SUNDIALS have been used since antiquity to tell the time by the position of the shadow cast by a gnomon (the sticking out bit of a sundial). Early examples were simply towers whose shadows rotated around them during the day. By tilting the gnomon so that it lies parallel to the axis of rotation of the Earth the hour divisions become reasonably evenly spaced. This simulation shows a sundial at the latitude of Greenwich (London). The upper left animation shows just the sundial with a rotating red clock hand. At midday the arrow points vertically upwards. At midnight it points vertically down. The upper right animation is the same but with the addition of a vertical gnomon. Notice how far the shadow from the vertical gnomon departs from the regular sweep of the clock hand. The lower left animation shows a rotating Earth with tower like projections at various latitudes. The lower right animation shows the shadows cast as viewed from an unmoving point directly above London. See also our garden sundial animation. and our vertical sundial animation.
The Earth is divided into coloured bands: