You are on page 1of 6

Sundial

By

Phaphat Aowsathaporn (Mill)


Pathitta Kittimongkolsuk (Earn)
Wanwarisa Krittiyasrisumet (Pretty)
Nichaporn Nattawut (Earn)
Pemika Phatthanakittichai (Pair)
Poondarik Tayawitit (Pangrum)
Nathawadee Nonthabanhan (Nonni)
Wenika Setho (Josey)

Astronomy

Mr. Gopinath Subramanian

Mahidol University International Demonstration School

Semester 1 Academic Year 2018-2019


Objective:

To demonstrate that the Earth is rotating, in relation to the Sun, by showing how a

shadow moves throughout the day.

Background:

Sundial is the earliest timekeeping device. The first group who used the sundial was

the Egyptians and babylonians. Moreover, the Greeks also used a sundial called the

“pelekinon” where the gnomon or vertical rod was placed on a horizontal or half spherical

face. In china, the first Sundial was presented in Zhou Dynasty. Sun’s ray will provide the

shadow which will rotate and change the position over time.

The sundials tell time by casting shadows or light on the base plate. This plate is flat

but it can be shaped spherical, circular, conical or just about any shape and the face has

markings on it to indicate the time. Sometimes sundials can calculate the dates and the dial

may contain multiple markings. In addition, It is found that time can be calculated most

accurately at noon.

The working of a sundial is not simple because the tilted axis of the earth. By aligning

the gnomon with the earth’s axis, the difference can be compensated. Different sundials have

different principles for calculating time. There are three main types of sundial. The first type

is horizontal sundial. Its gnomon or needle is tilted in line with the earth’s axis while the base

is kept horizontally. The second is equatorial sundial, which the base plate is kept at an angle

that is parallel to the equator while the gnomon is perpendicular to the plate. The last one is

the most common type: the vertical sundial. Its plate is vertical and the gnomon is aligned to

the earth’s axis.


Equatorial sundial vertical sundial

Materials:

1. Cardboard

2. Pencil

3. Ruler

4. Coloured paper

5. Coloured Straw

6. Tape

7. Scissors

8. Magnetic compass

9. Stopwatch

10. Clay

Procedure

1. Choose one of the long sides of your cardboard to be the bottom. Two inches from the

bottom, make a pencil mark in the center.

2. Use a pencil, scissors, or other sharp objects to make a small hole the same size, or

slightly smaller than the straw.


3. Use the scissors to cut the straw; make three vertical, equal, half-inch cuts from the

bottom of the straw so that you can spread the sections out flat, for the straw to stand

on.

4. Insert the top of the straw through the hole in the cardboard until just the cut sections

remain on the bottom of the cardboard.

5. Tape the cut sections securely to the bottom of the cardboard to hold the straw up

right.

6. Find the place where the sun shines all day and you can leave the sundial in the same

position.

7. Find North, use a compass to find North. Position the cardboard so that the shadow of

the straw aligns with North on the compass. Use the masking tape to secure the

cardboard to the ground or table.

8. Set your alarm for the next top of the hour (noon, 1:00, 2:00, etc). When the alarm

sounds, observe where the straw’s shadow and make a pencil mark along the edge of

the ruler.

9. Write the hours next to, on top of, or underneath the mark.

10. Repeat the observation and notes at each hour. If you started in the afternoon,

comeback to the sundial the next day in the morning hours to complete the hour

marks.
Observation and Results​:

As the day went by, the shadow of the straw changes the position throughout the

hours and day. Shadow of the straw casts on the clock and from that we can approximately

determine the time of day.

Analysis​:

The fact that the shadow casts on an exact time seems to prove the point that the earth

really rotates relative to the sun. When the earth is rotating, the sun appears to move across

the sky which causes an object to cast its shadow. The sundial is, therefore, built base on the

same basis. The time is shown according to the motion of the shadow relative to the sun.

However, the time that is shown on the clock is not that exact since we use a straw as

a clock hand. When we try using the clock under the sun, because of the unexpected wind,

the straw we use cannot resist the wind and make the result not that accurate. Another reason
is because of human error during the process of measurement. When we trace the line from

the shadow to the numbers on the clock , we might draw the line not precise and not proper.

Conclusion​:

The shadow of the straw points according to the Sun’s movement, which

demonstrates that the Earth is rotating relative to the Sun.