Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA) is a grassroots, all volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring all ages through astronomy. We present public planetarium shows, star gazing opportunities, and astronomy lectures at the Ritchie Observatory, in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Battle Point Sundial Project
A sundial is the perfect complement to any astronomical observatory. We have designed and are planning to build a large equatorial bowstring sundial adjacent to the Ritchie Observatory. This beautiful piece of public art tells time via the earth’s daily spinning on its axis and its annual movement around the sun. It will be a focal point, a gathering place, a conversation starter. Our hope is that it may also spark interest in astronomy!
The sundial will be a significant work of public art. It will span about 10 feet across and stand about 12 feet high in the form of a tilted, crescent moon shape on a stone base, and face south towards the observatory. The installation will include explanations of how the sundial works, how to read it, and facts about the sun and the earth. The shadow of the bowstring tells time as it moves across the numbers on the horizontal arms. A bulbous analemma shape on the bowstring corrects for seasonal variations. (Read more about the analemma here.)
BPAA’s mission is to increase public participation in and awareness of science. Overflowing crowds at our planetarium presentations show that demand is strong. The sundial’s presence will excite curiosity and demonstrate basic concepts such as the motion of the earth and the passage of time. The beautiful sculpture will enhance Battle Point Park. There currently is nothing like it on Bainbridge Island.
The site of the sundial also serves the park as an outdoor theater, so thousands of people attending concerts, plays, and sporting events will enjoy the sculpture. Hundreds of children who play sports on the park fields will see it and interact with it, marking the present moment and even creating memories for the future.
Creation of the sundial has been an element of our master plan since 1994. Our newly renewed lease with the Bainbridge Island Parks and Recreation Department provides for its construction on the berm north of the observatory. Local artist Bill Baran-Mickle has provided a design. All that remains is to raise funds for its construction in bronze-clad steel.
That’s where you come in!
There is tremendous enthusiasm and support for the project. In fact we’re already almost halfway to fully funding the sundial! Our project budget is $30,000 and we’ve raised $13,000, from member and friend donations ($5,400), grants from the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation ($1,000) and the Bainbridge Community Foundation ($1,600), as well as a commitment from the BPAA Board ($5,000).
Now we need your help to complete the funding for this permanent and beautiful installation that will enhance the park, promote art, and teach science. We’re offering some pretty amazing perks to all who participate. See the sidebar for details.
Why a Sundial? So We Can Take Back Time!
We tell time with clocks, watches and cell phones. Most of us are too preoccupied to pay attention to the apparent motion of the sun. How many of us know the path that the sun takes from sunrise to sunset, or understand its seasonal changes?
A sundial can reconnect us with our deepest history as well as the natural world. Our ancestors told time by the sun. Most people understand that sundials tell time by the ‘motion’ of the sun, but they forget that this apparent motion is caused by the earth spinning around on its axis and by the earth's orbit around the sun. The shadow moving across the face of the sundial is tangible evidence of these grand patterns.
A sundial can help us “take back time” by reconnecting us with these patterns.
Why a Sundial in the Pacific Northwest? We Celebrate the Sun!
That’s a great question. We asked renowned University of Washington Professor of Astronomy Woody Sullivan, aka "Mr. Sundial," and he said: “You might say Phoenix should be a sundial capital, but you don’t go out in the sun in Phoenix, you get away from the sun. When the sun comes out in Seattle, we all go running outside, what can I do now that the sun is out! Wow! I could actually have a picnic, I could look at the sundial and I could tell the time! We’re enthusiastic about the sun here. So it actually fits really nicely.”
There are many interesting sundials in the Pacific Northwest. Professor Sullivan has documented and organized them in an online listing he calls the “Seattle Sundial Trail.” When completed, the Battle Point Sundial will be one of the crowning jewels of the Seattle Sundial Trail.
Why Support the Sundial? Be a Steward of Our Time!
Our community has a strong sense of stewardship of the public good. When you support the sundial, you’ll help create a significant and meaningful work of public art that will bring beauty as well as an appreciation of time and the day sky to the everyday life of our community. The Battle Point Sundial will be a legacy of art and science for many years to come.
