The Land Institute is a not for profit organization based in Salina, Kansas, having a goal to create an agriculture system that mimics natural systems in order to produce ample food and reduce or eliminate the negative impacts of industrial agriculture.  A mile north of the Institue is their Marty Bender Nature Area where Owen Brown has created an art project "Units of Measurement".  According to Jason Beets of the Salina Journal, his project "consists of three sets of sun dials created from praire-colored angled flag poles to symbolically represent the passage of time."

The idea is to meditate on the passage of time.  The first set of three poles, called "In the Beginning" is 1,190 feet east of another set of poles called "The Passage of a Second".  According to the artiist, this is the distance that the earthrotates in one second.  A third site, called "From the Future" is located 723 feet north of "In the Beginning" is placed such that at "... dawn of the summer solstice, the shadows of the sundials at “From the Future” will touch [point to] the sundials at “The Passage of a Second.” Owen said, "I want this installation to make us more aware of where we are, who we are, and how we are ... in relation to the earth, to what we grow, and to what nurtures us."

Interesting art but very poor science.  For each cluster of three flag poles, only the one point to North can work as a sundial.  And the pole needs to be at an angle from the ground equal to the latitude of 38.855° N.  From the photo, the angle is closer to 60°.  Fortunately there are no hour lines on the ground to show the incorrect time of the shadow.

Updated Content: 28 Feb 2022

We've recomputed "The Passage of a Second" using Earth Centered Earth Fixed (ECEF) coordinates for the latitude of 38.855° N and an altitude of 1,227 ft attributed to Salinas, KS.  The result is an earth radius of 4.973775 x 10^6 meters giving a circumference of 31,251.15km.  But to count exactly one revolution of the earth (in inertial space) we need to use the sidereal day of 86164.1 sec rather than the mean solar day of 86400 sec. And just as Owen Brown has separated "In the Beginning" and "The Passage of a Second", the distance is 1190 feet.  The angle from east of "From the Future" 723 feet north of "In the Beginning" as seen from "The Passage of a Second" is 31.28° or 121.28° from south.  The first rays of the sun appear on the eastern horizon when the center of the sun is actually 0.833° below the horizon.  The sun's apparent position is due in part to atmospheric refraction.  Taking this effect into account, sunrise on the summer solstice will occur at an azimuth from south of 121.3°, the alignment used by Owen Brown.

Indeed the sunlight is coming from the future on the solstice, travelling the Pathagorean distance of 1,392.4 feet in (424.4m) between Future and Passage requires 1.4 microsecond. Owen Brown's simple constructs with precision placement is something to be contimplated.

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