Thursday, April 9, 2015

Predicting and Creating a Solar Alignment in Stone

John Bland is a trained mason and an excellent certified dry stone waller. Recently he has been thinking a lot about time and space, and of course stones. He is thinking about the future. Simply put, he is looking to create something in stone that accurately predicts a unique solar/stone event to happen on the last day of a special three day international walling celebration to be held this September on Amherst Island in Ontraio, Canada.

Like the neolithic people of long ago who built mysterious  standing stone structures and stone rings John is exploring the potential of stone to be built into a kind of astronomical calculator. He anticipates being able to determine a future celestial event in stone! 

John's idea is a game changer as it moves the craft of stacking stone here in Canada out of the realm of the static into the realm of the dynamic. He reckons, as I do, that dry stone walls and features can do more than just stand there looking structural. They can point to the future, and the past. They can predict. They can tell time. They can give direction. They can attract, reflect, project, adumbrate  and so much more!

John is very precise. He has done some highly accurate testing to see if the idea is going to work. The details that he sent me last week are posted here below. 
Solar Alignment Test.

The test location was selected and the design created on February 19th 2015
The location was on a frozen lake I chose for its flat terrain and for clear visibility to the eastern horizon.

The test was set up on Monday February 23rd

The test involved aligning the sun through an Oculus 
plywood box structure and a series of targets which were recorded on another structure 20 feet away. Each target had the precise time and date which a beam of sunlight would hit. 

Three times 7:07am 7:15 am and 7:23 am for four days the test would be done on Tuesday February 24th, Wednesday the 25th, Thursday the 26th, and Friday the 27th. The times were arbitrarily picked.
The light passage, or oculus, was specifically made the same size that the sun's diameter appeared to be standing at a distance of 20' away. I did this to test for accuracy. I was able to estimate the sun's size in relation to the oculus structure at 20' of distance by putting on about 5 pairs of sunglasses, looking at the sun and estimating. 

I wanted the experiment to be early in the morning so I could test for distance. The sun's angle had to be low on the horizon. I picked 7:07 am as the first target for each day because it gave me time to get up at 6:30am make my morning coffee and drive to the test site for 7:00am. I could then drink my coffee and wait for the alignments to occur. At the precise times written on the targets I took photographs of the results.

The first test day the 24th didn't work very accurately. I was missing my line level during layout the day before so the beam of light was slightly high of each target. That afternoon I got a line level and fixed the elevation of the target structure so that it was on the same plane as the oculus structure for the next morning.

( Find out what John discovered on those next three days, two months ago - tomorrow ! )