Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

nass_news_2011_jun_beetham

While using Google Maps, some artists living in the UK became unusual dialists when it occurred to them that the shadow cast by a skyscraper could be used as the gnomon of a really tall sundial.

The forty-seven story Beetham Tower in Manchester is 554 feet tall and dominates the city's skyline.  So it occurred to Annie Harrison, Jude Macpherson and Jacqueline Wylie to use the shadow cast by this structure to chart the progress of the sun as part of an art project.

From dawn to dusk on the summer solstice the group plans to patrol the city marking shadow locations and noting the time.  On the hour they will be tweeting pictures and ecouraging local residents to get involved.  In the event the weather doesn't cooperate, they have already mapped out where they believe the shadows will fall, so the project can move forward whether the sunshine is spotty or even non-existent.

Interested individuals can learn more about the Manchester Sun Dial project on Twitter at  http://twitter.com/#!/mcrtimepiece  In addition, they have also started a blog to talk about the project:  http://manchestertimepiece.tumblr.com/

[Note from the NASS Webmaster:  Although this is an interesting project, the shadow of a 554 ft tall building casts a very fuzzy shadow on the ground.  The only point on the shadow that keeps time (using a gnomonic projection on the ground) is the tip of building shadow.  So if the side of the building is used for trying to tell time, you can compute where the shadow will be each hour... but it will be valid only for one day,  for which the Manchester group has chosen dawn to dusk on the summer solstice.  Send us some pictures!! Use the dial submission feature on the Dial Registry tab]