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May 23, 2024

Rare lunar event may reveal Stonehenge’s link with the moon

Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, has been a subject of intrigue and study for centuries. One popular theory is that Stonehenge was built to track celestial movements and events. A rare lunar event may provide some insight into this hypothesis, lending potential evidence to the monument's link to the moon. This lunar event, typically referred to as a "lunar standstill," happens when the moon reaches its minim (lowest) or maxim (highest) declination during its 18.6-year cycle. During this time, the moon appears to stall in its usual course, rising and setting at its most northerly and southerly points of the horizon. Some researchers believe that the ancient builders of Stonehenge may have been tracking these lunar standstills. The alignment of the stones provides a potentially perfect viewing corridor for these phenomena. If they were indeed able to track these standstills, it would have provided them with an in-depth understanding of the moon's complex movements. This theory does lend itself to further research to fully determine the possible lunar connections of Stonehenge. However, each new celestial event provides a further understanding of how ancient cultures may have understood and gauged time, the changing seasons, and celestial cycles. Another interesting piece to note is that lunar standstills happen only once every 18.6 years which lines up with an anomalistic period known as the lunar nodal cycle. The next opportunity to observe