The heart of the Cosmic Room is an unusual vertical meridian sundial created by sunlight passing through a slot on the roof above. In winter the solar meridian transit is labeled with a column of blue tiles and at the spring equinox the tiles change to orange. The sign "Analemma 12:45" indicates civil time on the spring equinox when the sun is on the local meridian. With the sun overhead, the beam of light follows the vertical set of tiles downward until it reaches the boundary between orange and blue tiles - the equinox has arrived. Ruben Nohitol has been photographing this event for the last 16 years, every year since 2002. From a ceiling hole Ruben marks the image of the sun at 12:45 on the floor with a small green circle. He does this on dates throughout the year(s), not only creating a nice analemma, but does it with such precision that he is able to notice the slight shifts in solar equinox position through the leap year cycle of four years.
More impressive is the due west sunset on the equinox. A beam of light streams though a hole in the western wall of his hacienda, across the living room, through a square hole between rooms, across the Cosmic Room grazing past the vertical sundial and its tiles, and lands as a bright solar disk at the far end of the Cosmic Room on a vertical wood screen mounted on an exit doorway. To add to the drama of the setting equinox sun, Ruben placed a model of the pyramid of El Cerrito on a shelf in the Cosmic Room blocking some of the sun's rays. The result is a shadow of the the pyramid against the solar disk, giving the illusion of thesun setting over the great pyramid. You can see his vertical meridian and more at http://www.makeaholeinthewall.com and the sundial in operation at http://www.sundials.org/index.php/dial-links/videos/meridiane See his patience to photograph the real setting sun over the pyramid of El Cerrito in Queretaro, Mexico at http://www.sundials.org/index.php/dial-links/videos/analemmas-time-and-motion
Territorial Sundial at Washington State Capitol Campus before Resotration
John W. Elliot, a Seattle master craftsman designed and executed the Territorial Sundial, a 6-foot dial hand-hammered in brass with a bronze rod gnomon in 1959. (NASS SUndial Registtry #319). But the dial had tarnished with age and weather and the gnomon bent and broken.
As of January 4, 2018, the Territorial Sundial returns to the Washington State Capitol Campus. For the last six months the 59 year old dial went through considerable rennovation. A new gnomon has been crafted as a replica of the original, but with improved attachments. According to "From Our Corner", the Washinfgton Secretary of State Blog, "Repairs have also been made to the face of the sundial, as well as work on the sundial’s base and anchoring system to ensure its face is flat and horizontal...The sundial will now be sturdier than ever with improved durability while maintaining its original historic appearance. [The] Department of Enterprise Services consulted with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the State Arts Commission in deciding to replicate the artwork."
Within the 6-foot dial face "There are eight panels that depict important milestones in our territorial history. The quote by Marcus Aurelius on its display reads, “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current.” This beautiful dial, now restored as an accurate device more measuring solar time, will be dedicated at noon on Tuesday, January 30th, 2018.
Territorial Sundial Installation - January 2018
Dan-George Uza has prepared a calendar for 2018 "containing images of Romanian sundials and some daily astronomical information (the equation of time, the Sun's declination angle & zodiac sign, the Moon's phase & age etc.).... The calendar reflects the usual Romanian practice of starting weeks on Mondays, being the first working day, although orthodox religious calendars have reverted to starting weeks on Sundays due to religious reasons since 2011. The days of the week have been translated to their English counterparts for your convenience. Apart from the last two, which have different etymological background, they all closely follow the names of the ancient planets" Luni - Luna (Moon), Marti - Marţe (Mars), Miercuri - Mercury (Mercury), Joi - Joe/Jupiter (Jujpiter), Vineri - Venus (Venus) Sámbătă - from the Latin sa(m)bbatum meaning Sabbath, Duminica - from the Latin (dies) Dominica meaning day of the Lord. .... You may download the English version at the link below:"
Dan explains that the calendar " includes a brief introduction to the Romanian calendar, such as an explanation for the names of the days and months, the dates of national holidays etc. This is actually my second calendar. I did the first one last year inspired by Fabio Savian's French Republican Calendar. A big thanks goes to Patrick Powers who was kind enough to correct my spelling mistakes for this English edition."
"The astronomical data was generated in Sun Ephemeris, Gian Casalegno's excellent software. The calendar is freeware so you may of course share it. It's intended for A3++ size paper (330x483mm) but I guess simple A3 will do."
"Have a Happy New Year or - as we like to say in Romanian - La Multi Ani!"
Damage to Erickson Equatorial Sundial in Cranmer Park, Denver, CO. Photo Credit: Save Our Sundial
In 1941 George Cranmer undertook to place a sundial of Chinese tradition in Mountain View Park (now Cranmer Park) in the area of Hillside, Denver. Dan Babcock and Stephen Ionides of Erickson Monument Company translate the Chinese characters into Arabic. Unfortunately the dial was dynamited by vandals in 1966, and through the Erickson Monument Company, a large 6-foot disk equatorial dial of pink granitie was erected on a terrazzo plaza.
Climate and a sinking foundation led to the deteriation of the dial and plaza. In June 2014 the CIty of Denver committed $545,000 to restor the Cranmer sundial and plaza through the Parks and Recreation and the Arts and Venues departments with the proviso that the citizens raise another million dollars.
A group local group of neighbors orgainized as The Park People started "Save Our Sundial" and began fundraising. By April 2017 they raised $680,000 that will augment the city's set aside of $870,000 for the project.
