Summer Solstice 2012 – celebrated June 20 th!

The summer solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet’s semi-axis in a given hemisphere is most inclined towards the star that it orbits. Earth’s maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26′. This happens twice each year, at which times the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole respectively.


The summer solstice is the solstice that occurs in a hemisphere’s summer. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the Northern solstice, in the Southern Hemisphere this is the Southern solstice. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between December 20 and December 23 each year in the Southern Hemisphere and between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere in reference to UTC.

Though the summer solstice is an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like Midsummer to refer to the day on which it occurs. Except in the polar regions (where daylight is continuous for many months), the day on which the summer solstice occurs is the day of the year with the longest period of daylight.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most have held a recognition of sign of the fertility, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

The word solstice derives from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).




Celebrating at STONEHENGE

English Heritage is pleased to be providing Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines set out on the following pages. We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for the protection of Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.

ENTRY GUIDELINES

Was Stonehenge a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure?

Surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress.

Celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge

During the Summer Solstice access to Stonehenge, we support all individuals and groups conducting their own forms of ceremony and celebration providing that they are mutually respectful and tolerant of one another. It is a place seen by many as a sacred site – therefore please respect it and those attending.

English Heritage continues to work closely with the many agencies and people from all sectors of the community and we would like to thank them for their help and support.

Parking and entry to the Monument will be free, subject to the Conditions of Entry. Please do not arrive at the Solstice Car Park or Stonehenge in advance of the opening times listed below:

Timings for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

SOLSTICE CAR PARK OPENS
1900 hours (7pm) Wednesday 20th June
ACCESS TO STONEHENGE
1900 hours (7pm) Wednesday 20th June
LAST ADMISSION TO SOLSTICE CAR PARK
0600 hours (6am) Thursday 21st June
STONEHENGE CLOSES
0800 hours (8am) Thursday 21st June
SOLSTICE CAR PARK TO BE VACATED
1200 hours (12 Noon) Thursday 21st June – see the pages on Travel and Parking for further information on travel and parking arrangements.

WE HOPE THE WEATHER WILL BE KIND AND WISH YOU A PEACEFUL AND CELEBRATORY SOLSTICE.

Sunset and sunrise occur at the following times:

Sunset on Wednesday 20th June 2012 is at 2126 hrs (9.26pm)
Sunrise on Thursday 21st June 2012 is at 0452 hrs (4.52am)

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