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Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich  is the home to Greenwich Mean Time(GMT) and the Prime Meridian of the World thereby giving it the distinction of being the official starting point for each new day. The Observatory was commissioned way back in 1675 by King Charles II.


The original Observatory built in 1675 was called Flamsteed House after John Flamsteed, the royal astronomer. The red time ball on top of the Flamsteed house is one of the Worlds oldest time signals. It still continues to fall at 1 pm everyday.


The world famous Meridian line (M3) is the Prime meridian of the world, Longitude 0 deg 0' 0" which defines GMT.


The Royal Observatory also houses the Peter Harrison Planetarium, Londons only public planaterium, offers a range of visually captivating shows.





The Shepherd Gate Clock, mounted on the wall outside the gate of the Royal Greenwich Observatory building is an early example of an electric clock. The clock uses a slave mechanism controlled by electric pulses transmitted by a master clock inside the main building. The 'network' of master and slave clocks was constructed and installed by Charles Shepherd in 1852. The clock by the gate was probably the first to display Greenwich Mean Time to the public, and is unusual in using the 24-hour analogue dial.

Sir Frederick William Herschel, was a British astronomer and a technical expert. He is most famously known for the discovery of the planet Uranus. The Royal Observatory houses one of Fredrick Herschels telescopes.




The Dolphin Sundial designed by Christopher St JH Daniel.


The gnomon or the pointer of the sundial is formed by the tips of the 2 dolphins tails which almost meet. The tails cast a shadown onto the dial plate which is engraved with thick curved lines representing the hours. Thinner lines indicate 10-minute intervals between each hour.

Amazing piece of work. I like this sundial the most.

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