What's New Under The Sun

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, 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...

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...

Monday, 26 July 2021 18:00

By the Light of the Moon Photo by Dr. Jeff Kretsch The analemmatic (human) sundial at Turner Farm Observatory Park in Great Falls, VA made by Eagle Scout candidate Kenny Dieffenderfer and Troop 1547 marked a unique place in sundialing history this July 23rd. The Analemma Society sponsors free Friday night public viewing of the heavens through telescopes at Turner Farm's...

Sunday, 30 May 2021 21:42

Dr. Jessica Warren, lecturer of physics and astronomy at Indiana University Northwest, is active in science outreach and education.  She is also passionate about sundials.  For Indiana University outreach shecreated a video "The Garden Sundial - Much More than an Ornament" that presents a brief history of the sundial, how they work, and where to get one or make one.  You can...

Tuesday, 13 April 2021 02:46

The first sundial in the NASS Registry is the dial from Carefree, Arizona. This 35 foot tall dial was designed by architect Joe Wong and solar engineer John Yellott and when built in 1959 was considered the second largest sundial in the world. You can see in the accompanying photo that hanging midway along the sundial's gnomon is a garish colored ball, a "Sunburst". [It is partially hidden by a...