The Kathleen Fischer Sundial

The Kathleen Fischer Sundial was dedicated on June 9th, 2012 in memory of Kathleen Fischer, a wonderful 6th grade science teacher who was an inspiration to us all in founding the observatory and the planetarium at Sarah Noble school.

The Fischer Sundial is a stainless steel equatorial sundial.  It is 9 feet tall, and the time band arms are 5 feet in diameter.  Integrated into the gnomon is a true size bronze and brass replica of Galileo’s first telescope.  The time band is adjustable to be able to tell both clock time and solar time and both Eastern Standard and Eastern Daylight time are inscribed in the band.  It rests on a 55 inch one-ton granite disc, and the disc is surrounded by a multicolored polished granite compass rose.

The sundial was carefully designed to incorporate only geometric curves, including catenary curves, hyperbolic and elliptical curves, and arcs of circles.  The sundial was carefully constructed to our latitude of 41.5 degrees, and the time band is precisely etched for clock time accuracy to +/- 5 seconds.

The original design concept incorporating Galileo’s telescope was done by local artist Ray Crawford.  Many observatory volunteers worked on the detailed design.  Volunteer Jeff Chodack constructed a detailed 3d CAD representation and performed full structural analysis of the whole system.   Local metal sculptor Ryan Blessey did a wonderful job fabricating this complex sculpture.

See the Photo gallery for pictures from the dedication ceremony on June 9th, 2012!