Southwind Park to get 20-foot Tall Dial Print
Posted: Saturday, 15 June 2013 18:02

Southwind Park in Springfield Illinois is a National Model Park.  It got its start in October 2004 when trustees accepted the donation of 80 acres of land just off South Second Street.  Their website states "Our unique state-of-the-art park serves as a national model by proving a new dimensions of inclusion for all people."  A park without boundaries that accomodates people in wheelchairs and visitors with special needs. 

nass_news_2013_jun_Selvaggio_ArchesAlong the 2 1/2 miles of concrete paths are accessible playgrounds, fishing piers and even a tree house. One of the more striking features is the Selvaggio Arches, remounted in the park from the 1892-1893 Columbian Exposition of the Chicago World's Fair.  This structure alone would make an interesting sundial.

The Rotary Club chapters throughout Springfield raised $60,000 for a 20-foot tall sundial.  As reported by John Reynolds in the State Journal-Register, "Brian Barstead, past president of the Rotary Club of Springfield-Sunrise Club, said the sundial will be at the center of a garden and will be topped with a flower with a giant bumblebee. At noon, the shadow of the bee will mark the date of the year."

It appears that the sundial will be a horizontal dial using the bee as a nodus and the date marks placed on the north noon line.  In addition to the main sundial in the garden, an analemmatic or "human" sundial will be constructed to allow interactive participation by children and their parents to tell time using their own shadow.

According to the State Journal-Register, "The five Springfield Rotary  chapters are marking 100 years of service in Springfield this year. The sundial donation is part of that celebration." Barstead continued "If you look at what Rotary is all about, it’s about people using their time to do good things. If you look at the sun dial, it’s a symbol of time that goes back forever."

The dials should be completed by the end of the summer. Read more at:

Sundial Moved with Hidden Treasure Print
Posted: Saturday, 15 June 2013 15:10

nass_news_2013_jun_PanamaCitySundial_1963Many sundials do not survive the raveges of time.  Buildings are destroyed and the sundial goes to oblivion.  However, Panama City Commissioners had a different view of the sundial once located across from the Marina Civic Center.  

William Whitson, Director of the Community Redevelopment Agency addressed the public during its recent meeting, as and recorded by Zack McDonald of the News Herald, "We always knew the sundial would be part of the redevelopment. But recently some of the info we've unearthed is pretty unusual."

Underneath the sundial, encased in concrete, was a section of a periscope captured from a German U-Boat.  It was made into a 600-year time capsule, filled with nitrogen to protect its contents. The capsule, 6 inches in diameter and 18-inches long, was deposited beneath the sundial on Armed Forces Day May 18, 1963 to be opened 600 years hence in 2563.

The News Herald reported that "In 1963 the personnel of the Navy Mine Defense Laboratory gifted the sundial and the time capsule to the city. The sundial was chosen because of its timeless character in depicting the enduring relationship between the city and Navy."

The 9-foot diameter terrazzo sundial has a large "USN" on the North East quadrant edge of the concrete dais.  On the off-white surface is a bronze tapered gnomon moved slightly to the south of center. Hour lines radiate from the gnomon foot and small arabic numerals grace the outer top edge of the dais. The sundial and its plaque of the Equation of Time is being moved to a new location near the Panama City "splash pad".  The 600-year time capsule will presumably be once again located underneath the sundial.

Read More at the News Herald:

Seattle - Sundial Capital of North America Print
Posted: Thursday, 16 May 2013 22:37

Read The Seattle Times article of May 14, 2013:

nass_news_2013_may_Sullivan_DialIn the May 14, 2013 edition of The Seattle Times University of Washington professor Woody Sullivan was honored as ‘Mr. Sundial’ for his persistence in declaring Seattle as the Sundial Capital of North America. Dr. Sullivan has worked on more than a dozen dials in Seattle, including the large 20x30 foot vertical dial on southwest wall of the Physics and Astronomy building at UW and the elegant 11x17 foot reflection sundial painted on the ceiling of his garage at N 47° 41.232, W 122° 21.562.  A small circular mirror outside the south facing window reflects a spot of light onto the ceiling.

The reflection sundial was a labor of love taking over 3 years to create.  Woody marked over 700 locations on the ceiling that allowed him to draw the local solar time, dates, hours of daylight, solar azimuth and altitude, analemma, and even hours to dawn.  And being a radio astronomer, he marked the transit sidereal time for two radio sources.  The dial was painted with marvelous beauty by a local mural artist, Jim Noonan.  The sundial is very personal to Woody, showing time marks for the date he married to the birthdays of himself, his wife, and two daughters.  The zodiac painted along the ecliptic has a local touch, representing Pisces by a pair of sockeye; Cancer by a Dungeness crab; and Capricorn as a mountain goat. There is even a compass rose.

nass_news_2013_may_UW_dialFred Sawyer, president of the North American Sundial Society (NASS) is quoted by Erik Lacitis, Seattle Times staff reporter, saying “it’s likely true that Sullivan’s garage sundial is one of the best in North America.”  When the NASS visited Seattle for the 2011 annual sundial conference, they visited Woody’s Reflection Dial and a marker was added to it for the date and time of itsofficial dial dedication held on Saturday 22 August 2011. “We toasted the sundial with an appropriate wine, ‘Wehlener Sonnenuhr’ by Joh. Hos. Prum, the fine Mosel Kabinett from the German vineyard with a large vertical sundial.” said Roger Bailey, the society’s secretary.

