pm
Moonrise: 12:25am
Moonset: 3:42pm
9

Sunrise: 5:43am
Sunset: 8:42pm
Moonrise: 1:06am
Moonset: 4:44pm
10

Sunrise: 5:45am
Sunset: 8:41pm
Moonrise: 1:54am
Moonset: 5:39pm
11

Sunrise: 5:47am
Sunset: 8:39pm
Moonrise: 2:46am
Moonset: 6:26pm
12

Sunrise: 5:48am
Sunset: 8:37pm
Moonrise: 3:44am
Moonset: 7:06pm
13

Sunrise: 5:50am
Sunset: 8:35pm
Moonrise: 4:44am
Moonset: 7:40pm
14

Sunrise: 5:51am
Sunset: 8:33pm
Moonrise: 5:46am
Moonset: 8:09pm
15

Sunrise: 5:53am
Sunset: 8:31pm
Moonrise: 6:49am
Moonset: 8:36pm
16

Sunrise: 5:54am
Sunset: 8:29pm
Moonrise: 7:52am
Moonset: 9:00pm
17

Sunrise: 5:56am
Sunset: 8:27pm
Moonrise: 8:54am
Moonset: 9:23pm
18

Sunrise: 5:57am
Sunset: 8:25pm
Moonrise: 9:56am
Moonset: 9:47pm
19

Sunrise: 5:59am
Sunset: 8:23pm
Moonrise: 10:58am
Moonset: 10:11pm
20

Sunrise: 6:01am
Sunset: 8:21pm
Moonrise: 12:00pm
Moonset: 10:37pm
21

Sunrise: 6:02am
Sunset: 8:19pm
Moonrise: 1:02pm
Moonset: 11:06pm
22

Sunrise: 6:04am
Sunset: 8:17pm
Moonrise: 2:04pm
Moonset: 11:40pm
23

Sunrise: 6:05am
Sunset: 8:15pm
Moonrise: 3:05pm
Moonset: none
24

Sunrise: 6:07am
Sunset: 8:13pm
Moonrise: 4:04pm
Moonset: 12:20am
25

Sunrise: 6:08am
Sunset: 8:11pm
Moonrise: 4:58pm
Moonset: 1:08am
26

Sunrise: 6:10am
Sunset: 8:09pm
Moonrise: 5:48pm
Moonset: 2:06am
27

Sunrise: 6:12am
Sunset: 8:07pm
Moonrise: 6:31pm
Moonset: 3:12am
28

Sunrise: 6:13am
Sunset: 8:04pm
Moonrise: 7:09pm
Moonset: 4:25am
29

Sunrise: 6:15am
Sunset: 8:02pm
Moonrise: 7:43pm
Moonset: 5:43am
30

Sunrise: 6:16am
Sunset: 8:00pm
Moonrise: 8:15pm
Moonset: 7:04am
31

Sunrise: 6:18am
Sunset: 7:58pm
Moonrise: 8:45pm
Moonset: 8:25am

September 2015

Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1

Sunrise: 6:19am
Sunset: 7:56pm
Moonrise: 9:16pm
Moonset: 9:46am
2

Sunrise: 6:21am
Sunset: 7:54pm
Moonrise: 9:49pm
Moonset: 11:05am
3

Sunrise: 6:23am
Sunset: 7:51pm
Moonrise: 10:25pm
Moonset: 12:21pm
4

Sunrise: 6:24am
Sunset: 7:49pm
Moonrise: 11:06pm
Moonset: 1:32pm
5

Sunrise: 6:26am
Sunset: 7:47pm
Moonrise: 11:52pm
Moonset: 2:37pm
6

Sunrise: 6:27am
Sunset: 7:45pm
Moonrise: none
Moonset: 3:35pm
7

Sunrise: 6:29am
Sunset: 7:42pm
Moonrise: 12:43am
Moonset: 4:24pm
8

Sunrise: 6:30am
Sunset: 7:40pm
Moonrise: 1:39am
Moonset: 5:06pm
9

Sunrise: 6:32am
Sunset: 7:38pm
Moonrise: 2:38am
Moonset: 5:42pm
10

Sunrise: 6:34am
Sunset: 7:36pm
Moonrise: 3:39am
Moonset: 6:12pm
11

Sunrise: 6:35am
