|Reverse Engineering Stonehenge -
A Remarkable Scientific Instrument
Was Stonehenge an observatory? Yes indeed it was!
The alignment of the monument with the summer solstice sunrise has been well known for many years. The alignment with the winter solstice sunset has been recognised more recently, and may have been more significant. These alignments were probably more important for ceremonial purposes than for scientific purposes.
For the first time, many additional alignments are published, and are detailed within "Reverse Engineering Stonehenge". These demonstrate that Stonehenge was primarily a functional scientific instrument, used for measuring angles. The angles of interest were the rising and setting bearings of the sun, moon, and stars. It was therefore possible, over a period of time, to map the entire visible sky.
Certain important alignments have been discovered in addition to the known alignments of summer solstice sunrise and winter solstice sunset. These additional alignments include:
Summer solstice sunset, winter solstice sunrise, equinox sunrise, equinox sunset, moonrise and moonset for the northern maxima, moonrise and moonset for the northern minima, moonrise and moonset for the southern maxima, and moonrise and moonset for the southern minima.
Probably the most surprising and exciting discovery is that they divided the circle into 36 equal segments of 10 degrees. We can surmise that each segment was divided further to give an improved angular resolution. It may well be that they divided the circle into 360 degrees. This was achieved by around 2500 BC. This was many centuries before the Babylonians did the same. The history books will have to be re-written!
The method of usage as an observatory is beautifully simple in principle, and yet the complexity of implementation is masterful in its conception. When you see it for yourself, you will gain an even deeper respect for the creators of Stonehenge, and I feel that is not possible to be unmoved by it. It is a wonderful paradox that it is only by seeing the complexity can we appreciate the simplicity. It really is marvellous!
Summary of discoveries:
- That Stonehenge at phase 3 was indeed an astronomical observatory, but used in a non-obvious way.
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