beam of sunlight on the floor of the chamber at Newgrange
the Winter Solstice, the light of the rising sun enters the
roofbox at Newgrange and penetrates the passage, shining onto
the floor of the inner chamber. The sunbeam illuminates
the chamber of Newgrange for just 17 minutes.
is believed by some researchers that the colour of the sunrise
on the morning of Winter Solstice was the original inspiration
for the name of the hill over which that sunrise occurs when
viewed from Newgrange. The hill is called Red Mountain.
has been suggested by Robert Lomas and Christopher Knight
that Venus would have been visible inside the chamber of Newgrange
at certain times during its eight-year cycle.
is an astronomical fact that at certain times during its 19-year
cycle, the Moon shares the same declination, and therefore
the same rising azimuth, as the midwinter sunrise. Therefore,
there are times during the Moon's cycle when it too would
be visible inside Newgrange.
and Dowth are
situated such that at moonrise at the time of minor standstill
north, the Moon comes up over Dowth viewed from Newgrange.
At minor standstill south, the Moon sets over Newgrange viewed
from Dowth. Martin Brennan suggests a similar minor standstill
orientation for Newgrange and Knowth.
survey of the roofbox, passage and chamber of Newgrange by
Dr. Jon Patrick in 1972 found that the Winter Solstice orientation
of the site was an original feature, and that they were sophisticated
constructions, intended to maximize the accuracy and length
of the beam entering the chamber.
further study by Tim O'Brien showed that at the time of construction
the sun-beam was so accurately framed by the roof-box aperture
that Newgrange could be used to determine the exact day of
sunrise on Winter Solstice takes place over a hill across
the Boyne river called "Red Mountain", sunset takes
place over a hill in the distance called Realtoge, which means
"star" or "young star" and which has a
large ringfort on its summit.
Newgrange the "womb of the Moon"?
is known as a brugh (or brú), which is often translated
as meaning a "mansion". However, there is an old
Irish word - Brú - which means "womb". Could
Brú na Bóinne mean "womb of the bright
cow" or "womb of the Moon"? Many researchers
have pointed out the layout of the entrance, passage and chamber
of Newgrange has a resemblance to the female reproductive
Prendergast's research demonstrated how the shadow of GC1,
the megalith adjacent to the entrance, would have crossed
the lower part of the three spirals on the west side of K1
at the winter solstice; that the shadow of GC-1 would have
crossed through the centre of the three spirals at the period
when the south declination of the sun was half its annual
maximum; that the shadow of stone GC-2 similarly crosses the
same three spirals at the equinox. Click
here for more.