An armillary sundial in early morning

An armillary sundial in early morning

This is our new sundial design. It stands in our garden among the plants. It is early morning and the sun has just reached the centre band where you read the time.

An armillary sundial has a wonderful form. It has mathematical rings creating beautiful shapes with circles and lines. The sundial in the photo has just begun to catch the early morning sun in the garden.

The sundial gnomon is the slanting rod in the centre of the rings, and the wide sweeping band is where you can read the time. These features are the same as other armillaries, but our design has special secrets.

The two small orbs that look a little like planets in orbit are on the tropical rings for Cancer and Capricorn. They cast unusual and intriguing shadows. One shadow runs for half the year and then the other one takes over. They mark equinox in spring and autumn, and solstice in summer and winter, but in unexpected ways. And in fascinating celestial alignments, they mark four ancient Celtic festivals.

We have still to decide on all the details of our new armillary sundial. The tripod support is an integral feature, although it is partly obscured by garden plants in the photo. This sundial is freestanding and unique. Even the feet are shaped in mathematical curves.