Sundial to be unveiled on summer solstice

New innovations: this sundial corrects for the motion of the Earth as it travels in an ellipse.

Allan Brooks Nature Centre and The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada have collaborated to try to simplify the concept of time with the creation of the first Analemmatic Sundial in the Greater Vernon Area.

The new Sundial was built by the RASC, Royal Astronomical Society. Local RASC members, who have been longtime partners with ABNC presenting events such as Astronomy Nights and telescope education, came up with the initial concept.

“Our members built the Analemmatic Sundial and glass mosaic artist Connie Vetter-Johnson created the numbered stones with the distinctive hawk centrepiece to show people the complexity of time and astronomy in an interactive, physical space,” said Jim Kanester of the RASC.

As opposed to a normal circular sundial, the new Sundial corrects for the motion of the Earth as it travels in an ellipse — not a circle — around the sun, speeding up and slowing down over the course of the year. A regular sundial at any location will run up to 16 minutes fast in the spring and 15 minutes slow in the fall because the Earth speeds up in its orbit in the spring and slows down in the fall. The Analemmatic Sundial standardizes the Solar mean time at any Earth location so that high noon, as the point of highest sun elevation, is really noon!

“We’re thrilled to have this new public education amenity here on the grounds at Allan Brooks,” said Aaron Deans, Executive Director. “Interactive displays like the Analemmatic Sundial allows one to not only experience Earth’s shifting axis but also the opportunity to take time and reflect in nature.”

The sundial is located on the Grasslands Trail adjacent to the Norah Foord Pond Learning Centre. It will be unveiled on the Summer Solstice — June 21 at 8 p.m. at Allan Brooks Nature Centre, followed by solar viewing and Astronomy Education with RASC members.

The Foord Family Foundation and RASC Vernon were funding partners in this project. For more information about the Sundial visit www.abnc.ca

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