Austin College Welcomes Spring’s Arrival at Solar Observatory;
Public is Invited to Mark Exact Vernal Equinox
SHERMAN, TEXAS— Austin College welcomes the public to see the exact moment of the Vernal Equinox at “solar noon” on March 20, in the Oscar C. Page Atrium of the IDEA Center, 1108 E. Richards Street in Sherman, Texas.
The event runs from 1:15 p.m. to 1:35 p.m. in the only solar observatory of its kind on a U.S. college campus, where Dr. David Baker, professor of physics, will provide a scientific and historical overview.
Sunlight passes through the Gnomon Hole in the roof to cast an image on the atrium floor. A Gnomon Hole is an ancient device originally used to compute time. The beam of sunlight moves across the atrium and strikes the equinox marker at 1:33 p.m. CDT. Markers designed into the floor symbolize the scientific contributions of early cultures. The Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox are marked by a Chinese symbol; summer solstice is marked by the Greek/ Macedonian symbol for the Sun; and winter solstice is marked by a Mayan symbol to recognize Native American contributions.