Ring dial

Ring dial for latitude 48° North. It carries a fixed bracket and a suspension ring. There are rectangular recesses along the centre of the ring near the top, either side of the suspension bracket in which the pinhole gnomons are set. On the outer face are two pinhole gnomons marked 'Winter' and 'Sommer'. Next to both markings are tables entitled 'die Sonne gehet ein' (The Sun enters). The inner face has separate hour scales for summer and winter, the hour-lines drawn diagonally across the whole width of the ring, with the half hours marked as dotted lines. There is an ecliptic scale shown by lines parallel to the edges of the ring (crossing the hour scales) marked with zodiac symbols and divided to 100. 'Signa Meridionalia' (Southern signs) is inscribed next to the winter hour scale, and 'Signa Septentrionalia' (Winter signs) is inscribed next to the summer hour scale. The rims are decorated with a repeating pattern.

This ring dial is of vastly superior quality compared with the majority of surviving ring dials. It is also a great deal larger. The hour-lines are fairly carefully marked, giving the instrument a far greater accuracy than was common on dials of this type The light from the pinhole gnomon marks the place of the sun in the zodiac (and hence the date) as well as the time of day. On the inner face, the dial is signed 'M. F. Poppel fecit Passauij Ao.1696'.

For more information regarding this dial please refer to the OUP & NMM catalogue, 'Sundials at Greenwich'.

Object Details

ID: AST0411
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Ring dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Poppel, M. F.
Date made: 1696
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 46.5 x 128 mm

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