One of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Pantheon in Rome is an enduring testament to the power and glory of ancient Rome. At the same time, it has also always posed something of a mystery. The only source of natural lighting is a thirty-foot diameter hole at the very top of the hemispherical dome, often referred to as the "oculus".
Working since 2009, scholars Guilio Magli and Robert Hannah discovered that at midday on the equinoxes, a shaft of circular light shines through the oculus and illuminates the Pantheon's entrance.
[photo courtesy of
All right mate, have a pint of golden sun. You can pick up a sundial beer glass designed by Jackie Jones for 51o North at The Greys Pub in Southover Street Brighton, or if you're out of the country, the dial will work in Banff, Canada, the European cities of Calais, Brussels, and Dresden, and in Kazahstan or other points of equal latitude
The sundial glass motto? “Campaigning for real time”. The sundial glass is a sun altitude type of dial using a frosted ring on one side of the glass to cast a spot of light onto the far side of the glass, calibrated with hour lines for the date of year. Not a bad way to contemplate the time while having a sip. You can get your own sundial glass at http://sundialglass.wordpress.com/
If you look in the NASS Sundial Registry at Dial #617 from Ann Arbor Michigan you will see a lovely equatorial sundial on the grounds of the University of Michigan North Campus near the College of Engineering buildings. The dial exists only as a photo and a memory. Last April between the 13th and 15th it was stolen according to the Detroit Free Press.
The bronze equatorial dial has a circular nodus on the polar gnomon arrow to mark the seasons on the broad equatorial band.
Thanks to Andy Robertson
Recent examination of our Sundial Registry revealed dials that no longer exist and have been replaced with something else that might resemble a sundial, but isn't. Consider the brief entry of Dial 56 that may have once existed in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 9 Mimosa Road:
Along with her husband, Mrs. Webster spent much of her life and fortune combing auction catalogs and antiquarian shops to create a collection of early scientific instruments so renowned, it is considered in the same company as the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, according to Bolt, Adler planetarium vice president for collections. The Websters are primarily responsible for the world-class collection of scientific instruments at the Adler.
NASS is supporting the Adler to catalog their sundial collection enhanced over the years by Marjorie Kelly and her husband.
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.
Mark and Clare Hoggart have three daughters, all of whom attended and graduated from the Joseph Rowntree school in the UK. Now, in appreciation, the Hoggarts have donated an analemmatic sundial to the school, saying, “It’s just a thank-you for getting the girls through their education. They have all got on really well and have blossomed into lovely young ladies. We want to thank them for the effort they have shown them as individuals.” The sundial has been installed outside the science block.
The Hoggarts, who own an ornamental gardenware company (http://www.fosstone.co.uk/), have already received orders from others who are interested in a similar installation. See the NASS website on dial construction for further plans to build an analemmatic sundial.