Sunset: 7:33pm
Moonrise: 4:41am
Moonset: 6:40pm
12

Sunrise: 6:37am
Sunset: 7:31pm
Moonrise: 5:43am
Moonset: 7:04pm
13

Sunrise: 6:38am
Sunset: 7:29pm
Moonrise: 6:46am
Moonset: 7:28pm
14

Sunrise: 6:40am
Sunset: 7:27pm
Moonrise: 7:47am
Moonset: 7:51pm
15

Sunrise: 6:41am
Sunset: 7:24pm
Moonrise: 8:49am
Moonset: 8:15pm
16

Sunrise: 6:43am
Sunset: 7:22pm
Moonrise: 9:51am
Moonset: 8:40pm
17

Sunrise: 6:45am
Sunset: 7:20pm
Moonrise: 10:53am
Moonset: 9:08pm
18

Sunrise: 6:46am
Sunset: 7:17pm
Moonrise: 11:54am
Moonset: 9:40pm
19

Sunrise: 6:48am
Sunset: 7:15pm
Moonrise: 12:55pm
Moonset: 10:17pm
20

Sunrise: 6:49am
Sunset: 7:13pm
Moonrise: 1:53pm
Moonset: 11:01pm
21

Sunrise: 6:51am
Sunset: 7:11pm
Moonrise: 2:48pm
Moonset: 11:53pm
22

Sunrise: 6:52am
Sunset: 7:08pm
Moonrise: 3:38pm
Moonset: none
23

Sunrise: 6:54am
Sunset: 7:06pm
Moonrise: 4:23pm
Moonset: 12:53am
24

Sunrise: 6:56am
Sunset: 7:04pm
Moonrise: 5:02pm
Moonset: 2:01am
25

Sunrise: 6:57am
Sunset: 7:01pm
Moonrise: 5:38pm
Moonset: 3:15am
26

Sunrise: 6:59am
Sunset: 6:59pm
Moonrise: 6:10pm
Moonset: 4:33am
27

Sunrise: 7:00am
Sunset: 6:57pm
Moonrise: 6:41pm
Moonset: 5:54am
28

Sunrise: 7:02am
Sunset: 6:55pm
Moonrise: 7:12pm
Moonset: 7:16am
29

Sunrise: 7:04am
Sunset: 6:52pm
Moonrise: 7:45pm
Moonset: 8:37am
30

Sunrise: 7:05am
Sunset: 6:50pm
Moonrise: 8:20pm
Moonset: 9:57am

October 2015

Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1

Sunrise: 7:07am
Sunset: 6:48pm
Moonrise: 9:00pm
Moonset: 11:14am
2

Sunrise: 7:08am
Sunset: 6:45pm
Moonrise: 9:46pm
Moonset: 12:24pm
3

Sunrise: 7:10am
Sunset: 6:43pm
Moonrise: 10:36pm
Moonset: 1:27pm
4

Sunrise: 7:12am
Sunset: 6:41pm
Moonrise: 11:32pm
Moonset: 2:20pm
5

Sunrise: 7:13am
Sunset: 6:39pm
Moonrise: none
Moonset: 3:06pm
6

Sunrise: 7:15am
Sunset: 6:37pm
Moonrise: 12:31am
Moonset: 3:44pm
7

Sunrise: 7:16am
Sunset: 6:34pm
Moonrise: 1:32am
Moonset: 4:16pm
8

Sunrise: 7:18am
Sunset: 6:32pm
Moonrise: 2:34am
Moonset: 4:44pm
9

Sunrise: 7:20am
Sunset: 6:30pm
Moonrise: 3:36am
Moonset: 5:09pm
10

Sunrise: 7:21am
Sunset: 6:28pm
Moonrise: 4:38am
Moonset: 5:33pm
11

Sunrise: 7:23am
Sunset: 6:25pm
Moonrise: 5:40am
Moonset: 5:56pm
12

Sunrise: 7:25am
Sunset: 6:23pm
Moonrise: 6:42am
Moonset: 6:20pm
13

Sunrise: 7:26am
Sunset: 6:21pm
Moonrise: 7:44am
Moonset: 6:44pm
14

Sunrise: 7:28am
Sunset: 6:19pm
Moonrise: 8:46am
Moonset: 7:11pm
15

Sunrise: 7:30am
Sunset: 6:17pm
Moonrise: 9:48am
Moonset: 7:42pm
16

Sunrise: 7:31am
Sunset: 6:15pm
Moonrise: 10:49am
Moonset: 8:17pm
17

Sunrise: 7:33am
Sunset: 6:13pm
Moonrise: 11:47am
Moonset: 8:58pm
18

Sunrise: 7:35am
Sunset: 6:11pm
Moonrise: 12:43pm
Moonset: 9:47pm
19

Sunrise: 7:36am
Sunset: 6:08pm
Moonrise: 1:33pm
Moonset: 10:43pm
20

Sunrise: 7:38am
Sunset: 6:06pm
Moonrise: 2:19pm
Moonset: 11:46pm
21

Sunrise: 7:40am
Sunset: 6:04pm
Moonrise: 2:59pm
Moonset: none
22

Sunrise: 7:42am
Sunset: 6:02pm
Moonrise: 3:35pm
Moonset: 12:55am
23

Sunrise: 7:43am
Sunset: 6:00pm
Moonrise: 4:07pm
Moonset: 2:08am
24

Sunrise: 7:45am
Sunset: 5:58pm
Moonrise: 4:38pm
Moonset: 3:25am
25 DST Ends


Sunrise: 6:47am
Sunset: 4:56pm
Moonrise: 4:08pm
Moonset: 3:45am

26

Sunrise: 6:48am
Sunset: 4:54pm
Moonrise: 4:39pm
Moonset: 5:06am
27

Sunrise: 6:50am
Sunset: 4:52pm
Moonrise: 5:13pm
Moonset: 6:27am
28

Sunrise: 6:52am
Sunset: 4:51pm
Moonrise: 5:51pm
Moonset: 7:46am
29

Sunrise: 6:54am
Sunset: 4:49pm
Moonrise: 6:34pm
Moonset: 9:02am
30

Sunrise: 6:55am
Sunset: 4:47pm
Moonrise: 7:24pm
Moonset: 10:11am
31

Sunrise: 6:57am
Sunset: 4:45pm
Moonrise: 8:19pm
Moonset: 11:11am

November 2015

Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1

Sunrise: 6:59am
Sunset: 4:43pm
Moonrise: 9:19pm
Moonset: 12:01pm
2

Sunrise: 7:01am
Sunset: 4:41pm
Moonrise: 10:21pm
Moonset: 12:43pm
3

Sunrise: 7:02am
Sunset: 4:40pm
Moonrise: 11:24pm
Moonset: 1:18pm
4

Sunrise: 7:04am
Sunset: 4:38pm
Moonrise: none
Moonset: 1:48pm
5

Sunrise: 7:06am
Sunset: 4:36pm
Moonrise: 12:27am
Moonset: 2:14pm
6

Sunrise: 7:07am
Sunset: 4:34pm
Moonrise: 1:29am
Moonset: 2:38pm
7

Sunrise: 7:09am
Sunset: 4:33pm
Moonrise: 2:31am
Moonset: 3:01pm
8

Sunrise: 7:11am
Sunset: 4:31pm
Moonrise: 3:33am
Moonset: 3:24pm
9

Sunrise: 7:13am
Sunset: 4:29pm
Moonrise: 4:35am
Moonset: 3:48pm
10

Sunrise: 7:14am
Sunset: 4:28pm
Moonrise: 5:38am
Moonset: 4:14pm
11

Sunrise: 7:16am
Sunset: 4:26pm
Moonrise: 6:40am
Moonset: 4:43pm
12

Sunrise: 7:18am
Sunset: 4:25pm
Moonrise: 7:42am
Moonset: 5:17pm
13

Sunrise: 7:20am
Sunset: 4:23pm
Moonrise: 8:42am
Moonset: 5:57pm
14

Sunrise: 7:21am
Sunset: 4:22pm
Moonrise: 9:39am
Moonset: 6:43pm
15

Sunrise: 7:23am
Sunset: 4:21pm
Moonrise: 10:32am
Moonset: 7:37pm
16

Sunrise: 7:25am
Sunset: 4:19pm
Moonrise: 11:18am
Moonset: 8:37pm
17

Sunrise: 7:26am
Sunset: 4:18pm
Moonrise: 12:00pm
Moonset: 9:44pm
