NASA has taken outstanding video of the June 6th 2012 transit of Venus. Images were recorded by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory Satellite that records the sun's surface and corona at a number of visible light and ultraviolet wavelengths. [See sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov] These images showing the 2012 transit of Venus were recorded at a wavelength of 171 Angstroms (AIA 171) (Extreme Ultraviolet). This channel is especially good at showing coronal loops - the arcs extending off of the Sun where plasma moves along magnetic field lines. The brightest spots seen here are locations where the magnetic field near the surface is exceptionally strong.
NASA video source and images may be found at http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a010900/a010996/index.html
Don’t miss the Solar Eclipse this Sunday, May 20th. Times of the eclipse can be found at http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OHtables/OH2012-Tab02.pdf
For those of you in the San Francisco – San Mateo California area, Bill Gottesman, NASS dialist, has created an “eclipse clock”, a new type of paper sundial made specifically for the partial solar. You need a simple pin-hole projector (a card with a small hole in it) to cast a shadow of the eclipsed sun. The angle of the moon’s shadow tells accurate time (at least for San Mateo California). Bill will discuss how he made this dial at the NASS Sundial Conference in Asheville this August. Come find out how he did it.
On April 28-29, the North American Sundial Society and Analemma Society participated in the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington DC, presenting “Sundials – The world’s oldest clocks” at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C.
Photo shows opening day with Ken Clark and Jeff Kretsch helping students learn about sundials while parents look on. A great first day at the Science and Engineering Festival. And the second day was equally exciting.
Todd Petty reported in the Hunterdon County Democrat that Tom Carpenter, a member of Fire Company 13 for forty-three years, presented plans to the city council for a 9/11 memorial in Veteran’s Park located in Hampton Borough, New Jersey.
The park has memorials honoring local veterans from The Great War to those of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the twin tower collapse of 9/11 Tom Carpenter recalled, “Thank God we didn’t have anyone from Hampton Borough, but Lebanon and Bethlehem did. We did respond to Ground Zero within hours …and spent two days there. Hampton does have a direct connection [to 9/11] and we’re proud of it.”
Gardom Edge Monolith
[photo courtesy of Dan Brown, Nottingham Trent University]
A two meter standing stone at Gardom’s Edge may be an astronomically aligned monolith set up during the Neolithic period 2,500 – 1,500 BCE to recognize the summer solstice. According to Dan Brown, Andy Alder and Elizabeth Bemand of Nottingham Trent University, “Such an astronomically aligned stone could be described as a seasonal sundial … However it is not intending to mark local time during a day or measure exact dates during a year. Rather the seasonal shadow casting allows for the display of cosmological knowledge such as the ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’ of the Sun”…
The upward facing north slope of the stone remains in shadow until near the time of Summer solstice. Today the stone points south at an upward tilt of 58.3° +/- 2.9°, seemingly aimed at the highest rise of the summer sun, computed for the Gardom Edge latitude of 53.26° as 60.7° in Neolithic times.
[photo courtesy of Ruben Nohuitol]
Ruben Nohuitol of Queretaro, Mexico has a unique solarium or “cosmic room” to observe the rays of the sun throughout the year. He has patiently constructed a wonderful time-lapse video following the sun every day at 12:45 pm. His construction has a vertical meridiana beam of light descending and then ascending the wall as time passes throughout the year. A second sky-light gnomon creates a classical analemma on the floor.
[photo courtesy of John Foad]
Many have been following the Prime time Emmy Award winning series Downton Abbey on PBS. This British World War I period drama was filmed on location at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, which represents the fictional Downton Abbey. Many outdoor scenes were filmed in the village of Bampton, Oxfordshire. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downton_Abbey )
As you follow the lives of aristocrats and servants in this acclaimed series, keep an eye out for sundials. Attached is a photo noticed by NASS member John Foad. Want to search for yourself? Look for the dial in front of the hospital. The complete set of the series can be found on Amazon and Shop PBS.
And while you're at it, look for sundials in Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders, and Father Brown. You'll be surprise how many sundials you will find.
[photo credit: Steve Bisson -
Savannah Morning News ]
Lesley Conn reports in the Savannah Morning News the restoration of its vandalized sundial. This is no college prank, but a malicious and repetitive attack on the Louis B. Toomer sundial in Chatham Square in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia. Conn reports that “City officials are adding new elements to the repair process – a public plea for help and a reminder to the monument marauder that destruction of public property is a felony. They made their case Tuesday after sealing a new sundial to the stone base.”