PEN HENGE Members of the public gathered for the Penhenge summer solstice event last year on Munson Mountain in Penticton. This year’s event will be held on the evening of Friday, June 21. (Photo submitted)

Pen Henge ceremony to mark summer solstice

Event on Munson Mountain in Penticton celebrates the longest day of the year

To celebrate the longest day of the year, a gathering will be held at the Pen Henge standing stone array on Munson Mountain in Penticton on the evening of Friday, June 21.

The public gathering is organized by the Penticton meeting group of the Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Participants will gather at Munson Mountain at around 8:15 p.m. to watch the shadow cast by the sun over the summer solstice stone extend gradually toward the central heel stone.

READ ALSO: Summer solstice celebration

READ ALSO: Ceremony to mark summer solstice

As determined from previous careful readings at Pen Henge, the local sunset will take place at precisely 8:50.2 p.m. that evening.

The actual time of the solstice this year will occur at 8.54 a.m. that morning.

The Pen Henge standing stone array project was spearheaded by Chris Purton, a retired radio astronomer at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory at White Lake.

Purton will act as the MC for the solstice event and will give a presentation on its significance.

The installation, 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.

Purton said that though the time of sunset remains the same, the moment of solstice comes roughly six hours later each year, in concert with a leap-day every four years.

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

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