18

Sunrise: 7:28am
Sunset: 4:17pm
Moonrise: 12:36pm
Moonset: 10:54pm
19

Sunrise: 7:30am
Sunset: 4:15pm
Moonrise: 1:08pm
Moonset: none
20

Sunrise: 7:31am
Sunset: 4:14pm
Moonrise: 1:38pm
Moonset: 12:08am
21

Sunrise: 7:33am
Sunset: 4:13pm
Moonrise: 2:07pm
Moonset: 1:23am
22

Sunrise: 7:35am
Sunset: 4:12pm
Moonrise: 2:37pm
Moonset: 2:41am
23

Sunrise: 7:36am
Sunset: 4:11pm
Moonrise: 3:08pm
Moonset: 3:59am
24

Sunrise: 7:38am
Sunset: 4:10pm
Moonrise: 3:43pm
Moonset: 5:18am
25

Sunrise: 7:39am
Sunset: 4:09pm
Moonrise: 4:22pm
Moonset: 6:35am
26

Sunrise: 7:41am
Sunset: 4:08pm
Moonrise: 5:09pm
Moonset: 7:48am
27

Sunrise: 7:42am
Sunset: 4:07pm
Moonrise: 6:02pm
Moonset: 8:54am
28

Sunrise: 7:44am
Sunset: 4:06pm
Moonrise: 7:00pm
Moonset: 9:51am
29

Sunrise: 7:45am
Sunset: 4:05pm
Moonrise: 8:03pm
Moonset: 10:38am
30

Sunrise: 7:47am
Sunset: 4:05pm
Moonrise: 9:08pm
Moonset: 11:17am

December 2015
Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1

Sunrise: 7:48am
Sunset: 4:04pm
Moonrise: 10:12pm
Moonset: 11:49am
2

Sunrise: 7:50am
Sunset: 4:03pm
Moonrise: 11:16pm
Moonset: 12:17pm
3

Sunrise: 7:51am
Sunset: 4:03pm
Moonrise: none
Moonset: 12:43pm
4

Sunrise: 7:52am
Sunset: 4:02pm
Moonrise: 12:19am
Moonset: 1:06pm
5

Sunrise: 7:53am
Sunset: 4:02pm
Moonrise: 1:21am
Moonset: 1:29pm
6

Sunrise: 7:55am
Sunset: 4:01pm
Moonrise: 2:23am
Moonset: 1:52pm
7

Sunrise: 7:56am
Sunset: 4:01pm
Moonrise: 3:26am
Moonset: 2:17pm
8

Sunrise: 7:57am
Sunset: 4:01pm
Moonrise: 4:28am
Moonset: 2:45pm
9

Sunrise: 7:58am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 5:31am
Moonset: 3:16pm
10

Sunrise: 7:59am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 6:33am
Moonset: 3:53pm
11

Sunrise: 8:00am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 7:32am
Moonset: 4:37pm
12

Sunrise: 8:01am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 8:27am
Moonset: 5:29pm
13

Sunrise: 8:02am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 9:17am
Moonset: 6:29pm
14

Sunrise: 8:03am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 10:01am
Moonset: 7:34pm
15

Sunrise: 8:04am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 10:39am
Moonset: 8:44pm
16

Sunrise: 8:05am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 11:13am
Moonset: 9:57pm
17

Sunrise: 8:06am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 11:43am
Moonset: 11:11pm
18

