Archive for the digressions category

March 28th, 2008

celestial treasure

Posted in digressions, planetaria by Heidi

A starchart globe/planetarium is in the treasure collection at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

china planetarium

February 21st, 2008

Wall Sundials

Posted in digressions by Heidi

A great collection of photographs of painted wall sundials from around the world.

wall sundial

wall sundial

February 11th, 2008

Stained Glass Sundials

Posted in artists/projects, digressions by Heidi

The oldest stained glass sundial, made in the far south of Germany in 1529. Now resides in the Alder Planetarium and Museum in Chicago. For further info: a huge archive of stained glass sundials through history.

stained glass sundial

January 13th, 2008

Astronomical clock of Besancon

Posted in digressions, planetaria by Heidi

A huge public clock installed in the European town cathedral in 1860. Much more about it here.

Astronomical clockof Besancon (detail)

December 9th, 2007

Martian Sundial

martian sundial

More info:

Athena Rovers – Marsdial

Interview with Bill Nye, Science Guy

December 4th, 2007


Posted in digressions, planetaria by Heidi

The Pantheon, Greek for “all gods” is a building in Rome which was originally built (about 125AD) as a temple to the seven gods of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Christian church.

The vaulted dome is said to symbolize the heavens and some speculate the symbolism may be more literal than previously realized-read this great Walter Murch interview on BldgBlog. [further info on BldgBlog,]

Interior of the Pantheon, a painting by Giovanni Paolo Panini

November 24th, 2007

Uta Barth

Posted in artists/projects, digressions by Heidi

Uta Barth’s photographs are on view at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in an exhibit titled ‘Sundial’.

From the press release:
“Conceived as pictures of light, the photographs that make up Sundial trace the effect of the sun’s movement as natural light falls and moves across the interior spaces of the artist’s home over the course of the day, on different days throughout the year. These photographs were primarily taken at dusk, when the last play of light begins to erase itself and the illuminated world is put to rest, when objects are caught in beams of light and cast their quickly fading shadows on walls, ceilings and floors. The resulting images are still, silent and slow. They are occasionally interrupted by the drifting optical afterimages produced by prolonged staring into the light, inverted visions our eyes can see, yet the camera cannot, a place where logic begins to slip and unexpected associations are made.”

Uta Barth

November 19th, 2007

Galactic Armillary

At the American Museum of Natural History, a huge armillary sphere hangs from the ceiling of the Columbus Street entrance. Traditional armillaries were used to demonstrate the motion of celestial bodies as viewed from Earth. This sculpture was designed with the Milky Way galaxy at its center and positioned to demonstrate New York City’s galactic address-its precise location-on January 1, 2000. Designed by Moey, Inc. and fabricated by ART.

Galactic Armillary Sculpture

November 8th, 2007

Digital Sundial

Posted in digressions, Sundials of Note by Heidi

Wow: a sundial that displays the time, not by throwing a shadow on a set of lines, but in plainly readable digits. The dial functions from 8:00 to 5.55 hr, in 5 minute steps, with a smooth transition from one reading to the next. The sundial has been invented by Hans Scharstein and Werner Krotz-Vogel (Germany) and Daniel Scharstein (USA). More info.

Digital Sundial

November 2nd, 2007

Nancy Holt

Excerpt from Saginaw Valley Sate U website, about a Summer solstice event:

Nancy Holt (b. 1938) has created more than 30 monumental site-specific public sculptures around the U.S. and beyond since 1970. Most orient the viewer to the sun, moon, and stars, enhancing our perception of nature and ultimately of ourselves. Some are in remote desert locations where the arduous journey to view the sculpture becomes part of the art. She has also made films and videos. In addition, she has published extensively about her art, other contemporary site-specific sculptures, and Earthworks or Land Art (i.e., generally colossal alterations or additions to the environment, some of which reclaim pit mines, landfills, or other areas devastated by industrialization).

Sun Tunnels

Sun Tunnels – more info


Sky Mound, Meadowlands of Hackensack, New Jersey, more info