How To Tell Time Using Sun Position

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Almost everything in our lives is controlled by time. Time to get up! Time to catch up bus! Time to go to school! We have clocks and watches that tell us the exact time to the second. But how did people tell the time in the past?

There were a few methods used in ancient times such as measurement of shadow formed by a stick using evenly spaced stones, sundial similar to stick and stones. Ancient Egyptians use to measure time by water dripping into a jar, candles; through evenly spaced cuts on them and the famous method of hour glass dipping sand.

Ancient Time Measuring Techniques

Before all this, there was a time when ancient Chinese used to beat drums loudly to scare away the dragon who ate their sun in the evening. Guess what? It worked every morning. Regardless of the fact, sun has been used as the source for telling time for centuries.

But you don’t need to go back in history to learn those skills, as we present you today, the simplest method to tell time, using our very own Sun.

Step 1: You should know the three locations in the sky.

  • The point of sunrise (east)
  • The point of sunset (west)
  • The point when sun is right above you (noon)

Step 2: You should know the time the sun rises and sun sets in your area, e.g. sun rises at 6:00 am and sets at 6:00 pm. It takes 12 hours for sun to move from the position of sunrise to the position of sunset. Hence, when the sun is right above you, it must be noon or sun has moved halfway from the position of sunrise.

how to tell time through sun

Step 3: Now, in your mind, split these sections into three equal slices of one hour each. So, between sunrise and noon, its 9:00 am and between noon and sunset its 3:00 pm.

Try this now and you will be amazed at how accurate you were in predicting the time.


Sundial umbrella

Japanese designer Kota Nezu designed an umbrella that is a functional sundial. There’s a compass built into the handle to that you can point it in the right direction and get a reading on the time.

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