You also get to choose some really cool perks! In addition to the ususal booty (photos, patches, t-shirts), we offer some pretty unique gifts and exciting opportunities. You can get sundial earrings hand-made by Bill Baran-Mickle and sundial models 3D printed by BI high school students. You can add a message to the Time Capsule. You and your familiy can become members of BPAA. You can attend personalized planetarium shows and star parties. And you can even take a tour of the Seattle Sundial Trail guided by "Mr. Sundial" himself, Professor Woody Sullivan!
Who Supports the Sundial? Everyone!
The Sundial Project enjoys strong interest from artists and art lovers, science enthusiasts, park users and supporters, and folks who care about education. Join your friends and neighbors in bringing light to the Sundial!
What People Say About the Sundial
We displayed the full scale plywood sundial model at a Park music festival and asked people what they thought. Here’s a sampling of their uniformly enthusiastic responses:
“Fantastic blend of art, science, math and our connection to the earth and heavens. I hope to see the final installation with park support soon.”—Adam Rubinowitz, Bainbridge Island
“It’s very cool.”—Mary Parker, Rolling Bay, Bainbridge Island
“I love the opportunity to teach the science. Good location.”—Dana Gargus, Bainbridge Island
“Let’s do it, a great project for this facility—a good educational tool! I love the programs given here. Mark the SPOT—easy for all to Observe."—Jim Walkawski, Bainbridge Island
“Great idea! Beautiful and artistic too! Perfect location.”—Molly Suhr, Bainbridge Island
“Great location! Please let it be built at the top of berm by the Observatory.”—Scott & Betsy Daniel, Bainbridge Island
“Great, progressive idea, will also be a good project for schools and lectures on the use of such instruments, history, etc...”—Kerry Rutter, Bremerton
“What a wonderful idea!!! We like the ability to teach our kids about time & the ancients. What a great compliment to the Observatory. And where else would you put it? In the shade?”—Jeffery Roger, Bainbridge Island
“The sundial as proposed is both a work of public art and an enjoyable stepping stone into scientific literacy. Public art elevates a community from merely existing to thriving; scientific literacy is necessary for an informed citizenry. In every way the Sundial Project and endeavors like it should be encouraged.”—Lisa Lewis, Bainbridge Island
“Great idea to add some astronomical observation to daytime park use. An artful looking edifice, and educational. A nice addition to any gathering, including Bluegrass!”—Ronna Dansky, Seattle
“Fabulous for the park. Let’s make it happen. Needs to be in wide-open location like the berm. It’s a destination!”—Wendy Jones, Bainbridge Island
“Please, please support this! There is a very nice sundial on the Conservatory Building at UDub—I was in Health Services. Every day I slogged to class I looked up at the sundial & it just simply brought me joy. We all need a little joy!”—Gwendalyn Thompson, Bainbridge Island
How will the funds be used?
Project Budget: $30,000
- Indiegogo Goal: $17,000
- Already Raised: $13,000
Project Expenses: $30,000
- Sundial Fabrication & Installation: $24,000
- F&I Contingency (5%): $1,200
- Indiegogo Fees (7% of goal): $1,200
- Perks, incl postage & handling: $2,900
- Campaign production: $700
- Fabrication: October-December 2013
- Installation: January-February 2014
- Dedication: March 2014
What happens if our goal is not met?
We're encouraged by the many expressions of interest and support that the Sundial has received, so we anticipate meeting our modest goal of $17,000. However, if our goal is not met, the funds received will be held in a separate account for the Sundial Project while we pursue additional fundraising efforts.
What happens if our goal is exceeded?
If our goal is exceeded, we have some enhancements in mind:
- Site improvements in the area surrounding the sundial, such as a plaza.
- Production of a video documentary of the fabrication and construction of our sundial.
- Creation of a special planetarium show on the art and science of sundials.
- Both the video and planetarium show will be suitable for presentation in schools. If additional funding allows, we will "take the show on the road."