‘SUNDIAL’ is St. Petersburg’s premiere retail, dining and entertainment center, located close to the beach of Tampa Bay. Just steps from the world famous waterfront, SUNDIAL includes a special collection of shops, restaurants and spa experiences. The plaza’s centerpiece is a stunning nearly 30’ Bowstring working sundial and fountain designed by Emmy Award-winning production designer René Lagler. The sundial is a nod to St. Petersburg’s history as the Sunshine City, and was designed to keep accurate solar time. In addition to the sundial, bronze dolphins created by St. Petersburg-based artist Mark Aeling create a memorable picture spot.
However, at the beginning shoppers were confused as to why the time on the sundial was different from their wrist watches. This was because the sundial shows ‘solar time’ meaning there are some factors that affect what time the sundial tells versus what time we think it is.
Solar Noon is when the sun is at the highest point above us, due south, and casting the shortest shadow over the course of the day. Local noon (using Eastern Standard Time) is a man-made adjustment from “nature’s” solar time to achieve a common consistent time, calculated by dividing the year into equal hour intervals, which is also called civil time to distinguish it from solar time. The maximum difference is one hour, 41 minutes, and 22 seconds. The smallest difference is 14 minutes and 11 seconds.
As the North American Sundial Society explains, “many would say that sundial time is truer and provides more insight into the nature of our world than our artificially constructed clock time.”
You can find out more about how the St Petersburg Sundial works here: