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This website presents a collection of sundial designs, constructed out of sheets of paper, including details of their construction and use.

You Can Make a Sundial!

Here are a few sundials you can make. They're all fun, easy to make, and unaffected by rolling black-outs. They only require a few minutes and simple materials which you probably already have on hand. Print extras for your friends or students. Of course you'll find the most common kind but the primary focus is on varieties that are a bit more unusual.

This project utilizes several different programs running on different machines around the web, all of them provided at no charge. If you can't get the online customization and file translation features to work for you and you are still wanting to use these sundial programs you can easily customize the PostScript manually.

My sincere apologies to those of you living in the southern hemisphere. Only a few of these programs work properly for you. Check out the book Sundials Australia.

If you can't wait for online customization I've set up a list of PDF sundials, one of which will probably be near your latitude.

What's Your Latitude?

You'll need to know your latitude so that your sundials can be custom-made, just for you. If you're online this form should find it for you at the U. S. Census Bureau's website and I've also prepared a list of ways to find your latitude. You'll need degrees in decimal, like 45.678 (except for the horizontal dial which must have degrees minutes seconds!) Write down your latitude and then come back to this page. (You may also want to make a note of your longitude.)

City: and state:
or zipcode:

Equatorial Sundial

These equatorial sundials are about as simple as can be. The gnomon is a pencil which is parallel to the earth's axis and the two-sided dial face is parallel to the equator. This dial doesn't really need to be customized. Just print the PDF, grab a thumbtack and a pencil and put it together. If you want to change the motto or something you can still go on to the web and customize and download your equatorial sundial now.

This dial is very simple to construct. Just follow the instructions. It is also, I think, an excellent choice for demonstrating basic astronomical concepts. At the north pole the gnomon of an equatorial dial could be a vertical pole in the ice and the dial face would be laid out horizontally, flat on the ice (parallel to the equator.) Half the year the sunshine would fall on the dial but the other half of the year the north pole is in darkness. The situation is similar but reversed at the south pole. The hours are marked on the two sides of the equatorial dial face so that half the year the time is read off the top surface and off the bottom during the other half. What do you suppose happens at the equinoxes?

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