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20 December 2009
Astronomers celebrate at Stonehenge

In a fitting finale for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009), astronomers and archaeologists celebrated the five millennia of astronomical heritage at Stonehenge. The attractions included a free public astronomy exhibition and expert-led tours of the site and surrounding landscape.
     The celebration began with the opening of the 'From the Earth to the Universe' (FETTU) exhibition alongside the Stonehenge visitor centre. This free exhibition, running from 16th December to 3rd January 2010 (except on 25th and 26th December), features a series of stunning images of objects across the Universe, from stars and planets to nebulae and galaxies; all made using telescopes on the ground and in space. FETTU aims to show the public how astronomy has developed in the 400 years since Galileo turned his telescope towards the night sky, let alone in the more than 5000 years since the first stages of the construction of Stonehenge.
     In the run up to the solstice, from 16th to 19th December leading specialists were  on hand to offer public tours of the site and surrounding area. The expert guides included archaeologists, Andrew Lawson, Julian Richards, Mike Allen and Julie Gardner, archaeoastronomer Clive Ruggles and astronomers Mark Bailey, Mike Edmunds, Derek McNally and Ian Robson.

Sources: Gazette & Herald (15 December 2009), Red Orbit (16 December 2009)

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