Sun Dial


Tool for keeping track of the constellations



Celestial Observatory


Jantar Mantar in Jaipur




Astronomy in Ancient India


The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is actually one of six major observatories built by the Maharajah. The one in Jaipur not only follows the movements of the sun and the moon to help determine auspicious dates for events, it also helps map out the position of the stars in the sky. Although no telescopic instruments were available at the time, the precise observation of the stars was greatly facilitated by observatories such as Jantar Mantar.


Ancient India's contributions in the field of astronomy are well known and well documented. The earliest references to astronomy are found in the Rig Veda, which are dated 2000 BC. During next 2500 years, by 500 AD, ancient Indian astronomy has emerged as an important part of Indian studies and its affect is also seen in several treatises of that period.


Apart from this linkage of astronomy with astrology in ancient India, science of astronomy continued to develop independently, and culminated into original findings, like:


  • The calculation of occurrences of eclipses

  • Determination of Earth's circumference

  • Theorizing about the theory of gravitation

  • Determining that sun was a star and determination of number of planets under our solar system





A well-preserved Kudurru of King

 Melishipak of Babylon showing several celestial bodies and some of the earliest unmistakable representations of constellations such as the goat-fish, ancestor of Capricornus



Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: The Role of Astronomy In Ancient Cultures


By Juan Antonio Belmonte, Ph.D.  – Tenerife, Canary Is.




Astrolabe: An Ancient Astronomical Instrument






Astrolabe: An Ancient Astronomical Instrument


Astrology & Astronomy in Iran and Ancient Mesopotamia

The oldest records belong to the 2nd millennium BC, Old Babylonian period. However Sumerians a 1000 years earlier had some understanding of the subject. The astrologers observed the movements of the planets and assigned them godlike features and powers. Each planet represented a god or a goddess and ruled certain areas of life. The astrologers advised the rulers and interpreted the pattern of planetary movements as omens or signs for understanding the future….


Astronomical Instruments Through Time




Antikythera Mechanism






Antikythera “Clock” Mechanism – Ancient Greece


More than 21 centuries ago, a mechanism of fabulous ingenuity was created in Greece, a device capable of indicating exactly how the sky would look for decades to come -- the position of the moon and sun, lunar phases and even eclipses. But this incredible invention would be drowned in the sea and its secret forgotten for two thousand years.

This video is a tribute from Swiss clock-maker Hublot and film-maker Philippe Nicolet to this device, known as the Antikythera Mechanism, or the world's "first computer". The fragments of the Mechanism were discovered in 1901 by sponge divers near the island of Antikythera. It is kept since then at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. For more than a century, researchers were trying to understand its functions. Since 2005, a pluridisciplinary research team, the "Antikythera Mechanism Research Project", is studying the Mechanism with the latest high tech available.The results of this ongoing research has enabled the construction of many models. Amongst them, the unique mechanism of a watch, designed by Hublot as a tribute to the Mechanism, is incorporating the known functions of this mysterious and fascinating ancient Mechanism.



The Antikythera Mechanism ( 7:52 mins)







Equatorial Monument - The Mitad del Mundo -  Middle of the World


 It is a tract of land owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. It is located in the San Antonio parish of the canton of Quito, north of the center of Quito.


The grounds contain the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador. The 30-meter-tall monument, built between 1979 and 1982, was constructed to mark the point where the equator passes through the country in the geodetic datum in use in Ecuador at that time. A line down the center of the east-facing staircase, and across the plaza, was meant to mark the equator, and countless tourists over the years have had their pictures taken straddling this line. In the modern datum of the World Geodetic System (WGS84), which is used in GPS systems and computer mapping products like Google Earth, the equator is placed about 240 meters north of the marked line. This discrepancy is partially due to increased accuracy but primarily due to a different choice of mapping datum. Similarly, the line marking the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in England is roughly 100 meters from the exact zero of longitude as indicated by GPS receivers.


