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. Continue reading
Details for making the sundial came from archive records and photos. This image shows the design and successful first assembly of the new parts.
The replica of a 19th century lighthouse sundial we are making will be part of a mobile exhibition. It is progressing well. Lighthouse sundials were made by skilled instrument makers, who worked mainly with hand tools. We are using modern techniques for cutting out the metal and etching the intricate design on the dial plate. The picture shows our first trial to assemble the dial and gnomon parts. Continue reading
This is the finished artwork for creating the sundial plate. The graduated lines and gnomonic information will be transferred onto a prepared blank plate using the technical process of photoetching.
For centuries, the lighthouses round the rocky coasts of Britain have been a lifeline to ships at sea. The lighthouse keeper used a sundial to find the time. It was part of lighthouse equipment before telegraph, radio and automation eventually took over. We have been asked to make a replica of one of these sundials.
The replica is for a travelling display of Scottish lighthouse memorabilia, which the owner will use when he gives one of his regular talks on lighthouses to interested groups of people. He has built up a significant collection of items but a sundial is an essential missing piece he has been unable to obtain so far. Continue reading
Time lapse camera set up for study of a sundial looking at precision of the time shadow
There are many interpretations of how well a sundial reads the time. It is often thought the smallest increment of time on a sundial will be around two minutes. This is because the large diameter of the sun gives a fuzzy edge to the time shadow. Our study looked at the shadow Continue reading
Susan Calman chats with Alastair Hunter about the grand sundial at Glamis Castle and finds out how to read the time.
Susan Calman loves her tours of Scotland uncovering secrets for her Channel 5 TV series, ‘Secret Scotland with Susan Calman’. This time she was in Aberdeenshire and Angus. She began with a visit to Glamis Castle, the much-loved family home of Her Majesty the Queen Mother. Susan could not miss the chance to see Scotland’s tallest sundial while she was there, Continue reading
Silver Dihelion dual sundial sculpture able to read solstice and equinox, summer, winter, spring and autumn seasons, and the daytime hours.
Summer Solstice 2020 in Edinburgh was a day of beautiful sunshine. What could be a better time to show off our Dihelion dual sundial, which can read the solstice and the equinox seasons and the daytime hours. Shifting patterns of sunlight and shadow and petals of the sunflower show through so clearly. There is a lovely Continue reading
The sundial consists of 61 multiple dials on raised panels and in sunken hollows. The date of the sundial is 1630. It has been made as an exhibition piece to show all of the sundial mathematics of its era.
In 2017 after almost four hundred years outdoors the sundial was showing serious signs of the stone deteriorating. The whole structure was feared to be unsound. Making it safe had become urgent. Continue reading
It is lovely when a new sundial and a new design of garden full of flowers go hand in hand. Very often a sundial finds itself a little out of place standing on its own, but look what happens when it fits into a whole design and planting scheme of a colourful garden. Continue reading
Multi-faceted stone sundial after restoration. There are 34 separate dials, two for local time and the others for different places round the world.
Restoration of ancient stone sundials in Scotland can be very successful. As a latest example, a multi-faceted sundial at Nunraw, East Lothian, was found in poor condition in the garden of a private estate where it stands. It has now been restored to full working order and looks spectacular. The restoration was completed in June 2019.
This sundial belongs to the great era of Scottish sundials in the 17th and 18th centuries. It consists of three multi-faceted stones with a total of 34 separate dials. Continue reading
Graph of three solar parameters that affect the time of sunrise and hence the shortest day in the northern hemisphere. Latitude is a fourth parameter.
Summer has come and days are warmer—holidays are round the corner—but longer days are here no longer… Well, it is past summer solstice already! It is true the days are shortening now in the northern hemisphere. But when will the days get longer again? This is a technical puzzle. Like everything solar and astronomical there is no easy answer to the question.
Each year in December the media speak about the shortest day and then go on to say the mornings will still get darker. They are correct but how can this be? I thought I ought to clarify the question for myself if I could. It probably will not relieve anyone’s confusion by starting with a graph, so I have put my own study of the shortest day into an article for The British Sundial Society.