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How To Read a Sundial

Sundials have been in use for thousands of years. Find out just how easy it is to use them to tell time.


  • Step 1: Follow the shadow cast by the sun to corresponding lines on the sundial. Now you can tell the time.
  • FACT: Did you know? The Egyptians were able to tell time as early as 3500 B.C.E., using obelisks to divide the day into hours.
  • TIP: To determine your latitude, perform an internet search for "find latitude." There are many free utilities available.
  • Step 2: Adjust the gnomon – the pin of the sundial – to the correct position for your latitude.
  • Step 3: Use the compass to determine which direction is north and point the sundial so that 12:00 is facing north.
  • Step 4: Place the sundial on a flat surface.

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