What's New Under The Sun

Thursday, 22 September 2022 20:41

The date is Sep. 22, 2022, the date of the fall equinox.  Although this is supposed to be the day of equal day and night, we know it's not exactly correct.  We measure daytime from sunrise to sunset, measured as the first and last light from the sun peaking over the horizon.  When we include sunrise and sunset plus atmospheric refration, at mid latitudes daylight wins by about 10...

Saturday, 27 August 2022 19:06

 Smithsonian Collection - Pocket sundial by Bourgaud of Nantes, 1660–1675. (MA.325565) From the National Museum of American History is an article about "How did a French pocket sundial end up buried in a field in Indiana?" published 20 July 2022 by Kidwell & Schechner.   It started in 1860 when Dr. Elisha Cannon, while plowing a field in Indiana, came...

Tuesday, 23 August 2022 14:17

The 2022 Sawyer Dialing Prize went to Frans Maes "for his creation of an introductory course on dialing, built on the idea of supervised self-study; for his successful multi-year running of that course in Europe; and for his inspiration of NASS’ development of a North American version.” Fred presented Frans with an award certification, the traditional cash prize of $250 and a custom made...

Tuesday, 09 August 2022 21:32

What makes a sundial?  Practically anything.  Sasch Stephens discusses how he became interested in dialing.  Since then he has turned many objects into solar time devices.  It takes some creative thinking to invision how a common object can become a working sundial.  One of the most recent projects turned a 54 x 28 foot south side of a building it into a giant sundial...

Sunday, 12 June 2022 22:00

Dr. Jeremy Robinson, (Naval Research Laboratory, Electronics Science and Technology Division) combined efforts with his father-in-law, Prof. Woodruff Sullivan (Univ. of Washington Dept. of Astronomy) to construct the World's Smallest Sundial. The competition was sponsored by Cadrans Solaires pour Tous and their record is being entered into the Guiness Book of World...

Saturday, 28 May 2022 17:28

Perhaps the smallest sundial goes to IBM with the printing of a sundial in a corner of a computer chip.  However it lacked a gnomon and could not really tell the time.  However, Chen Fong-shean, a Taiwanese miniature craftsman, was challenged by the French astronomical society to beat the Guiness World Record for smallest sundial held by an Italian.  The Italian dial created in...

Wednesday, 25 May 2022 14:42

NASS is saddened to report the passing of one of the UK’s pre-eminent sundial designer, Christopher St. J H Daniel who died on May 17, 2022. His works are to be found all over the UK, ranging from private commissions to major public works and to restorations and reconstruction of old and damaged sundials. After a 13-year career at sea, Christopher Daniel joined the staff of the National...

Thursday, 05 May 2022 15:48

Hochshule KaiserLautern Observatory.  HSKL Photo When is an astronomical observatory not an observatory? When it's playing the roll of R2-D2.  According to Atlas Obscura, "A university in Germany [Hochschule KaisersLautern, University of Applied Scieces Kaiserslautern at the Zweibrücken campus] has transformed its hilltop observatory into the charming likeness...

Friday, 29 April 2022 16:12

NASS is saddened to report that longtime member Harold Brandmaier died on April 11, 2022.  Throughout his long life, besides his ever-present sundials, Hal enjoyed stained glass, ship models, photography, travel, folk dance, and playing the hammered dulcimer and hand drums – always in company with his beloved wife Ginny.  Hal had been a member since NASS founding and stepped in to help...

Friday, 22 April 2022 14:45

On April 2, 2022 the Perseverance Martian rover's Mastcam-Z camera looked sunward and took a video of the eclipse of the sun by the "potato-shaped" moon Phobos.  According the NASA Mars Exploration Program site, "It’s the most zoomed-in, highest-frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken from the Martian surface."  NASA reports that "Several Mars rovers have observed...

Saturday, 26 February 2022 17:52

The 27th annual meeting of the North American Sundial Society was held at the Holiday Inn – Vanderbilt in Nashville from 11-14 August.  The Thursday night social included meeting old friends, exchanging stories about sundials, and for a lucky dozen-plus attendees, receiving sundial books and related door prizes.  One of the highlights of Friday’s sundial tour was seeing the symbolic...

Thursday, 17 February 2022 20:35

According to NewAtlas.com (https://newatlas.com/architecture/sun-tower-open/), construction of the Sun Tower exhibition building and outdoor theater is underway in the Chinese city of Yantai. The tower is being constructed by a French firm, Ducks Sceno and the engineering firm Arup, raising to 50m (164 ft) gracefully into the sky.  The tower symbolizes the historic watch towers of...

Foster1652PosthumaFosteri

Samuel Foster. Posthuma Fosteri: THE DESCRIPTION OF A RULER, Upon which is described divers SCALES:

AND The Uses thereof: Invented and written by Mr. SAMUEL FOSTER, LateProfessor of ASTRONOMIE in GRESHAM COLLEDG. By which the most usuall Propositions in Astronomie, Navigation, and Dialling, are facily performed. Also, a further use of the said Scales in Deliniating of far declining dials; and of those that Decline and Recline, three severall wayes. With the deliniating of all Horizontall Dials, between 30, and 60 gr. of Latitude, without drawing any lines but the Houres themselves. LONDON: Printed by ROBERT and WILLIAM LEYBOURN, for NICHOLAS BOURN, at the South entrance into the Royall Exchange. 1652.    (90 pages, 9.8 MB)

This book was published posthumously in the year that Foster died. It describes a ruler with 9 scales and gives instructions on how to use the scales to solve many of the standard problems of “astronomie, navigation, and dialling”. In addition to familiar trigonometric scales, the ruler includes two new scales introduced by Foster. The first provides an easy means of laying out horizontal dials between 30º and 60º of latitude without having to draw any auxiliary lines.

The second is an innovation that Foster identifies simply as the C scale. With this scale and a chord scale, Foster is able to find all the elements needed to draw a dial on an arbitrary plane. He also uses these scales to replace the usual dialing scales, laying out a sundial from equispaced points on the circumference of a circle. [ By reversing this process, a sundial that uses a standard clock face can be designed. ] One page of the current edition includes a redrawn version of the ruler that the reader can use in conjunction with the text.

This can be ordered from LuLu Books: Foster: Posthumi Fosteri - The Description of a Ruler (1652)