The Denver Patch reports that a total of $2 million is available for the project. Denise Sanderson, "a local advocate and organizer for the park restoration" created the "Save Our Sundial" project which is run by The Park People with Executive Director Kim Yuan-Farrel. City coordinator is Lauri Dannemiller, Executive Director of Parks & Recreation City & County of Denver. The restoration would not be possible without the financial support and community activism of the residence of Hilltop community. Neighbors met Monday, Dec. 18 to celebrate the beginning of the reconstruction at Cranmer Park which will begin in early 2018 and completed by late fall 2018 if seasonal weather permits.
He may be wheelchair bound, but that doesn't diminish Tom Laidlaw's enthusiasim for sundials. In front of his house on Carolina Lane is the Vancouver Heights neighborhood landmark - a sundial garden. And what has he planted?
There is a bright circular equatorial sundial that shows the time from 4am to 8pm (and even an offset for daylight saving time). On the grass is an analemmatic sundial sundial marking time from 6am to 6pm for anyone who wants to stand to the plywood walkway. On a table near the house are a series of globe, equatorial and horizontal sundials as well as other sundial types that he will gladly explain. For example, Tom has turned a skate board into a polar dial by adding a "T" gnomon in the middle. And then there is a model of the Jefferson dial where you swing the gnomon around a globe to cast only a thin line shadow
Katie Gillespie, of the Columbian, reports "The 80-year-old retired electrician has always been a 'do-it-yourself kind of guy,' he said. For a while, it was skateboards he fancied, and bookshelves, and a Benjamin Franklin chair that transforms from a chair into a stepladder. He’s self-taught, he said, researching new projects online, then diving in.... 'It’s fun to watch him talk to people about it,' said Debra Brouhard, Laidlaw’s daughter and neighbor."
His latest obsession is sundials. As a member of the North American Sundial Society, Tom now designs a multitude of sundials. Visitors see his yard dotted with all types of sundials. They come in all sizes: big and small. His analemmatic sundial on the lawn always draws attention. Nearby, a plumb bob dangles from a beam. allowing Tom to tell time solar noon. when the shadow draws a line on the lawn pointing due north.
Gillespie found that, "Laidlaw’s passion for sundials began in 2009, when his grandson, Doug Brouhard, stuck a stick in the ground while they were camping. Doug Brouhard was about 12 at the time, and the dial didn’t quite work, Laidlaw said. It was the right idea, though, and a new hobby was born. 'I still have the stick that started it all,' Doug Brouhard said."
Read more of Katie Gillespie's article and see more photos of Tom Laidlaw and his sundials at http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/aug/30/sundial-garden-shines-in-vancouver-heights/
Normally when one mentions a human sundial, we think of an analemmatic dial carefully painted on the ground with a himan gnoman standing carefully on a date in the central walkway. But you can design a sundial that works for a day or two by just having a central platform, standing on it to become a gnomon, and letting your shadow fall on marked hours drawn on the ground below. But would you stand there all day? NASA presented their Astronomical Picture of the Day showing that "on July 19th, the Astronomy Group of students in the Progymnasium Rosenfeld created a human sundial, each participant patiently playing the role of a gnomon for 10 minutes. In this timelapse video of their temporal voyage of discovery, one image was taken every 20 seconds from 8 amuntil4 pm Central European Summer Time. Drawn on the ground are the dial hour marks calculated to show the local time for that specific date. Behind, the tower clock offers a time check... The group plans a repetition of this performance next winter to compare the length of the day and the altitude of the sun."
Video by permission of Astronomie-AG, Progymnasium Rosenfeld, Till Credner, AlltheSky.com
In January of this year we reported that the Malta 1695 vertical sundial on the wall of the Jesuits' Church, next to the Old University entrance on St. Paul Street in Valleta was in severe disrepair. Alexei Pace reports that "restoration of the 1695 sundial in Valletta, has now been completed. All the vegetation and fungal growth/mold has beeen removed and the stonework re-pointed."
Perryville Eclipse Sundial
In Perryville, Missouri, Perry County unveilled a sundial commemprating the coming August 21st total solar eclipse. Mike Mohundro, Photojournalis for Hearland News (KFVS Channel 12) interviewed Trish Erzfeld, Perry Count Heritage Tourism Director, who said "We just wanted something after the eclipse is over with that the community can be proud of and reflect back on." Mohundro went on to write "many organizations worked on this project together including Earthworks, the [North] American Sundial Society, St. Louis Stone Artist Abraham Mohler, Perry County and more."
The sundial, shown in a KFVS video and in the photo at right, is a horizontal white milk glass sundial now mounted on a large marble pedestal (watch the dial video at http://www.kfvs12.com/story/35969739/perryville-to-commemorate-eclipse-with-sundial).
On the pedestal are three plaques, one entitled "Time" explaining how to convert the sundial's solar time to civil time as told by watches and cellphones. "Not a lot of people know how to read a sundial," Erzfeld said. "It's a teaching tool as well as a historical marker here on out." The second plaque entitled "Eclipse" shows the date and time when the August 21st eclipse starts and stops as seen in Perryville said Don Snyder, local member of the North American Sundial Society. The third plaque "Sundial" indicates who was involved in creating the dial.
Mohundro quotes Erzfeld saying "Education is been our main focus through this whole solar eclipse even... There's just so many things that play into the science of it and a sundial is one of those things that people can learn from."