Solar Calendar - Wichita, Kansas
Solar Calendar is an outdoor astronomical observatory at Central Riverside Park in Wichita, Kansas. The Stonehenge like art was created in 2003 by Wichita artist Steve Murillo. The standing stones are decorated with tiles showing constellations, astrological signs, the globe and other designs.
As a place of reflection, study and celebration, these standing stones form a technologically accurate astronomical observatory which tracks the sun's location by aligning the stones at sunset, sunrise and local noon on the first day of each of the four seasons.
The small ground stone and their medallions mark the sun's shadow falling from the southernmost standing stone, and a beam of light upon the center of the medallions from an eye atop the stone when the sun is at it's apex, local noon, on the first day of each season. The medallions note the specific date to be observed at local noon. If you sit on the benches and follow the line of flagstones to the west in the evening, you may watch the sunset directly over the other standing stones - setting to the south on the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) and furthest in the north on the summer solstice (the longest day of the year). Conversely, the sun rises between the two bench stones from summer through winter.
This "Solar Calendar" honors many traditions from around the world, a universal accomplishment that many cultures share. Historically solar calendars set down migration, planting and harvesting cycles for many developing agricultural societies. Order in nature was first observed over long periods of days by tracking the sun's movements, giving security and understanding to investigating minds that first sought to know our place in the universe. It begins the journey of astronomical wonder which now reaches far beyond our nearest star.
copyright 2019-2021 by Keith Stokes