|Max Alexander, Astronomy Picture of the Day|
Stonehenge, located in England, is often shown in pictures during the solstice, because although the reason for the construction of this prehistoric monument is lost in the mists of time (it is, after all, at least 4,500 years old and maybe older), it is an amazing place, filled with magic and mystery. From Wikipedia:
The prehistoric monument of Stonehenge has long been studied for its possible connections with ancient astronomy. Archaeoastronomers have claimed that Stonehenge represents an "ancient observatory," although the extent of its use for that purpose is in dispute. Many also believe that the site may have had astrological or spiritual significance attached to it as well.Whatever the origins and meaning of Stonehenge, the site has drawn so many people that it is now almost impossible to imagine what it must have been like long ago. It has become another of those ancient sites that has been altered by the unending approach of hordes of visitors. More from Wikipedia:
Although Stonehenge has become an increasingly popular destination during the summer solstice, with 20,000 people visiting in 2005, scholars have developed growing evidence that indicates prehistoric people visited the site only during the winter solstice. The only megalithic monuments in the British Isles to contain a clear, compelling solar alignment are Newgrange and Maeshowe, which both famously face the winter solstice sunrise.Never mind. I guess I won't visit it, but I'll continue to imagine and dream when I look at pictures like these. After today, each night of the year will be a little longer and each day a little shorter, until we reach the equinox in September. The brilliant poet Emily Dickinson wrote this in 1883, and it says everything to me about Stonehenge:
Sweet hours have perished here;Happy solstice, wherever you are on our blue globe. Namaste!
This is a mighty room;
Within its precincts hopes have played, --
Now shadows in the tomb.