?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Look Back | Look Forward

This one is an oddball.

THE CLOCK OF HEAVEN

IF the stars in the northern sky are visible, says Popular Mechanics, you can set your watch by them within fifteen minutes of the correct time and without the use of a complicated table. The polestar is considered as the center of a huge clock and the pointer of the Dipper, the hour hand. The numeral six will be below the polestar and twelve above. Taking the time as indicated by the Dipper's pointers, you can add to that figure the number of months that have elapsed since the first of January to the nearest quarter month. The resulting sum is doubled and subtracted from sixteen and quarter. If the result is more than sixteen and a quarter, subtract it from forty and a quarter. The answer is time in hours after noon. For instance, it is late Sep­tember and the pointers of the sky clock correspond to the position of the hour hand at seven o'clock. Eight and three-fourths months have elapsed since New Year's Day. This is added to seven, making fifteen and three-quar­ters. Double this is thirty-one and one-half. Subtracting from forty and one-quarter gives eight and three-quarters, or 8:45 P.M.


Well. You may have to judge this one for yourself. I'm giving it a thumbs up, but it's not as accurate as Mr. Ripley would like you to believe, although that could be based on my own interpretation of what the sky looks like.

It's not as complicated as his description sounds. Here are two sample scenarios.


This is the sky at 7:45 PM, Mountain Time.

Notice the pointers of Ursa Major look like they're about at 8:00 on the clock, assuming noon just above polaris and six just below it.

Thus,

8 + 8.25 = 16.25 * 2 = 32.5
40.25 - 32.5 = 7.75

Eight is added to the 8 and a quarter months that have elapsed since New Year's day, and doubled. The result (being larger than 16.25) is subtracted from 40.25, and the result is 7.75 hours elapsed since noon. 7:45 is correct.


This is the sky at 11:45 PM, Mountain Time.

This time we'll say that Ursa Major points to 6:00 PM, more or less.

Thus,

6 + 8.25 = 14.25 * 2 = 28.5
40.25 - 28.5 = 11.75

Six is added to the 8 and a quarter months that have elapsed since New Year's day, and doubled. The result (being larger than 16.25) is subtracted from 40.25, and the result is 11.75 hours elapsed since noon. 11:45 is correct.

Daylight savings time will throw this off by an hour, and how you interpret the pointers on the dipper may do the same. But we can see that for the most part, the calculations get you close to the current time. Not very useful in today's world, but intriguing nonetheless.

Verdict: Believe it!


Support Wind Power

respective-eponymous

Comments

deckardcanine
Sep. 10th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Good grief. I don't even have the confidence to identify the North Star.

Profile

Fortunata
ccdesan
The Old Wolf
Website

Latest Month

March 2018
S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com