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Summer solstice 2022: Thousands greet longest day at ancient Stonehenge monument

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WILTSHIRE, England - Thousands of pagans and revelers flocked to Stonehenge on Tuesday to welcome the summer solstice of 2022, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer.About 6,000 people gathered at the ancient monument, located in Wiltshire in southern England, to witness the sunrise at 4:49 a.m.

local time, according to Wiltshire Police. It was the first time people have been allowed to gather for the solstice since 2019.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sunrise was streamed online in both 2020 and 2021.Some historians point to Stonehenge, a stone circle monument built between 5,000 and 3,500 years ago, as evidence that humans once used the June solstice as a way to organize their calendars and start counting the days of the year.Experts still debate its purpose, but it’s aligned so that, on the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, and rays of sunlight are channeled into the center of the circle."The sarsen stones, put up in at the center of the site in about 2500 B.C., were carefully aligned to line up with the movements of the sun," explained English Heritage, a charity organization that cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites. "The whole layout of Stonehenge is therefore positioned in relation to the solstices, or the extreme limits of the sun’s movement."People gather for sunrise at Stonehenge, on June 21, 2022, in Wiltshire, England.

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