|15 December 2007
Winter solstice webcast from Newgrange
Newgrange (co. Meath, Ireland) is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange there is a opening called a roof-box. Its purpose is to allow sunlight to penetrate the chamber on the shortest days of the year, around December 21, the winter solstice. At dawn, from December 19th to 23rd, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the passage. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens within the chamber so that the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. This event lasts for 17 minutes, beginning around 9am.
For the first time ever, the 2007 Winter Solstice illumination of the passage and chamber at Newgrange will be streamed live on the internet. The webcast and an exhibition at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the re-discovery of the Winter Solstice Phenomenon at Newgrange by Professor O’Kelly in 1967. The Winter Solstice event from inside the chamber at Newgrange will be broadcast on the mornings of Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd December 2007. If conditions are good the rising sun will illuminate the passage and chamber between 8:58am and 9:15am GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
The webcast will be available on the Heritage Ireland website. The Office of Public Works will be providing also a live free to air broadcast of the event for anyone with a satellite dish. The event will be broadcast from 08.30am to 10.00am GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) on December 21st and December 22nd at the following satellite frequency: Satellite Atlantic Bird 3 at 8 degrees West - AB3 TxpKC06 ch.F - Downlink Frequency 11,192.5 MHz - Polarisation Vertical - Symbol Rate 6.666MSym/sec - FEC 7/8 - Tandberg MPEG2 422 SD encoding - No Encryption.
Each year the winter solstice event attracts much attention at Newgrange. So great is the demand to be one of the few inside the chamber during the solstice that there is a free annual lottery (application forms are available at the Visitor Centre). Unfortunately, as with many Irish events that depend upon sunshine, if the skies are overcast, there is not much to be seen.
Sources: Heritage Ireland, Newgrange.com (14 December 2007)
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