Annual winter solstice at Pen Henge this Sunday

The annual winter solstice will be observed at the standing stone structure Pen Henge on Munson Mountain in Penticton.

The public is being invited to echo the ancient custom of observing the annual winter solstice at the standing stone structure Pen Henge on Munson Mountain in Penticton.

The event marks the sun’s southernmost setting point, which takes place on Dec. 21. The gathering begins at 2:45 p.m. in anticipation of sunset at 3:27 p.m.

Pen Henge designer Chris Purton, who is a retired scientist at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory at White Lake, noted that this year the actual time of the solstice will be at 3:03 p.m., just a short time before the sunset around 3:27 p.m. Because of this, the earlier gathering time of 2:45 p.m. will allow the group to mark the actual moment of solstice as well as the sunset phenomenon when the rays of the setting sun will extend from the winter solstice stone to the heel stone.

The solstice gathering is being organized by the Penticton meeting group of the Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (OCRASC) and members will be on hand to answer questions as well as describe the significance of what is taking place.