La Mitad del Mundo, Equatorial Monument, Ecuador ( 1 mins)










The Tiwanaku Calendar - Lost Calendar of the Andes

The actual calendar is not the Gate of the Sun but the wall with 11 pillars behind it.
The 11 small icons on the freize of the Gate of the Sun represent these 11 pillars and throughout the year the sun sets over the pillars dividing the year into 20 months of 18 days




The Tiwanaku Calendar - Lost Calendar of the Andes


Ancient World Calendars – New Views Surfacing



Chanquillo - Peru


The Thirteen Towers constitute an

ancient solar observatory





Sun cults




Chanquillo, Peru – Ancient Solar Calendar


Ancient Solar Observatory Discovered

The America’s oldest astronomical observatory


Chankillo (Chanquillo) was built as a fortified temple complex over 2,300 years ago in the coastal desert of Peru, near the Casma-Sechín river basin. The monumental complex was constructed from cut stone and includes a fortified temple, a plaza, and 13 towers, which are now thought to be an astronomical observatory. Excavations at Chankillo have indicated that the site was occupied sometime between the mid-fourth century B.C. and the early first century A.D. for a relatively short period of time and was subsequently abandoned, most likely due to violent conflict. - Recent archaeoastronomical investigations suggest that the site was partly created to observe the movement of the sun through the solar year, solstice to solstice.


Chankillo (Chanquillo) was identified as an observatory in 2007, creating greater interest in the site. Strong winds, humidity, temperature fluctuations, and earthquakes have caused erosion, loss of mortar, and weakening of stone masonry to the historic elements of the site. As a result, stones have cracked and fallen out, causing structural instability and the gradual collapse of walls.


Thirteen Towers at Chankillo (Chanquillo)


Chankillo's astronomical feature is a line of thirteen cubic stone blocks, called the Thirteen Towers, arranged along the ridge of a low hill. The line runs due north/south, but the southern-most towers are slightly skewed to the southwest. The blocks vary in size, from 75 to 125 meters square and 2-6 meters in height, but they are regularly spaced at intervals between 4.7 and 5.1 meters. Each tower has a pair of inset staircases leading to the summits.


The site where the towers are based is about four square kilometres (1.5 square miles) in size, and is believed to be a ceremonial centre that was occupied in the 4th Century BC. It is based at the coast of Peru in the Casma-Sechin River Basin and contains many buildings and plazas, as well as a fortified temple that has attracted much attention.







Chanquillo, Peru – Ancient Solar Calendar

Prof Brian Cox visits Chankillo solar calendar in Peru – BBC - VIDEO ( 3 mins)

Professor Brian Cox has visited a giant desert solar calendar in Peru in his quest to understand the nature of time in creating and ending the universe. The 2,500-year-old solar calendar in Chankillo was built by a civilization of which very little is known.



The oldest solar observatory in the Americas has been found, suggesting the existence of early, sophisticated Sun cults, scientists report.



When the sun reaches the end pillars at

the solstices, it appears to stand still  - ANIMATION



( 2 )




Easter Island Moai Ancient Calendar?

Viewing the sunrise through 12 pillars would divide the year into 20, not 12.   


  ( 1 ) 


1.- Acosta writing in the year 1600, tells us that 12 towers were set up which divided the year by the sunrise and sunset into 12 months. But Acosta was not familiar with how the system worked, and thinking in European terms, assumed because Europeans used a calendar of 12 months, then each of the towers represented a month on a calendar of 12 months. But that's not how it works. The towers are used to track the position of the sun either rising or setting along the horizon throughout the year. So if there were 12 towers in a line, the sun rising or setting upon each tower would divide the year into 22 divisions or "months" - not consistent with any known measurement system of the years. There again, if we viewed the sun in the space in between the towers, that would mean 11 spaces which would divide the year into 20 divisions or "months". But the sun cannot both rise and set upon the same pillar, it rises in the east and sets in the west. So if the 12 pillars were arranged 6 to the east, and 6 to the west of Cuzco, that would mean the year was divided decimally into 10 months.


2.-With 6 pillars, the year would be divided into 10 with the sun rising or setting on the top of each pillar as it progresses throughout the year along the horizon from solstice to solstice and back again. It is not the number of pillars which represents the number of months, but the number of time intervals as the sun moves either from pillar to pillar, or from space to space between the pillars



Ahu Akivi, our neighbours and guardians, the only 7 Moai that face the sea.

They also align with the Summer Solstice sunset, Constellation of Orion and the Pleiades.






