In the scenic and beautiful location of the sunken gardens of Mineral Springs Park Illinois stands the Pekin Sundial. Though not the largest or tallest, at six feet high the Pekin sundial is claimed by locals to be the “most accurate” sundial, and as such declared as the World’s greatest.
This unique and modern sculpture built in the early 1990s of burnished steel, creates a complex set of three sundials. This allows the design to provide more information than just the hours before or after noon at the highest point of the sun, but also dates and sun position.
If you are lucky to visit the dial near noon it also conveys small stakes to indicate the solstices and equinox. This is achieved through the design of the sculpture – a thin upright triangle at the base of the main sundial is split through its middle, to cast a narrow beam of light at the noon mark.
Slightly north of the dial there is a pole with two flat nodi (parts of sundial which cast a shadow) about 12 inches in diameter, which each have a hole in the centre. It is the lower nodus (the part which highlights the calendar information) that casts the hour shadow on an analemma (the part which shows the position of the sun in the sky) which corrects the sun’s irregular “Equation of Time”.
The solstices and equinox indications are presented through small markers by the upper nodus’ shadow on a noon mark analemma.
There is also further information available through charts and plaques within the area about the sundial itself, the earth, planets, and sun, as well as information of the latitude and longitude of the site.