Sunrise at Stonehenge
What makes Stonehenge unique? For one, its design, which includes huge horizontal stone lintels capping the outer circle and sitting atop the vertical slabs called trilithons, locked together by joints. In addition, the structure includes two different kinds of stones called Bluestones and Sarsens, the largest of which weighs more than 40 tons, according to UNESCO.
Through the Millennia
Bluestone and Sarsen
The external wall of the Stonehenge circle is made up of 60-million-year-old sarsen sandstone, according to EARTH magazine. These are the giants of the monument, whereas the smaller bluestones, which weigh about 4 tons, are arranged in a circle inside the sarsen circle as well as in a horseshoe arrangement within the sarsen trilithon horseshoe (trilithons are the two vertical stones, or posts, supporting a horizontal lintel).
Summer at Stonehenge
In the Northern Hemisphere, the 2011 summer solstice will take place on Tues., June 21 at 1:16 p.m. EDT (10:16 a.m. PDT). At that time, the sun will reach the point where it’s farthest north of the celestial equator. The solstice will mark the official start of summer for the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
One of the most well-known summer solstice landmarks is Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument that stands on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. The ancient stone circle is thought to be a burial ground that was arranged to face the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset. The above photo of the monument was taken during the summer solstice on June 21, 2005.
Floral Offering at Stonehenge
Every summer solstice, tens of thousands of New Agers, neo-pagans, Wiccans and sun-watchers from all over the world gather at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise over the stone ruins on the longest day of the year.
This photo, taken on June 21, 2010, shows a ritual consisting of offering flowers to the sun during the summer solstice as a way of asking for health and happiness. Others make fruit "sacrifices" and burn candles and incense.