Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Does anyone really know what time it is?

    So I was heading to Virginia to see my son and granddaughter and of course since I was going to be there for a couple of days I checked out what little Geocaching was in the area. There was one, a virtual (Vita Abundantior GC546D) that really caught my attention. Located on the campus of beautiful Randolph College in Lynchburg Virginia. The name of the cache, 'Vita Abundantior' is the college's motto and means, 'Life More Abundant"

    As you can see the cache is a Sundial. Not only is it a sundial but it is a beautiful one as well. From the stone work surrounding it's base to the intricately designed Gnomon casting it's shadow on the time of day. It is a functional work of art. It was a gorgeous fall afternoon when I stopped to get my smiley for this Geocache and as a result I was immediately inspired, I was looking for a new topic for this blog and here it was. By the way, as most if not all schools have, Randolph College has a student run newspaper. Anyone want to guess the name of the paper? Come on you know it. It is right there in front of you. That is right, The Sundial. I love stuff like that.

    Ok so I get home and I am eager to learn more about sundials. I am one with Google so with few key strokes I popped in my query. Just as with my last blog about Labyrinths I quickly find that almost anything has a web site.

The North American Sundial Society,

    A sundial is of course a device that tells the time of day by the position of the Sun. In common designs such as the horizontal sundial, the sun casts a shadow from its style onto a surface marked with lines indicating the hours of the day. The style is the time-telling edge of the gnomon. Gnomon is an ancient Greek word meaning, "indicator", or "one who discerns", or my favorite "that which reveals". The gnomon is often a thin rod or a sharp, straight edge. As the sun moves across the sky, the shadow-edge aligns with different hour-lines. All sundials must be aligned with the axis of the Earth's rotation to tell the correct time. In most designs, the style must point towards true celestial north (not the north magnetic pole or south magnetic pole). That is, the style's horizontal angle must equal the sundial's geographical latitude.

    The NASS website is full of good information about what makes a sundial a sundial and all the varieties of design as well as a locator feature so you can find some near you. I did just that and compared it to local geocaches for my purposes. Now just as a disclaimer, unlike Vitas Abundinator which IS a Geocache the rest will be NEAR caches. I will note the GC code of the nearest cache in the event you want to check out the sundial.

    Now I was fortunate to find a wide variety of sundials from small to large, horizontal to vertical and even one made of flowers.

    This sundial is near Seaworld and  is quite large and can be found near GCB3AB. I went up to the top of the parking garage to take the second picture. This one has suffered some damage as it is in front of an unoccupied building.

    This next one is located at Eastbrook Elementary School, in Winter Park, Florida. A visitor pass is required from the administration office before visiting. It is a bronze dial, 12 inches in diameter and set on a fluted base. Is is a memorial for Ashly Nicole Oliver. Visit, to learn more. Although this one is just a memorial, this dial is actually designed to hold cremated ashes

 This is a Topiary Sundial and features a spiral sheared Arborvitae gnomon which casts it's shadow on the dial plate. The rays, formed of sheared Japanese Boxwood, are precisely spaced to allow for the sun's movement across the sky. Each ray is terminated by a conical sheared Eugenia. The rays mark each hour as read from right to left - 8am to 5pm. the background or "dial plate" is planted of colorful annuals which are rotated four times a year to reflect the changing seasons.

This one is an obelisk sundial. It is made of Bronze and at the noon hour it will cast a shadow on a noon plaque located on the ground. Located off Orange Ave in front of the Sun Trust tower in Orlando and near GC1JANT. How appropriate that this one is dedicated to William H. Dial a long time director for Sun Bank.

    I was just about to put the finishing touches on this blog when completely by happen stance I came across two more sundials. One is unique in relation to the ones shown here and the other is similar but more ornate in it's design. If you remember earlier the one that was a memorial to a young girl that was actually a holder for cremated remains. This one below is not designed to hold remains but it is in a family plot in a cemetery. Unfortunately as seems to be a common occurrence the gnomon is damaged. But look at the beautiful ornate carving on the side of it.

   This next one I noticed as I was driving to GC2KJRZ the cache called Monkey Butt. I do not know what made me look over but I am glad that I did. A simple equatorial sundial, The unadorned rod casts its shadow on the curved surface. Now I have to mention that the sundial was WAY more interesting than the cache.

So it is time to go ( and yes the pun was intended ). But I will leave you with a quick quote from the Beatles because, Tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun.

More discoveries await...

1 comment:

Howard said...

Come to Pennsylvania and we can go to Longwood Gardens and see the one there, in the center of the Topiary Gaden.