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The van der Heide sundial

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The van derr Heide sundial
Photo: Planétarium de Montréal (Sophie DesRosiers)
Equatorial sundial.

Located in front of the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, our sundial is the work of Dutch artist Herman J. van der Heide (1919-1998). It was offered to the City of Montréal in 1967 by the citizens of Rotterdam, Netherlands, for the 325th anniversary of the founding of Montréal.

The base of the sundial is 2.8 meters high, its dial face has a diameter of 2.68 meters, and its style is 2.8 meters high. Made of steel and aluminum, it weighs 2.6 metric tons.

The oldest clock

The sundial is one of the first objects designed to measure time using the Sun’s position in the sky. It consists of a base, a plane known as a dial face, which is parallel to the equator, and a style that is perpendicular to the dial face.

Hour lines are drawn onto the dial face, and the shadow cast by the style shows the solar time. Here, the shadow cast by the style on the hour lines of the dial face indicates Eastern Standard Time.

Our sundial is a variation of the equatorial sundial. Its particularity? It is inclined 15 degrees in comparison to the usual orientation.

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