Tuesday 29 November 2011

Starry, starry nights and Stonehenge | The Times

Starry, starry nights and Stonehenge | The Times:
"A scheme of tilted lighting would not interfere with the view of the starry night sky and would provide much pleasure"

Sir, I am not surprised by the response (letters, Nov 28) to my letter (Nov 26) suggesting lighting Stonehenge at nightfall. The scientific camp think that this might interfere with a view of the starry night sky and ancient astronomical rituals. It is a minuscule portion of the population who are involved in something so esoteric, and no one appreciates the uniqueness of this place more than I, as someone who lives here and knows when there is a clear star-strewn sky (there are far more nights when there is not).
It is possible to tilt lighting so that it does not arc into the sky to interfere with a panoramic view of the heavens. This is also the main lorry route to the South Coast, with endless vehicle lights at night. As to the idea that one could pull off the road to gaze at the henge — there isn’t anywhere safe to pull off the A303; and can you imagine the disaster if dozens of cars tried this?
The ancient religious rituals in Stonehenge would certainly have involved torches and fires. Isn’t it time the scientific community climbs down from its astronomical ivory tower and shares a little more of the jewels of the nation with the rest of the country?
Lady Pakenham
Warminster, Wilt

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