What's New Under The Sun

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 North American Sundial Society will hold its 27th annual conference in Nashville from Aug 11-14, 2022. Come to the Home of the Grand Ole Opry.  Our hotel is next to Vanderbilt University and close to downtown, with the Country Music Hall of Fame, National Museum of African American Music, and Frist Art Museum.  Don't forget lower Broadway, the center of Nashville's most famous...

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...

Sunday, 12 December 2021 01:17

John Krieger, a former science teacher, is a strong supporter of STEM in the classroom and science in the real world. Bollards at Laguna Nigel in southern California might offer the opportunity to teach a bit of astronomy.  John says, "I don’t mean to imply that every concrete curb stop should be turned into an astronomical instrument. But why can’t we have more of these things around...

Saturday, 04 December 2021 17:52

Frans Maes of the Netherland Sundial Society writes: "We deeply regret to inform you that Hans de Rijk, founding member in 1978 and honorary member of the Netherlands' Sundial Society, passed away on November 23, at the age of 95. He served in the Board of the Society for many years and wrote some 150 articles in its Bulletin. Among these were important contributions, such as a latitude...

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 21:55

Sundials have always been part of gardens, as witnessed by Alice Morse Earle's book Sun Dials and Roses of Yesterday written 120 years ago. Her book title expanded on the cover with the subtitile "Garden Delights Which are Here Displayed in Very Truth and are Moreover Regarded as Emblems." Thomas Christopher, a volunteer at the Berkshire Botanical Garden is author of a number of books on...

Friday, 17 September 2021 17:09

Seattle, WA wants to call itself the sundial capital of the world, but it runs a pale second to Birkenau, Germany. This small village in the south of Germany with about 10,000 inhabitants holds the record as the village with the highest density of sundials in the world. (https://www.sonnenuhren-birkenau.de/service-269/news/news-details/world-record-for-the-village-of-sundials.html). You can find...

Monday, 16 August 2021 16:45

The North American Sundial Society, after by-passing the 2020 Conference due to Covid restrictions, held the 26th annual meeting from August 5th - 8th at the Hilton Garden Inn, Center City, Philadelphia. The venue was similar to past conferences: Thursday night social and door prizes for attendees, Friday a bus tour of 11 sundials in the Philadelphia area, Saturday sundial presentations and...

Monday, 16 August 2021 16:38

This year's Sawyer Dialing Prize went to Dr. Sara Schechner “for her career in education and conservation of our dialing heritage, and in particular for her authorship of Time of Our Lives – Sundials of the Adler Planetarium”. Dr. Schechner is a historian of science, and in particular, of astronomical instruments. She is the David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific...

Clerke1687SpotDialGilbert Clerke. THE SPOT-DIAL, Very useful to shew the Hour within the House.

"Together with Directions how to find a true Meridian, the Azymuth and Declination; and how to draw a Dial upon a Staff, upon the Cieling, upon any Pillar or Globe. Never Before Published. By Gilbert Clerke. London, Printed by J.M. for Walter Kettilby at the Bishop's-Head in St. Paul's Churchyard, 1687."    (30 pages, 1.3 MB)

Clerke (1626-1697?) gave private lessons in the mathematical arts and produced custom-made sundials. In 1682 he published Oughtredus explicatus, an edition of William Oughtred’s famous 1647 algebra textbook Clavis Mathematica. Clerke added a section on dialling, in which he described his invention of the spot-dial. Some years later, he was prevailed upon to write this brief English treatment of the dial. “I did not think to have written any more of Dialling, having delivered my Mind sufficiently at the End of my Oughtredus Explicatus; but being desired by a Neighbour Gentleman to make a fuller Description of the Spot-Dial, which I mention there…, I have now undertaken it, according to that Gentleman’s Desire, having had much Experience (since that writing was extant) both of the best wayes of drawing the Dial, and of the best Materials, and so much as I believe, that little will be added by him, that comes after, to what I shall here say. The Use of this Dial is to see the Hour by the Rays of the Sun passing through a Hole, and terminated in a Glass set in a Frame within the House against the Window, the Ground of it is the same with that of the Sun’s Light passing through a Hole in the Window, and intercepted by a String, and of the Ceiling-Dial, where the Reflecting-Glass is supposed to be a Point in the Style.”

This can be ordered from LuLu Books: Clerke: The Spot-Dial(1687)