The Sundial - Garden Ornament or Exotic Timepiece?
Article by: Graham McClung
Most of us regard a sundial as an attractive ornament for a park
or garden. , Embellish Your Trees with Movement, Music, and Light Their effectiveness as time keepers is highly variable
That's unfortunate, because it is not at all difficult to ensure
that your garden , The Patio Heater vs. The Chimenea - The Season Extenders sundial will be an accurate timepiece,
provided, of course that the sun , Milling four square lumber is shining.
But that will be covered in another article. For now, let's see
what a sundial is, and what it is capable of.
We forget in this modern age that accurate, affordable watches
and clocks have been around for much less than 200 years.
Before then, sundials were one of the few ways to tell the time
with reasonable accuracy.
Shadow clocks dated at 1500BC are known from Egypt, but the
first dials appear to have been Babylonian. The Greeks adapted
the idea, the Romans developed it further, and by about 100BC
had perfected the horizontal sundial (and placed it in their
garden , Get More Heat from Your Same Ol' Fireplace with Simple Techn s).
Even in ancient days some people had schedules to keep, and both
agriculture , Choosing Roses For Your Landscape and religion required knowledge of the seasons , Native Plant and Tree List For The Doylestown Pa. Area and
the movement of the sun , Get Off The Grass - Groundcovers For Problem Places to determine planting and the timing of
The sundial was an important means of providing that
information , REPLACING STEEL CASEMENT WINDOWS (PART 2) , and considerable advances in mathematics, geometry
and astronomy were made while it was perfected. The knowledge
gained forms part of the foundations of modern science.
Types of Sundial
There are four reasonably common types of sundial.
They all have two things in common. Each consists of a raised
structure, called the gnomon (silent "g") which casts a
shadow onto a plate called the dial. The dial is divided
into hourly or shorter time divisions and may also show other
information , The Advantages of Poly Outdoor Furniture .The part of the gnomon whose shadow indicates the
time on the dial is called the style.
The most abundant form is the horizontal sundial, happily
sitting on its pedestal or column and adding beauty and interest
to the home , Sky Pencil Hollies Are Used in Easton Pa. garden.
Related is the equatorial sundial, with its dial oriented
at the same angle as the latitude. It works slightly
differently, and is easier to use when properly calibrated.
Thirdly, there is the vertical sundial, ideally located
on a wall , Lumber 101 facing due south in the northern hemisphere, and north
in the southern hemisphere. The principle is much the same, but
the sundial only occupies a semicircular area. Vertical sundials
displayed the time to the public, and were used to correct
unreliable public clocks.
And the most elegant of all, the portable sundial. George
Washington had one - at that time pocket watches were most
unreliable. Modern examples can be a work of art. They combine a
compass with an adjustable dial. The dial is tilted to
correspond to local , Get Off The Grass - Groundcovers For Problem Places latitude, and the compass defines north.
A properly designed and installed sundial can be a very accurate
means of telling the time, down to intervals of less than a
I won't go into the mathematics, but on a sundial 16 inches
(40cm) in diameter, the shadow of the gnomon will move about
1/30th of an inch, or just under 1mm, in a minute. This may be
small, it's enough for our eyes to see.
Two Major Problems
Apart from the frequent absence of sunlight (Problem 1), all
sun , The Walking Leaf dials show time by cakibrating outwards from the position of
the sun , Get More Heat from Your Same Ol' Fireplace with Simple Techn at noon, and if you live east or west of me, your noon
is different to mine.
Although the earth , How to Create a Decorative Garden Window moves around the sun, , Parsley: A Cook’s Best Friend we see it the other
way. The sun , Interior Design Simply Means Personalizing Your Interior Env appears to move from east to west across the sky,
and local , The Benefits of Wood Fireplace Mantels noon is when it's vertically overhead. But if you live
100 miles west of me, my noon is still your late morning, and
your noon is my early afternoon. This would be inconvenient if
we used our sundials to arrange a lunch date, but a real problem
if I had a plane to catch in another city.
Solar Time and Official Time
People managed to live with this problem until communications
and transport became faster. Imagine calculating train
timetables when Boston, New York and Buffalo all worked on
different local , Love to garden but short on money? Here's 10 money saving ideas. times.
The answer was the development of local , Lumber 101 time zones. US
Railways did this in 1883, but in 1914 the world's governments
agreed to divide the globe into 24 zones, each 15 degrees of
longitude in width, and each one hour different in time to its
neighbours. Boundaries were altered slightly to account for
state and national borders.
There are four time zones in the contiguous 48 states of the
USA: Eastern, centred on 75 degrees W longitude; Central, on 90
degrees; Mountain, on 105 degrees; and Pacific, on 120 degrees.
Noon was identified astronomically for each of these meridians
(now it's done by atomic clocks), and accepted everywhere else
in the zone.
Noon on sundials in places , Looking for the best opinion concerning glass art. very close to these longitudes will
correspond to official noon. For every degree east or west of
the central meridian, for 7.5 degrees either side, you will need
to add or subtract four minutes respectively to correct your
sun , Bamboo To The Rescue! dial.
A few other adjustments are necessary to compensate for
irregularities in the earth's path , Cultivating Plants in your Garden...what to watch out for. around the sun , Parsley: A Cook’s Best Friend - not too
difficult to make but the theory is beyond this article.
They add to the inconvenience, and that's why sundials have been
superceded by more convenient and reliable forms of time
keeping. But problems with time zones and orbital paths , Be Careful of Over-Mulching Your Plants can be
corrected, and there's no reason why you can't find the correct
time from your sundial.
No reason, that is, provided it has been properly installed in
your garden. , Mosquitoes in Your ? Try Planting These. And that's the subject of another article.
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