Mesoamerican cultures such as the Aztecs and Maya




Mayan Calendar

It is NOT “The end of the World” - but the end of an “ERA” !!!!


The Maya calendar is a system of calendars and almanacs used in the Maya civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and in many modern Maya communities in highland Guatemala [1] and in Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.[


The essentials of the Maya calendric system are based upon a system which had been in common use throughout the region, dating back to at least the 5th century BCE. It shares many aspects with calendars employed by other earlier Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Zapotec and Olmec, and contemporary or later ones such as the Mixtec and Aztec calendars. Although the Mesoamerican calendar did not originate with the Maya, their subsequent extensions and refinements of it were the most sophisticated. Along with those of the Aztecs, the Maya calendars are the best-documented and most completely understood.


By the Maya mythological tradition, as documented in Colonial Yucatec accounts and reconstructed from Late Classic and Postclassic inscriptions, the deity Itzamna is frequently credited with bringing the knowledge of the calendar system to the ancestral Maya, along with writing in general and other foundational aspects of Maya culture.


The 260 day count of days is commonly known to scholars as the Tzolkin, or Tzolk'in …..


Maya concepts of time

With the development of the place-notational Long Count calendar… Since Calendar Round dates repeat every 18,980 days, approximately 52 solar years, the cycle repeats roughly once each lifetime, so a more refined method of dating was needed if history was to be recorded accurately. To specify dates over periods longer than 52 years, Mesoamericans used the Long Count calendar.








The Mayan Solar Calendar


It is astoundingly accurate, even more so than the modern calendar we use today. The pictures below show the Mayan Sacred Round Calendar (Tzolkin, left) and Solar Round Calendar (Haab, right).


Based on their ancient calendar system, Mayans believed the “Great Cycle of the present age” would last for 13 backtun cycles of 144,000 days and come to an end on December 23, 2012.  This calculation has led some people to fear that the Mayan “doomsday prediction” actually means civilization as we know it will come to a Cyclical end. Maya people saw the world as undergoing recurring cycles of death and rebirth, so that the end of the current calendar cycle also marks the start of the next one rather than an onslaught of the apocalypse.





Ruined wall relief of Ancient Egyptian calendar, Temple of Amun, Karnak, Egypt



The Ancient Egyptian Calendar


Since the ancient times, the ancient Egyptians had a formed a calendar based on lunar phases, followed by a calendar of 360 days, with three seasons, each season made of 4 months and each month having 30 days.

The seasonal cycles of Egyptians corresponded to the Nile cycles, and they were known as: The Flood Season (it was pronounced Akhet and it lasted from June 21st until October 21st), The Overflow Season (it is pronounced Proyet and it lasted from October 21st until February 21st) and The Harvest Season, or summer (it was pronounced Shomu and it lasted from February 21st to June 21st).

In the ancient Egyptian calendar, the beginning of the year (called the opening year), was marked by the Sirius star in the Canis Major constellation. The Constellation appeared around June 21st and this event was called “climbing of the goddess Sothis”. Sirius Star was visible just before sunrise and it is still one of the brightest stars in the sky, being located in the lower left of Orion and representing the dog’s nose in the constellation Canis Major.

Although the Egyptians had a calendar of 360 days, in a literal sense, they had a calendar of 365 days. The beginning of the year was marked by adding five additional days, known as “the yearly five days”. These five additional days were an occasion of feasting and celebration for the Egyptians and it was not something out of the ordinary for them to participate in various rituals in those days.



Ancient Egyptians’ invention of the Obelisk



Obelisk in the centre of a Sun dial –

St Peters Square - Vatican





Obelisks - Egypt and Rome


Obelisk in the centre of a Sun dial – St Peters Square - Vatican


Around the obelisk at the center of the huge eight point sun wheel is a smaller four pointed sun wheel, the same symbol found on the altar stone in the temple of Baal in Hatzor.



The Ancient Egyptians’ invention of the Obelisk


The ancient Egyptians’ invention of the Obelisk could be considered as the very beginning of the human’s time-keeping history. The Obelisk was invented in 3500BC, and the ancient Egyptians used it to divide the daytime into two parts, by indicating noon. The ancient Egyptians placed these obelisks in strategic locations so that the shadows that these monuments casted would indicate noon, plus the year’s longest and shortest days. (They basically worked like the sundial.) The division of time was still vague, but these Obelisks were what really triggered the development of systematic time-keeping methods.


