New Stonehenge sunset alignment theory ‘shown to be correct’

25 06 2015

A new theory that the tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the midsummer sunset has been observed to be correct, it has been claimed.

Stonehenge steward Tim Daw said his pictures of the midsummer solstice sunset on 20 June 2015 showed how it aligned to the tallest stone

Stonehenge steward Tim Daw said his pictures of the midsummer solstice sunset on 20 June 2015 showed how it aligned to the tallest stone

Earlier this year Tim Daw, a steward at the site, said he had discovered the previously unknown alignment, involving a line of stones at 80 degrees to the axis of the monument.

The theory was tested when the solstice sun set at 21:26 BST on Saturday.

Mr Daw said he was “really thrilled” at the finding.

“It wasn’t the best evening for a sunset picture as a bank of cloud came in at the wrong moment but it was close enough to prove the point,” he added.

“I put forward this theory. I said ‘this stone, the sun will set along its back’ [on] Midsummer. Yes it did.

“[There was] a wonderful sunset last night. We could see the sun going down directly in line with… the back of this stone. It was fantastic.”

Some 23,000 people attended the neolithic site at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise at 04:52 BST, while others gathered at the nearby Avebury stone circle.

The figure was down on the estimated 36,000 who attended last year and the 30,000-40,000 expected this year.

Wiltshire Police said the celebrations were “positive and peaceful”.

Article source: BBC Wiltshire

The Stonehenge News Blog





Stargazing in June: From the Stonehenge summer solstice to a cosmic embrace

1 06 2015
Two of our solar system’s most sensational planets will get together for a tryst

Two of our solar system’s most sensational planets will get together for a tryst

Let’s start by winnowing out the mythical chaff from the factual wheat. The Druids didn’t build Stonehenge; they came on the scene about 2,000 years later, and – according to the Roman writer Pliny – they didn’t worship in stone temples but in ‘‘forests of oak’’.

It was only in the 7th century that the antiquarian John Aubrey associated the Druids with Stonehenge. In 1740, a fellow neo-Druid called William Stukeley measured Stonehenge, and realised that its central line pointed ‘‘full northeast, being the point where the sun rises at the summer solstice’’. At that point, the link between Stonehenge, the Druids and the midsummer sunrise was set in tablets of stone.

But hang on. Instead of standing in the centre of the great stone circle and looking outwards, you could equally well place yourself at the Heel Stone and look through the centre of Stonehenge, towards the south-east. That’s the direction where the Sun sets, at midwinter.

In fact, Stukeley’s original account describes this bearing, with ‘‘the principal diameter or groundline of Stonehenge, leading from the entrance up to the middle of the temple to the high altar’’. So why did he choose the opposite direction as being critical to the Druids?

Stukeley was a Freemason. For Masons, the western part of the sky is the direction of death. The north-east is spiritually all-important because it is the point where the Sun rises on the feast of St John (the traditional Christian date for midsummer, on 24 June).

That’s why Stukeley picked out midsummer as the key season for Stonehenge. There’s no reason, though, to believe that our distant ancestors felt the same way. In fact, there are two great monuments in the British Isles which are unambiguous markers for the solstice, because they contain deep passageways that are lit up by Sun only once a year. In the case of Newgrange in Ireland and Maeshowe in Orkney, that date is the winter solstice..

Now archaeologists have provided the clinching evidence that Stonehenge, too, was erected to mark midwinter’s day. Mike Parker Pearson has excavated Durrington Walls, a huge settlement near Stonehenge. Here he’s found the remains of orgiastic feasts: bones of cows and pigs that had been brought vast distances – some from Cornwall, and others from the far north. Clearly, people came from all over the country to hold ceremonies at Stonehenge.

And the bones reveal the season that they travelled. The growth of the pigs’ teeth, and the amount they had worn, showed that they had been slaughtered for the table at the age of nine months. Given that piglets are naturally born in the spring, Parker Pearson is adamant that people were ‘‘feasting on pork at midwinter  most likely around the midwinter solstice’’.

So, if you want to truly celebrate as our ancestors did, don’t go to Wiltshire this month. Instead, go to Stonehenge on 22 December, to view the sun setting behind the giant portals of stone.

What’s Up

This month, two of our solar system’s most sensational planets are about to get together for a tryst. For the whole of spring, luminous giant Jupiter has been lighting up our evening skies. But dazzling Venus – Earth’s twin in size – has been sneaking up in the opposite part of the sky. Our neighbour world, cloaked in a dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide, reflects sunlight amazingly: it is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon.

On 30 June, the two brilliant worlds tangle in a cosmic embrace. Separated by a space less than the diameter of the moon, Jupiter and  Venus will make a stunning sight low in the western sky. Otherwise, the summer constellations are making their appearance. Orange Arcturus, in Boötes, lords it over the night skies. Next to it, the small-but-perfectly-formed Corona Borealis – the Northern Crown – is a beautiful reminder that warmer days are on the way.

What to look out for

1 June: 5.19 pm: full moon

6 June: Venus at greatest eastern elongation

9 June 4.42 pm: moon at last quarter

16 June 3.05 pm: new moon

24 June 12.03 pm: moon at first quarter; Mercury at greatest western elongation

30 June: Venus and Jupiter close conjunction

Read the full story in the Independent. Heather Couper , Nigel Henbest

The Stonehenge News Blog





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2013

1 06 2013

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice on 20-21 June 2013. Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on these pages. The full Conditions of Entry can also be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page

Stoneheng Summer Solstice Tour 2013

We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for protecting  Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site and has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Summer Solstice since time immemorial.

During Managed Open Access for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, we support all individuals and groups conducting their own forms of ceremony and celebration providing that they are mutually respectful and tolerant of one another. It is a place seen by many as a sacred site – therefore please respect it and those attending.

English Heritage continues to work closely with the many agencies and people from all sectors of the community and we would like to thank them for their help and support.

Parking and entry to the Monument will be free, subject to the Conditions of Entry.  Please do not arrive at the Solstice Car Park or Stonehenge in advance of the opening times listed below:

    Timings for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge 

  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK OPENS  1900 hours (7pm) Thursday 20th June
  • ACCESS TO STONEHENGE 1900 hours (7pm) Thursday 20th June
  • LAST ADMISSION TO SOLSTICE CAR PARK   0600 hours (6am) Friday 21st June
  • STONEHENGE CLOSES  0800 hours (8am) Friday 21st June
  • SOLSTICE CAR PARK TO BE VACATED  1200 hours (12 Noon) Friday 21st June – see Travel and Parking for further information on travel and parking arrangements.

We hope the weather will be kind and wish you a peaceful and celebratory solstice.

    Stonehenge Sunset and Sunrise

Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times:

  • Sunset on Thursday 20th June 2013 is at 2126 hrs (9.26pm)
  • Sunrise on Friday 21st June 2013 is at 0452 hrs (4.52am)

STONEHENGE LINKS::

Conditions of entry: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/content/imported-docs/p-t/summer-solstice-coe13.pdf
More info: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/summer-solstice/

Follow Stonehenge on Twitter for Solstice News, traffic updates, photos on the day: https://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Merlin says “Please respect the Stones!”

The Stonehenge News Blog








%d bloggers like this: