Watch Summer Solstice 2021 from Stonehenge Live Online

For the second consecutive year, the coronavirus pandemic has forced Heritage England—the organization that manages Stonehenge—to cancel the Summer Solstice celebrations at the site in southwest England. As such, people will be desperate to know how to watch the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge online.

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, which cap the maximum amount of people permitted at any outdoor event to 4,000.

Given the number of people attending the Summer Solstice celebrations has reached over 30,000 in recent years, organizers have decided to cancel the event.

"Unfortunately, we have canceled our Summer Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge," Heritage England said in a statement.

"This is following the extension of the current COVID restrictions to beyond June 21.

"We're as disappointed as you but we can't wait to see you in person at Summer Solstice next year."

What is the Summer Solstice?

The Summer Solstice is seen as the beginning of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, where it marks the longest day of the year. It always falls between June 20 and June 21.

The Encyclopædia Britannica defines solstice as the "moment in the year when the Sun's apparent path is farthest north" from the Earth's Equator.

"At the time of the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the North Pole is tilted about 23.4 degrees toward the Sun. Because the Sun's rays are shifted northward by the same amount, the vertical noon rays are directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer," it reads.

Solstice is therefore celebrated on the sunrise and sunset that are closest to this time, which this year falls on June 21.

When is the Summer Solstice in 2021?

The Summer Solstice falls on June 21 this year, with the sun setting at 9:26 p.m. BST (4:26 p.m. EDT or 1:26 p.m. PT) on June 20 and rising at 4:52 a.m. BST on June 21.

How to watch the Summer Solstice in 2021

As was the case in 2020, in-person celebrations at Stonehenge have been canceled because of coronavirus. English Heritage, however, will again be providing a livestream of sunset and sunrise at Stonehenge on June 20 and June 21 respectively.

Why is Stonehenge so important?

Located in Wiltshire, southwestern England, Stonehenge was built around 4,500 years ago during the Late Neolithic period by farmers and herders, who considered the solstice to be a significant occasion.

The solstice likely had both spiritual and practical significance and in fact the layout of the monument was specifically designed to align with the movements of the sun, according to English Heritage.

On the Summer Solstice, as the sun rises, a great shadow from the Heel Stone—a stone that lies outside the circle—is projected towards the stone circle. The sun can be seen rising in the same direction from within the circle.

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
Sunset at Stonehenge ahead of Summer Solstice on June 20, 2020 in Amesbury, United Kingdom. For the second consecutive year, celebrations at the site have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images