“Time” is defined and kept by the human invention called the “clock.”

I believe that the concepts of "time" and “time-keeping” are something unique to humans. There definitely is a flow of life cycles in the nature, and all organisms and natural elements on Earth follow this biological and environmental factor. Humans are not an exception to this flow, and we follow this cycle of life as well. However, with the invention of clocks, we have created a system of time-keeping, which is convenient but potentially restricting at the same time. Nowadays, our lives almost completely revolve around the clocks and the time they show. How did clocks come to become what they are now, and how did our lives become to depend on clocks so much?


Time and Measurement and Calendars in Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians invented the 24 hour day and helped pioneer the concept of time as an entity. They divided the day into two cycles of 12 hours each. The origin of the 12-hour division might come from star patterns in the sky or from the Sumerian number system which was based on the number 12. 





The Egyptians invented the 24 hour day

  and helped pioneer the concept of time

 as an entity.



Merkhet – the oldest known astronomical tool


Another Egyptian method of measuring the time is based on stars. They used a pair of merkhet, the oldest known astronomical tool, to establish a North-South line by lining them up with the Pole Star. By observing certain stars as they crossed the line created with the merkhets, Egyptians could measure the time.






Hemispherical Greek sundial





Ancient Egyptian Sun Dial


The idea of measuring time probably appeared 5000 to 6000 years ago. And many devices have been used to measure and keep track of time for thousands of years. Merkhet, obelisks, hourglass, mechanical clock, quartz clock, atomic clock and calendar are named as the most notable devices used to measure time in history.

The Ancient Egyptians are known as the first group of people to use the sun to measure the time. They divided the day into two 12-hour periods and used large obelisks to track the movement of the Sun. Of course, this way couldn’t work in cloudy weather or at night.


Ancient Egyptian Sun Dials



The ancient Egyptians are thought to have been the first people to develop sun dials although there are some claims the Chinese developed them around the same time. The oldest Egyptian sun dials have been dated at 3500 B.C. A fragment of one at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has been dated to about 3000 B.C. The largest surviving sundial is the 31-meter-high obelisk of Karnak, erected around 1470 B.C. It casts its shadow on a temple of the sun god Amun Ra.


History of Sundials


Observing the Skies – Basics



Egyptian Obelisk Sundial



Ancient Egyptian Hourglasses





Egyptian Portable Sun Dial


Two Ancient Egyptian Sundials.




When Time Began: The History and Science of Sundials


Sundials are the oldest known devices that are used to measure time. It depends on the rotation and movement of the sun. As the sun moves from east to west, the shadows formed predict the time of the day. The Egyptians were the first to use the sundials. They used a stick or pillar called the gnomon. Time was calculated depending on the length of the shadow.


The Egyptians built a t-shaped sundial comprising of a crossbar and a vertical stick. On the stick, five hours were written. In the morning, the stick was placed facing east, and in the afternoon, the stick was placed facing west. The Egyptians and Babylonians built obelisks to calculate time as the shadows cast were similar to a sundial. It also helped to calculate the longest and shortest day of the year. In time, Egyptians build portable sundials, a smaller version of the obelisks.


­Ancient Egyptians are credited with the invention of sundials. Although obelisk­s were built as far back as 3500 B.C., perhaps the earliest portable sundial that has survived, often referred to as an Egyptian shadow clock, became popular around 1500 B.C. T-shaped or L-shaped with a raised end bar, these shado­w clocks measured the morning hours as the sun swept overhead. Then, they were turned around to count down the afternoon.


­It's important to keep in mind that the Egyptians weren't developing methods for timekeeping in a void. The practice of studying the passage of time -- whether minutes, hours, days, seasons, years or much longer -- was a passion of several ancient civilizations. Many of them were astoundingly accurate. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Mayans, Greeks and Chinese all devised clocks and calendars that reflect our current numerical model in a variety of aspects.