Among Dr. Sullivan’s accomplishments in the world of sundials began in the early 1990’s when the University of Washington’s Physics and Astronomy Building was being designed.  He suggested a large vertical (southwest declining) sundial.  The dial was completed in 1994 and Woody was hooked. He also helped design sundials used on the Mars exploration rovers Sprit and Opportunity that landed ion the Martian surface in 2004.  A campaign to build sundials all around our world ensued with the motto “Two Worlds One Sun”.  [photos from NASS]

Building Gone - Dial Lives On Print
Posted: Thursday, 18 April 2013 10:35
[photo courtesy of Kathleen Gust, Terman Engineering Library, Stanford Univ]

In 1995 Professor Emeritus Bracewell designed a vertical declining dial for the south face of the Terman Engineering Building at his Stanford University home campus in Palo Alto. But the building was torn down in 2011 and by March 2012 nothing but landscaping of the new Terman Park remained.  Fortunately Prof. Ronald Bracewell’s sundial once again casts its solar time on the south wall of the Stanford Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center.  Both the Huang and old Terman building have similar south-south-west alignments allowing the dial to be remounted without adjustment. [].

Bracewell described the sundial in the March 1997 issue of Stanford’s Civil Engineering Newsletter [ ].  It is a vertical declining dial 15 degrees to the west, approximately 72 x 80 cm in size and made from aluminum  In a plaque prepared by Bracewell and installed beneath the sundial, he states that his dial was modeled after the vertical dials that still faintly adorn the Tower of the Agora in Athens.  The Tower of Agora, also known as the Tower of the Winds, was designed by Andronikos of Kyrrhos, and built in the early Roman period ~1st century BC.

Instead of a typical gnomon, Bracewell chose to use an oculus: a disc with a central hole.  Standing 8 cm in front of the dial, the disc creates a shadow with a bright dot of sunlight in the center for telling both time and season.  The hour lines are offset by 2 min 40 sec to account for the longitude of the Stanford campus and the hour lines themselves are laid out not as straight lines, but as analemma curves (the figure 8 pattern of the sun’s seasonal movement), with spring colored in green, summer in red, autumn in orange, and winter in blue.  The analemma corrects for the “Equation of Time” allowing Bracewell to create an accurate clock-telling sundial.

The motto “Caelum Scruntando Leges Motus Didicmus” translates to “We learn the laws of motion by studying the heavens”.  And with a bit of subtle math, “d/dt ≠ 0” on the dial plate, one could interpret this to mean “Time changes all things”.  While Dr. Ronald N. Bracewell designed the sundial, his son Mark C. Bracewell constructed it.  Both their initials can be found at the bottom of the dial.

FileDescriptionFile size
Download this file (CENL0397.PDF)Bracewell SundialProf. Bracewell Describes his Sundial 1997300 Kb
Paper Sundials and More at Sundial Atlas Print
Posted: Sunday, 24 March 2013 14:05

nass_news_2013_mar_SundialAtlasPaperdialsNeed a small sundial for your display or science project?  Want to show how different sundials cast shadows?  Need a simple cut-out science exercise for your students?  Fabio Savian of Milan Italy has the solution.  For a number of years he has managed the Sundial Atlas website, ever increasing the number of sundial photos from around the world.  Over the last several years he has worked very hard to create the gnomolab that includes a solar compass map of the earth, cloud software for creating analemmatic (human shadow) sundials, and a section for making paper sundials to your specification.  The analemmatic dial measurements and papger dial designs are created as download PDF files.  Four of those dials were created by the North American Sundial Society.  Enjoy. Sundial Atlas Paper Sundials

Planetary Society Brings Back Earth Dial Print
Posted: Wednesday, 20 March 2013 22:08

nass_news_2013_mar_EarthDialThe Planetary Society and Bill Nye, The Science Guy, are bringing back the Earth Dial, which is a simple to make gnomonic horizontal sundial reminiscent of the sundial incorporated into the Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity and now Curiosity.  Their original and fundamental purpose is to serve as test patterns for the rover cameras, but they also provide an opportunity as unique shadow casting sundials.

“Since we had shadows being cast on Mars, I suggested it be a sundial… I admit I was quite enthusiastic about it. Steve Squyres, the Principle Investigator on the Spirit and Opportunity missions, made the call, and the Mars Dials were created. He received the [Planetary] Society’s Cosmos medal a few years ago, for his wonderful leadership of the project.”

 The Earth Dial project was started in 2004 and now, nearly a decade later, is being brought back.  Visit the Planetary Society website Planetary Society - Earth Dial for details and download the attachment below to construct your own Earth Dial.

FileDescriptionFile size
Download this file (EarthDials-2013.pdf)Earth Dial Print Out Design-2013Make your own Earth Dial with a dial drawn for your latitude (16 to 54 deg)923 Kb
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