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Dark Star Park Day 2009: Celebrating 25 Years of Arlington's Stonehenge

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Twenty-five years after its completion, Arlington‘s equivalent of Stonehenge, Dark Star Park, will celebrate its silver anniversary with an all-day festival on August 1st. The faux monolithic monument, completed by artist Nancy Holt in 1984, tracks the movement of the sun in a fashion that would make Mayans jealous, albeit with a uniquely Virginian twist. Say the sages of Arlington County:

Each year on August 1, the day (in 1860) William Henry Ross acquired the land that became Rosslyn (the Arlington neighborhood where the piece is situated), actual shadows cast by the spheres and the poles line up with the shadow-images on the ground. The time that the shadows align, 9:32 am, was selected by the artist for the length and direction of the shadows at that hour…Such environmental art has its origins in antiquity: Stonehenge in England, and the 2,000-year-old Peruvian Nazca Lines, which are sculpted lines in the earth visible in their entirety only from the sky, are similarly monumental works that both blend with and complement their environment.

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Located at 1655 North Fort Myer Drive, monument gazers will begin to gather at Dark Star Park for the annual alignment at 8:30 am. And though the occurrence itself may last only a minute, the Rosslyn BID has organized an entire slate of celestially oriented activities for the rest of the afternoon. Catch MoMA‘s making of Dark Star documentary at the Boeing Conference Center, “rock” out to live music from Rocknoceros and The Grandsons, talk up all things astral with APS Planetarium Director Jonathan Harmon or join NASA reps in Freedom Park for some family-friendly kids activities.

For more information, including the lowdown on a free warm-up screening of E.T. the night before the big event, visit Arlington’s official Dark Star Park Day site here.