Tell time from the sun without your wrist-watch!
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How to tell time from the sun
The Bible says God placed lights in the sky for “signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14).
Everyone knows the sun and moon can help tell us the seasons, days, and years. You can even use your wrist-watch to help you find direction if you are lost, and use flowers as a clock to help you tell time. But how can you use the sun or moon for “signs”?
Well, there are many ways we can use them as signs. One way is to use the sun to work out the time of day without looking at a clock or wrist-watch. You can turn yourself into a walking clock!
Here is how to do it …
Let's say sunrise in your area is around 6 a.m. and sunset is around 6 p.m. That means that midway between where the sun rises and sets it will be noon. Just imagine the whole arch of the sky from horizon to horizon as being 12 hours. That's because it takes around 12 hours for the sun to go from one point to the other. (From your perspective it will, but we know the sun isn't moving; the earth is rotating and so the sun looks like it is moving.) When the sun is almost directly over your head, the time will be noon.
Because the sun always rises in the east and sets in the west, you will know that if the sun is between where it rose and your noon point (overhead), it is still morning. If it has passed your noon point it will be afternoon. Halfway between the eastern horizon and noon point will be 9 a.m.; halfway between noon and the west horizon will be 3 p.m.
It is easy to divide the sky into 12 imaginary sections of one hour each. Just use the most eastern point as 6 o'clock in the morning, noon as directly overhead, and the most western point as 6 o'clock in the evening. Then 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. will be halfway between noon and a horizon, and you can easily work out the other hours by dividing into thirds the points you know. (Never look straight at the sun, of course, because it can damage your eyes.)
With a little practice you can get good at this, but even on your first try you will probably be more accurate than you thought. You may want to allow for which country you are in and the season it is now. But the times given above are a good average and will get you close to the right time almost anywhere that isn't close to the north or south poles.