How to Build Your Own Solar Clock How to Build Your Own Solar Clock

What You'll Need
3 ft long dowel in 1-inch diameter
Twelve 10-inch lengths of half-inch diameter dowel
Watch
Hammer
Permanent marker

Building your own solar clock is a fun weekend activity that you can share with your kids or friends. A solar clock, also called a "sundial" is the earliest form of device that is used to determine the time of the day. A solar clock is a simple device composed of a long rod and small rods as markers. Below are the materials that you need along with the instructions on how to build your own solar clock.

 

    Step 1-Planting the Big Rod on the Ground

    Plant securely a big-sized rod at the middle of an open-spaced area where the sun directly hits. The sun should be hitting the rod. Depending on the time of day, whether at sunset, dawn or sunrise, the shadow produced by the rod or stick will move in a circular direction. It should take a few days to find the right mark on the open space where the shadow should fall to determine the accurate time of the day.

     

    Step 2-Planting the Small Rod Close to the Big Rod

    It is a good idea to keep track of the appearances of the shadow on an hourly basis. Plant a small rod in the open-space ground area approximately three feet in distance from the bigger rod previously planted. The aim of the smaller rod is to make the contact with the shadow created by the bigger rod. Mark on the smaller rod the date and time using a permanent marker.

     

    Step 3-Checking on Sundial Hourly

    Check on the sundial on an hourly basis. When the shadow from the big rod is monitored, you would notice that it changes its location every time it is checked. Continue planting small rods every hour that you check on the movement of the shadow and mark its date and time. The shadow coming from the big rod in the center everyday will touch on the smaller rods in the same pattern hourly. The pattern formed will determine the accuracy of the time when one reads it through the smaller rods.

     

    Step 4-Adjusting Time on Daylight Savings

    In areas where there is a change in the time due to daylight savings time, make adjustments on how to interpret the time. The changes in time happening at some points in the year will have to be accurately determined to read time efficiently.

     

    Step 5-Similar Sundial or Solar Clocks 

    Other kinds of sundial or solar clock may be created using nails and a wood block. This will create a movable sundial. The biggest nails should be positioned in the center area, and twelve smaller nails should be created in a line from the center to the exterior part to form identical angles as the rods formed from the sundial in the yard. The angle should create a horizontal line that travels through the middle rod similar to what a protractor does.

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