Thursday, July 2, 2015

New sundial and planets model in Givaataim

I am very enthusiastic about sundials and even helped the Israeli postal service to design a series of stamps about sundials in the past. Therefore, I was very happy to be invited to the inauguration of a new sundial in Israel. The sundial is located in "Gan-Haaliya" in Givaataim (Golomb st.) in a large garden surrounding the city observatory and is dedicated to the memory of Tal Izsak who was one of the guides in the observatory.
The sundial was built by the designer and artist Yoav Shavit with technical consultation by Eden Orion (both sites are in Hebrew). It is a challenge to make new kinds of sundial but it is still possible, at first glance this array of poles don't look like a sundial at all!


But the picture becomes clear as you get nearer. Each pole is directed towards a different spot in the sky and when the sun reaches that spot a shadow with the correct hour will appear on the grass below. Here is the hour eleven.


Eleven o'clock
Eleven o'clock
A few words about Tal before we will go on with the clock. Tal Izsak (23.06.1981 - 12.09.2012) was one of the guides in the local observatory and volunteered in the Israel Astronomical Association (IAA). I met Tal during a public observation in 2007 when I was a newbie and just stood beside him to understand how to operate a telescope. Here is a photo of Tal during an observation. Tal was always happy with a big smile, taking care of the telescope and ready to explain everything to the observers- children and adults.

Tal Iszak. Photo: Ella Ratz
Tal Iszak. Photo: Ella Ratz

The special design of the sundial (which is called a time field) causes some overlapping between the hours and at 11:30 you will see partial shade from both the 11 pole and the 12 pole. The purpose of the time field is not to give an accurate measurement of the time, but as many modern sundials are, to be a design-element in the urban area.


Here is the hour 11 from below
hour 11 from below
hour 11 o'clock from below

A partial shade of 10 means that we are already past 10

A partial shade of 10
A partial shade of 10


The time field
The time field

A bit later at 12
12 o'clock
12 o'clock


12 o'clock
12 o'clock


And here is the artist next to his work
Yoav Shavit and the time field
Yoav Shavit and the time field

The time field is just the first part of the dedication project. From the time field area and along a 200 meter path a model of the solar system was built. The big half circle in the photo above is actually the sun and each meter along the path represents 45 million KM in the solar system. In the relative distance of the planets a concrete pillar with some details about the planet was placed. Here is a photo for the Earth pillar. The small circle in the top of the column is the relative size of the earth to the sun. The concrete for each pillar was created specifically with the correct and required colors. The pillars are not painted, the concrete itself is with the right color.


The pillar for planet Earth
The pillar for planet Earth
The new time field and planets path are great examples of how to add scientific elements to our urban surrounding. If you happen to be in the area, pop over and take a look.










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