THE SUNWHEEL PROJECT INVOLVES THE CONSTRUCTION OF SUNWHEELS AROUND THE WORLD, STARTING HERE AT U.MASS. Through the Sunwheel, which concretely illustrates the variations in the Sun's position on the horizon throughout the year, I plan to bring a greater awareness and understanding of astronomy to the University community, school children, and the general public, thereby enhancing science literacy, encouraging curiosity, and improving the quality and enjoyment of life. The Sunwheel provides a gathering spot for people to learn
about and enjoy the sky together.
These gatherings generally last 1 hour, and are held in all weather except rain and blizzards. Click on the seasons above for more information.
The 2' tall stones for the preliminary Sunwheel were installed at the site on May 13, 1997, using a start-up grant from the Healey Foundation at U.Mass. These stones were needed to make the Sunwheel a useful teaching tool and to serve as immovable markers of the solstice and equinox directions while funds were raised for the 8'-10' tall standing stones. In August 1999, I received a grant from the National Science Foundation to cover the cost of the tall standing stones in the Sunwheel. Beautiful stones were located at the Chester Granite Co. in East Otis, Massachusetts, a design was approved, and construction took place from Nov. 6-9, 2000.
FUTURE WORK at the Sunwheel will involve (1) construction of a stone path from the road to the stone circle and also around its perimeter to aid in access during the wet seasons, (2) expansion of the current exhibit to include information on the construction and the new Moonstones, and (3) installation of a stone patio as part of the central viewing area.
To see photographs taken at the Sunwheel between 1997 and 1999, click here.
To see photographs of the tall standing stones while still at quarry, click here.
To see recent photographs of the Sunwheel with the tall standing stones, click here.
|Prof. Young marking out the site in 1996...|
A project conceived by Professor Judith S. Young
Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
e-mail: Steve Schneider