Sundials are one of the oldest of scientific instruments. They may, in fact, be the oldest of scientific instruments. There is evidence for their use as early as 1500 B.C. Sundials are "living objects", requiring no winding, batteries, or other power source.
It is said that a clock or watch may keep time, but only a sundial can find time. Sundials allow us to tell time by the constant movement of a shadow that is cast by an object called a gnomon ("KNOW' - mon"). Most gnomons are rods that are permanently fixed on the dial. But in some dials, the gnomons are re-positioned daily.
This is the case for the dial at Northwest Florida State College, where you, as the observer, become the gnomon as you stand on the dial. The Sundial at NWF State College is called an analemmatic sundial and was created as an interactive artwork that combines science and art to promote an understanding of the earth's movement in space and the concept of time.
To learn more about understanding the Sundial read through the sections noted on the navigation bar to the left. For additional questions or to schedule a group or class tour, contact the NWF State College Sciences Division at (850) 729-5256.
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