What the Ancients Knew: Egyptian Sundials







Hour Glass


An hourglass (sandglass, sand timer, sand clock, egg timer) measures the passage of a few minutes or an hour of time. It has two connected vertical glass bulbs allowing a regulated trickle of material from the top to the bottom. Once the top bulb is empty, it can be inverted to begin timing again. The name hourglass comes from historically common hour timing.[clarification needed] [citation needed] Factors affecting the time measured include the amount of sand, the bulb size, the neck width, and the sand quality. Alternatives to sand are powdered eggshell and powdered marble (sources disagree on the best material). In modern times, hourglasses are ornamental, or used when an approximate measure suffices, as in egg timers for cooking or for board games


The origin of the hourglass is unclear, although it may have been introduced to Europe by an 8th-century monk named Luitprand, who served at the cathedral in Chartres, France It was not until the 14th century that the hourglass was seen commonly, the earliest firm evidence being a depiction in the 1338 fresco Allegory of Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Unlike its predecessor the clepsydra, or water clock, which may have been invented in ancient Egypt, the hourglass is believed to have originated in medieval Europe. This theory is based on the fact that the first written records of it were mostly from logbooks of European ships. Written records from the same period mention the hourglass, and it appears in lists of ships stores. An early record is a sales receipt of Thomas de Stetesham, clerk of the English ship La George, in 1345:....





Is this water-clock mechanism a relaxation oscillator?

The water-driven clock shown in schematic here does NOT use a relaxation oscillator, but is conceptually more like an hourglass.






Model of the Water-wheel Escapement of Su Sung's Great Astronomical Clock




The principle of the use of water power for the driving mechanism has always been the same. The heavens move without ceasing and so also does water flow and fall. Thus if the water is made to pour with perfect evenness then the comparison of the rotary movements of the heavens and the machine will show no discrepancy or contradiction; for the unresting follows the unceasing.


John Combridge's model of the water-wheel escapement of Su Sung's great astronomical clock. The water or mercury poured from the tank on the right, regulated by means of a water clock, and turned the wheel clockwise. Each spoke bears a bucket which, when filled, turns the wheel a fraction. The motion was jerky, but it sufficed. (Science Museum, London.)


Model of a Chinese Astronomical Clock-Tower


The next significant step in the history of time-keeping device is when Su Sung, a Chinese engineer, developed a Water Clock in AD1090. As the name of the clock indicates, the water clock uses water as its source of power and regulator. The water is fed to the scoops on the water-wheel at a constant rate, and when the scoop gets full, it causes the water-wheel to rotate till a new scoop comes in position. This clock was one of the first mechanical clocks in history; before then, people had to figure out the time by tracking the movement of the sun and the stars. This mechanism was not perfect, so there were lots of errors, but it still brought the time-keeping system to a whole new level, as people were now utilizing a man-made mechanism to define time, instead of relying on the natural elements.

A fascinating Scratch Built Model of a 17th Century Water Clock in working order

The clock is a copy of one made by William Longmyre in London 1670. It consists of a clock face with a hand attached on its axis by a chain which ends in a float that rests on a column of water. At the bottom is a small tap, as the tap is opened, the water is released and the clock hand starts turning. If the adjustment it right it keeps reasonable time.





A model of the Borugak Jagyeongnu.





Borugak Jagyeongnu – South Korea

The Borugak Jagyeongnu ("Water Clock of Borugak Pavilion"), classified as a scientific instrument, is the 229th National Treasure of South Korea and was designated by the South Korean government on March 3, 1985. The water clock is currently held and managed by the Royal Museum in Seoul. It dates to the time of King SeoJong of the Joseon Dynasty.

Water clocks have a long history of use in Korea with the first mention of one in the records of the Samguk Sagi during the Three Kingdoms era. In 1434, during the reign of King Sejong the Great a water clock was made by Jang Yeong-sil which would mark the hour automatically with the sounds of a bell, gong, and drum.

Fifty Wonders of Korea






MIZUOCHIISEKI "MIZUOCHI Ruins"(Japan's First Water Clock)






The founder - Johan Heine Discoverer of “Adam’s Calendar”,  Bantu Stone Circle

With Michael Tellinger, researcher and author



A 75,000 year-old Stone Calendar – In the cradle of humankind, older than the Giza pyramids - The founder of Adam’s Calendar, Johan Heine


A new discovery of an ancient circular monolithic stone calendar site in Mpumalanga has proven to be at least 75,000 years old, pre-dating any other structure found to date. Southern Africa holds some of the deepest mysteries in all of human history. What we are told is that at around 60,000 years ago the early humans migrated from Africa and populated the rest of the world.


