Two bits from the Sundial Conference

Fred Sawyer (he of the North American Sundial Society) spoke of something called a senelelion.  Its a rare feature during an eclipse of the moon (when the Earth gets  between the sun and the moon) when the fully eclipsed moon and the sun are both visible at the same time from a single place.  Apparently its down to refraction of the image of the sun through the atmosphere, so though it is actually below the horizon but we get to see it.

John Lester, a retired doctor, spoke of his fundraising activity which involved making wooden sundials of various types.  Some required small compasses for proper use, and he found them hard to buy at a reasonable price.  Then he spotted a tray of key fobs in a hardware store, each having a small compass in the fob.  The shop keeper said they did not sell well so John made a bid for the tray and took them all home.  He spread them out on a table and noted that the needles pointed in random directions.  He took one apart and found that the needle was made of aluminium!  He tried to sell the rest on the next charity stall as ‘Compasses for people who are not particular where they go’.

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