1st Contest: Astronomy in all Seasons: Seize the day, Seize the year

We propose a simple sundial contest so that students and anyone who wants can participate, regardless of their age, from anywhere in the world.

Dates: the contest is open from April 1 to October 31, 2024.

All participants will receive a certificate of participation once the contest has ended.

Once the contest ends, EAAE will hold a Closing Online Conference related to the theme this year’s edition: Looking for Sundials.

Stay tuned for information about the Closing Online Conference.

Presentation and guide of the Sundials Contest

In many towns and cities around the world, walking through their streets, we find sundials of various shapes and sizes. Some are ancient and were built as an instrument to measure time, in many cases the only means available. Others, more modern, have been built in prominent public places as decoration. It can also be seen in private homes and gardens.

Sometimes we arrive at small towns lost in the landscape and in the church tower or in a house we find a sundial that is deteriorated by the passage of time; a broken sundial, but quite accurate.

Many of these sundials, which can be found throughout Europe and many other countries, were built in the Middle Ages or even long before, and are part of the Cultural Heritage of the people.

One of the objectives of the EAAE is the knowledge and dissemination of the common culture of a branch of science, Astronomy, which due to it interdisciplinary approach allows us to manage, other cultural areas such as History, Art, Philosophy and Science in general.

Vertical sundial in the Church of San Félix de Revilla, Huesca (Spain), built between 1540-1560, 16th century.
Vertical sundial in the Church of San Félix de Revilla, Huesca (Spain), built between 1540-1560, 16th century.

Therefore, this contest aims to "rescue" some of these sundials spread throughout Europe, Asia and America so that their importance over time.

Thus, to participate in the contest it is only necessary to find a sundial, photograph it and study it in the way described in the following section.

Guide to complete the document to send to participate

You must read the previous text before filling out your work and sending it to us.

  1. Look for a sundial.
  2. Take several photos. You will have to send us 4 maximum.
  3. Read the time on the sundial and write it down and
  4. Read the time on your wristwatch and write it down.
  5. Notice what type of sundial you found: equatorial, horizontal or vertical.
  6. If it is vertical, is it oriented or not?
  7. If it is not oriented, that is, if it is not on a wall that faces south, is the wall facing southeast or southwest?

Optional questions to answer

The following questions, due to the difficulty they present, are optional, that is, participants who do not wish to do so can leave them unanswered. But we advise participants who want to answer them to first download and read the document Some support ideas for participants.

  1. If the sundial you found is equatorial or horizontal, would you know how to determine the latitude of the place where it is located?
  2. Would you be able to calculate the geographical longitude of the place no matter what type of sundial it was?
    You will have noticed that the time you read on the sundial and on your wristwatch do not match. Calculate the difference between the two observed values and download and read the support material How to know the official time?

The work will be sent by mail to the project coordinator at the address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. within the specified deadline: October 31,2024.


© EAAE - European Association for Astronomy Education 2024