The Bantu stone circle .
A fireman/pilot & pop singer who can't agree whether the site is 77,000 years old or 250,000 and the oldest stone circle known is circa 7,000 at best is worthy of a least a smile .Not quite so newsworthy but fortunately a local archaeologist has been given the opportunity to have her say.


This is by far the most incredible discovery in all of history. Approximately 20,000 ancient stone ruins have been found about 150 miles west of the port town Maputo in South Africa.   As many of the structures have been completely eroded or covered by soil, it's most likely only a small portion to the original number.  This huge metropolis of dense ruins covers a conservative 1500 square miles which is also a part of a larger community of ruins that spans over 10,000 square miles.


Michael Tellinger, researcher and author who is now at the forefront of this discovery has teamed up with a local pilot Johan Heine who had been photographing the ruins over the last decade. Johan also discovered a a 75,000 year old monolithic calender among the ruins called "Adam's Calendar" that lines up with the summer and winter solstice, Orion's belt and the four corners of the earth (N,S,E,W).


Adam's Calendar 3-D Flyby ( 1 mins)

A 3-D look at the ancient stone ruin of Adam's Calendar in Mpumalanga, South Africa.This is the oldest man made structure on Earth as seen from 3-D perspective to truly appreciate this spectacular arcaeological discovery. This is the first 3-D attempt with limited visuals. More detailed fly-by's will be posted as we complete them.


Michael Tellinger - Adam's Calendar Stone Man ( 5 mins)

Michael Tellinger shows the stone man at Adam's Calendar - Probably the oldest statue on earth. The site is called "Where heaven mated with mother Earth" and is regarded as one of the 2 most sacred places on Earth among Shamans and Sangomas. The Calendar is Now called Enki's Calendar - since it is believed, after 7 years of research, that it was actually built by the Sumerian entity Enki and is estimated to be about 285,000 years old.






World Clocks & Astronomical Long Calendars




The front of Jens Olsen's World Clock


The back of Jens Olsen's World Clock



Copenhagen Museum - Denmark - World Clock & Astronomical Calendar


Jens Olsen's World Clock or Verdensur is an advanced Astronomical Clock which is displayed in Copenhagen City Hall

The clock was designed and calculated by Jens Olsen who was a skilled locksmith, but later learned the trade of clockmaking. He also took part in the beginning of the clock's construction, but died in 1945, 10 years before the clock was completed.

The clock consists of 12 movements which together have over 14,000 parts. The clock is mechanical and must be wound once a week. Displays include lunar and solar eclipses, positions of the stellar bodies, and a perpetual calendar, in addition to the time. The fastest gear completes a revolution each ten seconds, and the slowest will have completed a full circuit every 25,753 years.

The calculations for the clock were made up until 1928, after which they were supervised by the astronomer Professor Elis Strömgren. The drawings for the clock were made between 1934 and 1936, and the actual production of the clock took place from 1943 until 1955. The clock was started, on 15 December 1955, by King Frederick IX and Jens Olsen's youngest grandchild Birgit.'s_World_Clock


Jens Olsen's World Clock, Københavns Rådhus


It merits the title of the world's most informative clock. Not only does it tell Earth time, it tells solar time. Can't remember today's date? Not a problem with its 570,000 years calendar, both Gregorian and Julian. With amazing accuracy, the clock displays solar and lunar eclipses, planetary orbits and sunrise and sunset times. Its assembly begun in 1928, this complex instrument was complete and ready for service 27 years later in 1955.



Astronomical clock face and animated

 figures - Prague Astronomical Clock







Prague's Astronomical Clock


The Prague Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj (Czech: Pražský orloj [praʃskiː orloj]), is a medieval astronomical clock located in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working. Video about ceremony every hour.


An astronomical clock is a clock with special mechanisms and dials to display astronomical information, such as the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets.


