The Outdoor Sundial
You can get patterns to make an indoor sundial, but if you want to make a project for your school, church, or even for your home, you might want to construct a large outdoor sundial.
First, you will need to find a large, flat area that is in full sun, and from which you can see Polaris, the North Star, in the evening. You will also need a concrete post or some other form that stands about four to five feet tall, and about 12 concrete flagstones.
|Mark the area that you want to use for the sundial, and place the post securely in the ground. On a clear evening, find Polaris (You can use the pointers in the bowl of the Big Dipper.), and anchor a line to the post and secure it about 3 feet away to a stake in the ground. This will be your 12:00 NOON marker.|
| You will want to place a flagstone
here, with the cord centered in the middle of the flagstone. Measure the distance to the
pole. You might want to tie a knot in the string at the three-foot mark. Each flagstone
will be placed at the same distance from the pole, and will form a semi-circle around the
pole. To place a flagstone, use a knife or trowel to mark around the flagstone. Remove the
flagstone, and dig out the area to form a depression to seat the flagstone in. Level the
area, and replace the flagstone. You will use this method of seating for each of the
flagstones that you place. After you have placed the last flagstone with the cord
bisecting the center, remove the cord.
During daylight hours, using a watch that has been set to your local standard time, notice where the shadow of the pole falls at each hour. Place a flagstone at each shadow. When you are through, you will have an outdoor sundial.
|If you are using a school yard or church yard that
has a flagpole, you may be able to use the flagpole as the gnomen (central pole
pronounced "no-men"), and you
will place the flagstones about six feet away from the pole. In the summer, the shadows
may not touch the flagstones, but you will be able to see the direction that the shadow is
If you have a garden, you might also like to make a miniature sundial for the garden. The process is the same, you simply use a shorter post and smaller markers that lie closer to the post. If you do miniaturize the outdoor sundial, make sure that the post is not at a level where people are likely to trip over it, or bump into it and get hit in the face.
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