Friday, May 17, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Friday, May 17, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Rare lunar phenomena linked to Stonehenge

Published 27 April 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Stonehenge is one of the most mythical places on earth.

It has already been established that the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge is aligned with the movements of the sun. Now, archaeoastronomers in the UK are pointing out that it also appears to be linked to a major lunar standstill.

A lunar standstill occurs when the moon reaches its northernmost or southernmost point in the course of a month. A major lunar standstill, on the other hand, is a rare astronomical phenomenon in which the declination at the lunar standstill varies between 18.134° (north or south) and 28.725° (north or south) on an 18.6-year cycle due to the Moon’s progression.

Scientists have been puzzled by the coincidence of these specific lunar movements, which occurred only once per generation, with the prehistoric monument. Now, a project involving researchers from the universities of Oxford, Leicester and Bournemouth will investigate the phenomenon.

– Stonehenge’s architectural connection to the Sun is well known, but its link with the Moon is less well understood, said Professor Clive Ruggles, emeritus professor of archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester, in a press release, and continues:

– The four Station Stones align with the Moon’s extreme positions, and researchers have debated for years whether this was deliberate, and – if so – how this was achieved and what might have been its purpose.

The public is invited

Researchers plan to document the moon’s rise and set at key times of the year when the moon is aligned with the station’s rocks. They also plan to document the events and show the visual effects on the stones through light patterns and shadows, which they will do via a livestream hosted by English Heritage, the custodians of Stonehenge.

– We’ll be inviting the public to join us through a series of events this year as we take one more small step towards unravelling the secrets of Stonehenge, said Jennifer Wexler of English Heritage.

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