Friday, February 17, 2017

Ancient astronomy at Stonehenge

Stonehenge, one of the most famous archeological sites in the world, has long been associated with astronomy.

It is located in the county of Wiltshire in south central England. The construction of this monument begins around 3100 BC and continues above 10,000 years.

The positions of each stone have been carefully surveyed and mapped and the age of the monument had estimated by radiocarbon dating of associated organic remains.

An American astronomer, Gerald Hawkins, in the 1960s was one of the first to propose a theory that explained a reason for building Stonehenge. Hawkins became interested in the structure when he learned one-long established fact: that the northeast axis of the monument aligns with Sun during the summer solstice, suggesting that the site may have been used for astronomical observation.

When a smaller stone, the ‘heel stone’ is viewed through the gap in one of the trilithons, the summer solstice sun rises directly the heel stone.

He used an IBM mainframe computer to plot the positions of 175 key points: stones, stone holes, earthworks and other fixed points. Hawkins called Stonehenge a ‘Neolithic computer’ used for predicting lunar eclipses.
Ancient astronomy at Stonehenge
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