Daily Archives: June 21, 2020

Coronavirus Dampens Stonehenge Solstice Celebrations

The coronavirus pandemic has prevented druids, pagans and party-goers from watching the sun rise at Stonehenge to mark the summer solstice this year.

The ancient stone circle in southwestern England usually draws thousands of people to mark the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. But Britain has banned mass gatherings as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

English Heritage, the body that oversees Stonehenge, livestreamed the sunrise instead. It said more than 3.6 million people watched as dawn broke at 4:52 a.m. Sunday (0352GMT, 11:52 p.m. EDT Saturday).

Stonehenge, a World Heritage site, is believed to be 4,500 years old. It is known for its alignment with the movements of the sun.

Some dedicated druids were determined to watch the sun rise in person, gathering in a field near Stonehenge despite the morning rain. Well-known druid King Arthur Pendragon said it had been “very wet,” but he was undaunted.

“You can’t cancel the sunrise,” he told the BBC. “It’s going to happen, and we were there to celebrate it.”



Source: Voice of America

Heat Wave Shatters Record in Siberian Town

One of the coldest places on Earth on Saturday became one of the hottest places on Earth.

A Russian heat wave sent the thermometer in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk soaring to 38 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Meteorologists say that would be the highest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

Verkhoyansk is about 10 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.

Temperatures in the town average 40 degrees below zero Celsius (-40 Fahrenheit) in winter, and it rarely gets warmer than 20 degrees (68 Fahrenheit) in summer.

Experts blame the unusual heat wave on a massive high-pressure system that has been stalled over Siberia for almost two weeks, preventing cooler air from flowing south.

All of Russia has experienced an uncharacteristically warm winter and spring this year with average temperatures breaking records in the first five months of the year set in 2016.



Source: Voice of America