21/06/2019Missed Solstice? Enjoy a live Stonehenge Sunrise all year round
- Stonehenge Skyscape brings an ancient spectacle to a global audience
Celestial sun-seekers can now enjoy a personal Stonehenge sunrise all-year round as English Heritage launches a new live feed of the sky above the ancient monument today (21 June).
Stonehenge Skyscape will allow enthusiasts all over the world to experience sunrise, and see the journey of the stars and the moon from within the stone circle any time of the day or night. Designed to present the ever changing view of the sky above the stones, this new website takes us one step closer to the people of Stonehenge and reveals how its builders may have understood their place in the cosmos.
As part of the project, English Heritage has joined forces with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. The space scientist and science educator will host a special star and moon gazing event in July, as the world remembers the first time people landed on the moon 50 years ago.
Susan Greaney, English Heritage Senior Historian says: "Stonehenge was built to align with the sun, and to Neolithic people, the skies were arguably as important as the surrounding landscape. At solstice we remember the changing daylight hours, but the changing seasons, cycles of the moon and movements of the sun are likely to have underpinned many practical and spiritual aspects of Neolithic life.
"Stonehenge’s connection with the skies is a crucial part of understanding the monument today and we are really excited to share this view online with people all over the world."
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock says: "Imagine our Neolithic ancestors sitting around a fire looking up at the heavens and telling stories inspired by the movement of the planets, the patterns of the stars and of course the sun and the moon.
"It’s great to see English Heritage putting Stonehenge back on a celestial scale. Stonehenge Skyscape offers a mesmerising insight into our ancestors’ lives and hopefully – beyond visiting the website – it will inspire people all over the world to go outside, and look up."
The experience of seeing the dawn or dusk from Stonehenge has been a source of knowledge and wonder since prehistory. But for reasons of location, distance and time, it’s not always easy to experience it first-hand. Now Stonehenge Skyscape gives everyone the opportunity to experience a virtual sunrise and sunset, and follow the movement of the moon, the stars and the planets above the ancient monument, as if standing within the stones.
As part of the Stonehenge Skyscape season and to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, English Heritage will be hosting the following ‘celestial events’ at Stonehenge. Please check the website for details:
- Night Sky Gazing at Stonehenge with Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Bath Astronomers
- Portable planetarium and stories of the moon in October half term
- Night Sky photography workshops at Stonehenge
- Stonehenge and Ancient astronomy – a series of talks from archaeoastronomer Clive Ruggles, Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society, Astrophysicist Mike Edmunds and other experts.
Visit stonehengeskyscape.co.uk to experience Stonehenge Skyscape.