Sunrise: 8:07am
Sunset: 4:00pm
Moonrise: 12:12pm
Moonset: none
19

Sunrise: 8:07am
Sunset: 4:01pm
Moonrise: 12:40pm
Moonset: 12:26am
20

Sunrise: 8:08am
Sunset: 4:01pm
Moonrise: 1:09pm
Moonset: 1:42am
21

Sunrise: 8:09am
Sunset: 4:01pm
Moonrise: 1:41pm
Moonset: 2:58am
22

Sunrise: 8:09am
Sunset: 4:02pm
Moonrise: 2:17pm
Moonset: 4:14am
23

Sunrise: 8:10am
Sunset: 4:02pm
Moonrise: 2:59pm
Moonset: 5:27am
24

Sunrise: 8:10am
Sunset: 4:03pm
Moonrise: 3:47pm
Moonset: 6:35am
25

Sunrise: 8:10am
Sunset: 4:04pm
Moonrise: 4:43pm
Moonset: 7:36am
26

Sunrise: 8:11am
Sunset: 4:04pm
Moonrise: 5:44pm
Moonset: 8:28am
27

Sunrise: 8:11am
Sunset: 4:05pm
Moonrise: 6:48pm
Moonset: 9:12am
28

Sunrise: 8:11am
Sunset: 4:06pm
Moonrise: 7:54pm
Moonset: 9:48am
29

Sunrise: 8:11am
Sunset: 4:07pm
Moonrise: 8:59pm
Moonset: 10:19am
30

Sunrise: 8:11am
Sunset: 4:07pm
Moonrise: 10:03pm
Moonset: 10:45am
31

Sunrise: 8:11am
Sunset: 4:08pm
Moonrise: 11:06pm
Moonset: 11:10am

Stonehenge Sunrise and Sunset Times 2015 (Sunrise Sunset Calendar)

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Friday will see a rare cosmic coincidence. Was Stonehenge used to predict eclipses?

19 03 2015

As the eclipse plunges Wiltshire and other places into darkness this Friday (March 20th), two other rare if less spectacular celestial events will be taking place, too: the Spring equinox and a Supermoon. Friday will see three rare celestial events and this will be the first time in living memory that the Spring equinox, a solar eclipse, and a supermoon are all taking place on the same day in the UK.

One of the most intriguing mysteries in the world is the Stonehenge. Nobody knows who built the mysterious Stone Circle in Wiltshire, or what its purpose was exactly. There are many theories associated with Stonehenge and archaeologists have been debating for ages to determine why it was built. Most experts believe that Stonehenge is actually an ancient astronomical calculator.

Eclipses have long been feared as bad omens, but the equinox is celebrated as a time of renewal

Eclipses have long been feared as bad omens, but the equinox is celebrated as a time of renewal

Eclipse Cycles

Now, it’s widely accepted that Stonehenge was used to predict eclipses. The inner “horseshoe” of 19 stones at the very heart of Stonehenge actually acted as a long-term calculator that could predict lunar eclipses. By moving one of Stonehenge’s markers along the 30 markers of the outer circle, it’s discovered that the cycle of the moon can be predicted. Moving this marker one lunar month at a time – as opposed to one lunar day the others were moved – made it possible for them to mark when a lunar eclipse was going to occur in the typical 47-month lunar eclipse cycle. The marker would go around the circle 38 times and halfway through its next circle, on the 47th full moon, a lunar eclipse would occur.

Aubrey Holes
Stonehenge has a ring of 56 pits that are now known as Aubrey holes, after antiquarian John Aubrey. They date back to the late fourth and early fifth millennium. These holes were not really noticed until the 1920s. It’s believed that the only standing feature at Stonehenge at the time these holes were dug was the Heel Stone – the marker of the midsummer sunrise – but this is now proven false. Some experts believe they were meant to hold timbers or more stones, but the astronomical interpretations of these holes are very interesting. It’s also believed that the holes helped to predict astronomical events. Complicated math theories back this up to some degree, as some lunar eclipses can be predicted by using numbers associated with Stonehenge. It’s even believed that Stonehenge was used to keep track of lunar cycles by moving marker stones two holes per day, ending with 56 holes.

Hawkins
Meanwhile, Gerald Hawkins studied Stonehenge much later, in 1965, using computer programs. He found multiple solar and lunar alignments that correlated with the location

of Stonehenge. He set his data so that the positions of the stars and planets would match where they were in 1500 B.C., when he believed it was built, and found that 13 solar correlations and 11 lunar correlations matched up with the megalithic stages. In other words, he believed Stonehenge was used to predict astronomical events. He also believed that it was built to align with the position of the summer and winter solstices.

What is a solar eclipse?
A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, hiding the sun from view and blocking out the sunlight that usually reaches us.

The eclipse, which will be partial, not total, will begin here at around 8.45am on Friday and peak at around 9.30am before ending at 10.30am. It will be the biggest eclipse since August 1999.

Spring equinox

The equinox will also happen on March 20th. While it won’t have any discernable, direct impact on how the solar eclipse looks, it will contribute to a rare collision of three unusual celestial events.

On March 20th, the Earth’s axis will be perpindecular to the sun’s rays — which only happens twice a year, at the two equinoxes. After that, it will start tipping over, making the days longer in the northern hemisphere.

As such, the equinox has long been celebrated as a time of beginning and renewal, by a number of historic cultures, and is linked to Easter and Passover.

The equinox will happen at the same time as a solar eclipse in 2053 and 2072, though it doesn’t always appear as close together as that.

English Heritage will welcome people to Stonehenge to celebrate the Spring (Vernal) Equinox on Saturday 21st March. Expect a short period of access, from first light (approximately 05:45am) until 08:30am. Click here for more info

Supermoon

A very rare supermoon eclipse of the sun is happening this week that won’t take place again until 2034.  A supermoon is when a full, or new moon coincides with the night when the earth and moon’s orbits move them slightly closer together, making the moon look about 14% bigger, and 30% brighter than normal. This generally happens roughly once every 14 months, but can happen more often; in January 2014, there were actually two supermoons in a single month.

In the past, groups have argued that the supermoon could cause natural disasters, madness, or even throw the earth off its axis. Experts agree that the worst thing that might happen is the tide comes in another inch that night.  As well as a supermoon, there is also an event when a full moon is as far away from earth as possible; this is called a micromoon, for obvious reasons.

Some useful Links:

Solar eclipse, Supermoon, Spring equinox:

Solar Eclipse, Supermoon, Spring Equinox: 3 Rare Celestial Events Align March 20th

Solar Eclipse 2015: How to watch a solar eclipse safely

Stonehenge: An Astronomical Calculator

Astro-Archaeology at Stonehenge

Remember that no one should look directly at the sun during a partial eclipse without proper equipment, as it can damage the eyes.

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge News Blog
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Spring Equinox at Stonehenge

19 03 2010
This is the second of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens.

 

At the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox the sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours and then sets exactly in the west. So all over the world, at this special moment, day and night are of equal length hence the word equinox which means ‘equal night’.

Of course, for those of us here in the northern hemisphere it is this equinox that brings us out of our winter.

For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that is taking you in to your winter. And this is very much how I think of the equinoxes – as the ‘edges’ of winter. This is why they can be quite hard on our bodies as it is a major climatic shift, so it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods.

Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.

As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so time for some spring-cleaning!

This is more than just a physical activity, it also helps to remove any old or negative energies accumulated over the dark, heavy winter months preparing the way for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.

As with all the other key festivals of the year, there are both Pagan and Christian associations with the Spring Equinox.

To Pagans, this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility.

This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility).

Her name is also the root of the term we give to the female hormone, oestrogen.By now, you may be beginning to see the Christian celebration derived from this festival – Easter.

And this is the reason why the ‘Easter Bunny’ brings us coloured eggs (and if you’re lucky chocolate ones!) at this time of year.

So, as nature starts to sprout the seeds that have been gestating in her belly throughout the winter, maybe you can start to think about what you want to ‘sprout’ in your life now and start to take action. 

Celti Wheel

Celtic Wheel

In between these ‘sky points’ are the Cross-quarter days which mark ‘gear shifts’ in the energy of the earth. These times are also important agriculturally.

Imbolc (Beginning of February) is when the first lambs are born and ewe’s milk is available again after the long winter. The year is beginning to stir and wake-up.

Beltane (Beginning of May) is the transition from spring to summer when Nature is pumping with life-force and fertility.

Lammas (Beginning of August) is the time of ripeness and when the earth starts to give up her harvest.

Samhain (Beginning of November) is the end/beginning of the Celtic year. It is a time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and it is possible to commune with the ancestors.

There is great joy in being aware of the seasons in this way and celebrating them in simple ways.

As the year unfolds, we will look in detail at the eight energy-points of the year and the ways in which they affect us.

We will also look at how these festivals have been celebrated in Wiltshire, both past and present.

Merlin – Stonehenge Tour Guide
Stonehenge Stone Circle








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