One of the most famous of this type of clock is the Old-Town Hall clock in Prague, Czech Republic. It is also known as the Prague Orloj. The central portion was completed in 1410. The four figures are set in motion at the hour, with Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time. On the hour there is a presentation of statues of the Apostles at the doorways above the clock, with all twelve presented at noon. In 1870 a calendar display was added below the clock.

During World War II the clock was nearly destroyed by Nazi fire. The townspeople are credited with heroic efforts in saving most of the parts. It was gradually renovated till 1948. In 1979 the clock was once more cleaned and renovated. According to local legend the city will suffer if the clock is neglected and its good operation is placed in jeopardy.


Prague Astronomical Clock, Prague Orloj, Pražský  ( 2 mins)


The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410 when it was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, the latter a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Charles University. Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and clock facade decorated with gothic sculptures. In 1552 it was repaired by Jan Taborský, clock-master of Orloj, who also wrote a report on the clock where he mentioned Hanuš as maker of the clock.

The Orloj stopped working many times in the centuries after 1552, and was repaired many times. In the 17th century moving statues were added, and figures of the Apostles were added after major repair in 1865-1866....



"Clock of the Long Now"


The first prototype, on display

 at the Science Museum in London.



 "Clock of the Long Now"  Astronomical Clock


The Clock of the Long Now, also called the 10,000-year clock, is a proposed mechanical clock designed to keep time for 10,000 years. The project to build it is part of the Long Now Foundation.

The project was conceived by Danny Hillis in 1986 and the first prototype of the clock began working on December 31, 1999, just in time to display the transition to the year 2000. At midnight on New Year's Eve, the date indicator changed from 01999 to 02000, and the chime struck twice. That prototype, approximately two metres tall, is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.

As of December 2007, two more recent prototypes are on display at The Long Now Museum & Store at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

The first full-scale clock's manufacture and site construction is being funded by Jeff Bezos, who has donated $42 million, and is located on his Texas land


The basic design principles and requirements for the clock are:

1.Longevity: The clock should be accurate even after 10,000 years, and must not contain valuable parts (such as jewels, expensive metals, or special alloys) that might be looted.
2.Maintainability: Future generations should be able to keep the clock working, if necessary, with nothing more advanced than Bronze Age tools and materials.
3.Transparency: The clock should be understandable without stopping or disassembling it; no functionality should be opaque.
4.Evolvability: It should be possible to improve the clock over time.
5.Scalability: To ensure that the final large clock will work properly, smaller prototypes must be built and tested.

No clock can have a guaranteed lifetime of 10,000 years, but some clocks are designed with guaranteed limits. (For example, a clock that shows a four-digit year date will not display the correct year after the year 9999.) With continued care and maintenance the Clock of the Long Now could reasonably be expected to display the correct time for 10,000 years.

Whether a clock would actually receive continued care and maintenance for such a long time is debatable. Hillis chose the 10,000-year goal to be just within the limits of plausibility. There are technological artifacts, such as fragments of pots and baskets, from 10,000 years in the past, so there is some precedent for human artifacts surviving this long, although very few human artifacts have been continuously tended for more than a few centuries. 



Automatic castle clock of Al-Jazari, 14th century copy.



It It is a 14th to 16th century

Astronomical clock of

Wells Cathedral, England.


Astronomical clock Hampton Court since about 1478 England.




More Astronomical Clocks >>>


The term is loosely used to refer to any clock that shows, in addition to the time of day, astronomical information. This could include the location of the sun and moon in the sky, the age and phase of the moon, the position of the sun on the ecliptic and the current zodiac sign, the sidereal time, and other astronomical data such as the moon's nodes (for indicating eclipses) or a rotating star map. The term should not be confused with astronomical regulator, a high precision but otherwise ordinary pendulum clock used in observatories.

Astronomical clocks usually represent the solar system using the geocentric model. The center of the dial is often marked with a disc or sphere representing the earth, located at the center of the solar system. The sun is often represented by a golden sphere (as it initially appeared in the Antikythera Mechanism, back in the 2nd century BC), shown rotating around the earth once a day around a 24 hour analog dial. This view accords both with daily experience and with the philosophical world view of pre-Copernican Europe.



More Astronomical Clocks ...



Calendars Throughout the Ages
















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