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5.3: Exploring Further

  • Page ID
    4540
  • The “Sundial Bridge,” with a unique design which may well make it the largest sundial anywhere, opened July 4, 2004, in Turtle Bay Park (www.turtlebay.org/sundialbridge) in Redding, California, at the foot of Mt. Shasta. Designed by the innovative Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, it resembles his stunning 1992 bridge (http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/alamillo/) erected in Seville, Spain. It is a pedestrian bridge, connecting two parts of Turtle Bay Park, and it also operates as a sundial, using plaques set in a semicircular upper plaza.

    For a more detailed article about this bridge, see Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay on Wikipedia: en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundial_Bridge_at_Turtle_Bay.

    Before the days of affordable wristwatches, people often carried a folding sundial in their pocket (“poke" below), with a small magnetic compass embedded, to show the north direction. In “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare (act 2, scene 7) one of the characters tells of meeting in the forest a fool (witty court entertainer) carrying such a “dial”:

    “Good morrow, fool,” quoth I. “No, sir,” quoth he,

    “Call me not fool till heaven sent me fortune:”

    And then he drew a dial from his poke,

    And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye

    Says very wisely, “It is ten o'clock:

    Thus we may see how the world wags:

    'T is but an hour ago since it was nine;

    And after one hour more 't will be eleven;

    (and continues)

    You may also be interested to know that a North American Sundial Society (NASS) exists, with its home page at http://sundials.org. The British Sundial Society also has its sundial page at http://www.sundials.co.uk/.

    A sundial was included as part of the Mars lander mission and is shown in “Astronomy Picture of the Day” for April 28, 1999. It has a thick vertical gnomon, so that its readings may need some extra corrections.

    For those with serious interest in history (and access to a good library): “The Material Culture of Astronomy in Daily Life: Sundials, Science and Social Change” by Sara Schechner (History of Sci. Dept., Harvard) Journal for the History of Astronomy Vol. 32, part 3, August 2001, p. 189-222, with many illustrations.

    From the 1.1.2000 book catalog of Willman-Bell in Richmond, Virginia (www.willbell.com):

    • Easy-to-make Wooden Sundials, by Stoneman, 38 pp., $4.95
    • Sundials: History, Theory and Practice by Rohr, 230 pp, $12.95.
    • Sundials: Their Theory and Construction by Waugh, 19 chapt., $8.95
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