This sundial is the gift of the Class of 1995 to Lakeside Upper School (High School). The starting concept was of a horizontal dial with a nodus suspended above the ground, but Seattle’s winter sun is so lo w (only 19° maximum) that a very large ground area would be needed to accommodate the winter sun. Therefore why not tilt the receiving surface (“dial plate”) for the winter half of the year? And if one is going to tilt, why not make it for convenience at an angle of 47.7° so that the plane int ersects the celestial pole? Finally, why not arrange things so that the date line for the equinoxes is precisely at the intersection of the two receiving planes? Thus the nodus, actually an aperture 24 inch (61 cm) above the ground, casts a spot of light on two planes of terrazzo-style cement, one horizontal and the other tilted. In addition to lines for the solstices and equinoxes, a noon analemma of stainless-steel strips is provided.
To personalize the dial, each of the 114 members of the graduating class was asked to provide a marble, which was to be placed such that the spot of sunlight would cross that student’s marble on his/her birthday. This was duly done and looked nice for a while, but then within a year some cretin had smashed all the marbles with a hammer. They were thus all removed and replaced with identical bronze disks at the same locations.
The motto, inscribed at the northside base of the gnomon, reads “Turn to the sun and shadows fall behind,” appropriate for the reader of the motto sitting on the bench, facing south.
Seattle Sundials >