Event planned for winter solstice

Echoing an ancient custom, the public is being invited to gather for the annual winter solstice observance in Penticton.

  • Dec. 19, 2012 3:00 p.m.

Echoing an ancient custom, the public is being invited to gather for the annual winter solstice observance at the Okanagan’s own standing stone structure dubbed ‘Pen Henge’ on Munson Mountain in Penticton.

The event, which marks the sun’s southernmost setting point, will take place on Friday afternoon, Dec. 21 with interested people gathering around 3 p.m. in anticipation of sunset at 3.27 p.m.

The solstice gathering is being organized by the Penticton meeting group of the Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (OCRASC) and it will be followed by a special reception and celebration at the Shatford Centre, 760 Main St. involving a number of organizations including the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club and the Penticton Art Gallery.

If skies are clear participants gathered at Munson Mountain will see the lengthening shadow cast by the sun over the winter solstice stone gradually extend toward the central heel stone.

At  3.27 p.m. the sun will set in perfect alignment with the two stones as befits the day of winter solstice when the sun reaches its most southerly point of the year.

Last year, more than 100 people witnessed the dramatic event.

This year, plans for the reception afterward at the Shatford Centre will include displays by the Naturalists’ Club as well as astronomical information and telescopes set up by OCRASC members.

The event will also extend to the End of the World as We Know It exhibition underway at the Penticton Art Gallery.

The Pen Henge standing stone array is a project spearheaded by Chris Purton and the Okanagan Astronomical Society which later became part of OCRASC, and which was supported by Penticton City Council and its Parks Department.

The installation, which is located at the top of Munson Mountain above the large Penticton sign on the east side of Okanagan Lake, consists of four stones that delineate the sunset points on the four cardinal dates of the year.

Anchored by the Heel Stone, the Equinox Stone points to the Sun’s sunset point at both the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, while the other two stones mark the Winter and Summer Solstice setting points respectively.

Photos of the array and earlier observances can be viewed on the OCRASC website at www.ocrasc.ca  through the Image Gallery link and the Pen Henge folder.

Chris Purton, a retired scientist at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory at White Lake said, “For most of the year the structure simply illustrates the enormous range along the western horizon where the Sun sets. Most people subconsciously know of this, but they are quite fascinated to see the idea laid out so graphically.”

A brass plaque with a brief explanation of the array is permanently attached to the top of the heel stone.

 

Just Posted

Three charities receive generous donation from 100 Men Who Care

The organization meets four times a year to contribute funding to local initiatives

Okanagan competitors to be featured in arm wrestling documentary

Arm Nation, featuring competitions from Kelowna and Penticton, will air on Oct. 20 on APTN

Former Vernon man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

Contenders to return for Okanagan tour

Valdy, Gary Fjellgaard and Blu and Kelly Hopkins will perform at six venues

LETTER: Examine past record when voting

Summerland mayoral candidate Toni Boot approaches each issue in a fair and open minded manner

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who is running in Summerland’s election?

Introducing you to the candidates asking for your vote on Oct. 20

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read