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TOPIC: Solstice at Stonehenge


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Solstice at Stonehenge
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Summer Solstice 2011

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice from the evening of Monday 20 June through to the morning of Tuesday 21 June 2011.  Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry.
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Ed ~ Summer Solstice occurs this year at 17:16 UTC, 21st June.



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20,000 attend Stonehenge Solstice

The solstice annually attracts an eclectic mix - Druids, hippies, sun worshippers and those who are curious to experience the ancient festival.
Nearly 20,000 people attended the event, with 15 arrests overnight for minor public disorder, a Wiltshire Police spokesman said.
As the sun rose at 04:52 on Monday, a cheer went up from those gathered overnight at the stone circle on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

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About 20,000 revellers were at Stonehenge to mark the Summer Solstice, each hoping to see the sun as it rose above the ancient stone circle at dawn.
Police described the event on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire as one of the safest in years, although 34 people were arrested for minor drug offences.
Sunrise, marking the longest day of the year north of the equator, occurred over the circle at 04:52 BST.

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The Battle of the Beanfield took place over several hours on the afternoon of Saturday 1 June 1985 when Wiltshire Police prevented a vehicle convoy of several hundred new age travellers, known as the Peace Convoy, from setting up the fourteenth Stonehenge Free Festival at Stonehenge  in Wiltshire, England  after English Heritage, the custodians of the site, persuaded a High Court Judge to grant an exclusion zone of some four miles around the Stones.
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Astronomers celebrate at Stonehenge

In a fitting finale for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009), astronomers and archaeologists will celebrate the five millennia of astronomical heritage at Stonehenge, the most sophisticated stone circle in the world and amongst Europes most important Neolithic sites. The attractions include a free public astronomy exhibition and expert-led tours of the site and surrounding landscape.
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We have received e-mails from several people asking why Winter Solstice sunrise access to Stonehenge this year is on the 22nd and not on the 21st.
The Astronomical point of Solstice occurs this year at approximately 6pm on the 21st.
Sunset happens at 3:59 pm that day, so the first of three solstice sunrises happens at Stonehenge on the 22nd of December and the last on the 24th. This is when the sun rises and sets at its lowest point on the horizon for three days and is known as the southern solar standstill.

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Ed ~ Winter Solstice sunrise is at 17:47 UT

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Winter Solstice at Stonehenge
On the days leading up to the winter solstice this year (16-19 December), visitors to Stonehenge will be offered free talks and tours by leading archaeologists and astronomers and (by advance booking only) a limited number will be able to see the sky after dark from  within the stones. Next to the site the exhibition From Earth to the Universe will be displayed. These events, being organised jointly by the RAS and English Heritage, bring the International Year of Astronomy to a fitting close.

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Druids, pagans and revellers converged on Stonehenge at the weekend to celebrate the longest day of the year.
There were about 35,000 people at the ancient monument as the sun rose on Sunday morning.


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