I want a sundial

There’s something so good about being in touch with the rhythm of the sky.  Knowing where the sun will rise and set.  Knowing if the moon is waxing or waning.  Looking at the phase and knowing where the sun is.

The power plant where I work has a 800 foot tall stack.  One hot summer day I was taking opacity readings (not off the stack, which is perfectly clear, but rather off the filtered vents on the top of the lime silo… which is perfectly clear 95% of the time).  My skin is typically described as fair (by those who don’t describe it as “oily”) and as such I have a great deal of experience finding shadows during the hottest days.  So there I was with a clipboard and a stopwatch and a folding chair writing down readings every 15 seconds in the shadow of the stack, and after a few minutes the shadow has moved.  I had to get up and move my chair 3 times in 30 minutes, and it occurred to me “So this is how a sundial works.”  And a few minutes later “Is this how Stonehenge works?”

The logical next step was to mark where the tip of the stack was at the top of each hour.  Hopefully with an interesting cairn.  Then I could also mark it seasonally.  And maybe connect all my cairns with a nice white gravel path.  Unfortunately at noon, and a good many other hours, the tip of the shadow of the stack falls in the waste water collection pond.  Though this is not as gross as the phrase “waste water collection” might bring to your minds, it makes my astronomical art project into an engineering night mare.


Shadman the wonderguy

Cracker of pots

Hatcher of plans


2 thoughts on “I want a sundial

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