Red/Cyan 3D glasses are needed to view the photos in this post.

Today marks the start of summer for the northern hemisphere, with the longest day of the year. Actually, it was yesterday(June 20) this year, because calendars are messed up, but today is the 21st and the official start of summer and I wrote this planning to post it today because I forgot to check and STOP JUDGING ME!

Okay. I’m good. I realized the day was off a bit too late, as I wanted to double-check and proofread this first. I’ll still have some spelling errors, as I’m an awful proofreeder, but I do try. [and actually this was delayed to the 22nd due to internet being out when I tried to post it. Yay technology!]

Anyways, the sun’s sure weird, isn’t it? We’re so worried about nuclear power plants and non-proliferation, but once it gets war, we go sit on the beach underneath a massive nuclear explosion. Sure, the atmosphere blocks the worst of the radiation(and, depending on conditions, some of the better parts of it too), but still, almost all of our energy is connected to the sun’s radiation in some form or another. What’s more, we’re only getting less that a billionth of a percent of the sun’s total output. I think if it decides to turn the rest of the energy on us, we might need a bigger ozone layer.

For reference, I did try to take the easy route and figure out just what percentage of the sun’s energy reaches the earth just by googling the answer, but there’s enough number out there that I got bored and made my own up numbers instead. The average distance from the earth to sun is about 149 597 876 km. If make an imaginary sphere of that with that radius (using 4πr2)the surface area is 281 229 161 542 458 487 km2; at the earth’s distance, all the sun’s energy expelled passes through this surface area at one location or another. The earth’s radius is 6371 km; as there’s pretty much only one side of the earth exposed to the sun, and the angles of the sun’s light don’t really matter for my purposes, I figure that calculating the area of a 2D circle the size of the earth should be enough to estimate the amount of light reaching it. π63712 gives an area of 127 156 010 km2. Therefore, the area of the earth is 127156010/281229161542458487 of the total surface area, or about 0.000 000 053 193%. Some of that is reflected instead of being absorbed, but I figure that’s enough of an estimate for me. This is just an approximation(the earth isn’t a perfect sphere, the distance from the earth to the sun varies, and it’s assuming that the sun’s energy is emitted uniformly in all directions), but it’s enough to show that I’m willing to put some work into a throwaway bad joke, and put effort into writing, even if I can’t proofredd worth a damn.

It also proves that I’m worried about the sun, worried enough to do math about it. We have these solstices and equinoxes every year in an attempt to appease it, but that only goes so far. If it gets angry with us(again), we have to be ready, and that includes knowing everything about it. Even do math. This is where Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar comes in.

Jantar Mantar is a UNESCO site within a UNESCO site, somehow. It was already listed as one when I visited in 2017, and since then, the entire city of Jaipur was also listed as one. As it is inside the city, does that mean it is two UNESCO sites, or does it mean that one site stops on the grounds, and another begins? I have no idea.

Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar is actually one of five built in the early 18th century, but is the largest and most elaborate of them. These complexes were all commissioned by Jai Singh II; the Jaipur observatory was the last completed in 1738. These observatories were designed to locate celestial objects; part of the reason for constructing several observatories in different cities was to compare results and improve calculations. These weren’t observatories in the modern sense; telescopes weren’t a part of the observatroy at the time. Instead these instruments at the site were designed to precisely calculate the location of an object at a specific time, or conversely, to calculate the time exactly.

The Jaipur location has been restored several times since its creation, and is now a major tourist site. It is one of the locations I really wish I could have explored more on my tour of the region; as it was, we had about 45 minutes to visit, as we had to make room for standing around for two hours at a shop listening to people trying to sell us overpriced crafts.

…Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Of course, with only 45 minutes(20 of which were standing in one place hearing a brief guide to the history of the site),I really didn’t get a great idea of what the instruments did; it’s really a site where you need time to watch the shadows move and figure out how to read the results. For a number of these instruments, I had to look up the purpose of them after my trip. That actually isn’t too unusual; my travel rule is ‘photos first, education later’. I can get educated whenever I feel like it(which is usually ‘not at all’), but I can only take photos while I’m there.

Anyways, lets look at some of the tools. I’ve been calling these scientific instruments, but they’re big scientific instruments made of stone. And metal. But mostly stone. They’re heavy, so probably won’t be gone if you decide to see them yourself.

Lets start with the…

Narivalaya Yantra

This is one of two sundials, inclined at 27°. By what I’m sure is a complete coincidence, that is the angle relative to the equator that Jaipur lies on. One of the sundials is for summer, and one is for winter, and it’s easy to know when to switch between them(after the equinox, one should always be in shade until the next equinox. Shade isn’t ideal for sundials).

Here’s the other one.

This is the only photo in black and white. It’s because a person dared to wear red in the photo, and their shirt clashed with the anaglyph colours. This person is now my enemy, and I have declared vendetta against them and all their descendants.

The dial for the bottom photo is in the sun; the top one in the shade. I took these photos close to the equinox(Specifically on September 28, six days after the equinox), so the position of the sun is almost parallel to the 27°.

Next to the Narivalaya Yantra in the lower photo is the…

Laghu Samrat Yanta

This is another sundial, with a different design than the previous ones. Instead of the shadow being cast on a flat disk beside, the shadow is here is cast from the triangle in the centre, onto the circular rim. I assume that this method means that the markings for each minute can be evenly spaced, instead of having to be at different distances from each other. It would make the time more accurate, and allow the shadow to move at an even speed as well.

I mean, I guess it’s kind of impressive that this sundial is accurate to 20 seconds. You can look at it and read the time to a 1/3 of a minute. That said, I’m an expert at making sundials, and I think mine hold up just as well.

More in the centre of the site is the…

Jai Prakash Yantra

There are two of these; they’re both star maps engraved onto marble hemispheres set into the ground. The purpose of them is to find what stars and constellations are behind the sun at present. There’s a small ring suspended above the hemisphere(in the top of the photo; it should be easy to see with the 3D glasses, but might be harder without them). The sun shines through the ring, casting a shadow on the hemispherical star map beneath.

As the earth revolves around the sun, the stars behind the sun will eventually become visible at night, and the nighttime stars will have their turn hidden by daylight. At that point, it’s time to switch to the second hemisphere, with the star chart for the other half-year on it. The concept for them are both the same. Did I choose to take a photo of the right map? I really don’t know, but I had a 50/50 chance of getting the right pictures, so I’m going to round up and say there’s a 100% chance that I made the correct decision.

The Jai Prakash can be used on its’ own, but is also designed to be used in conjunction with the…

Rashivalaya Yantra

There are actually twelve of these instruments, one for each sign of the zodiac. They were used to calculate horoscopes, that most scientific branch of astronomy. From what I understand, each of them points at a constellation at a specific time, and are used to calculate the position of the constellations during n relation to when someone was born. If, of course, the birth date and time are known down to within a couple minutes.

As I mentioned, it(or is it ‘these’? are they one instrument in twelve parts, or twelve instruments?) is designed to be used with the Jai Prakesh Yantra. That’s because they’re based on what constellations are behind the sun. Once that is found through examining the Jai Prakash, the horoscopes can be calculated the right way. Scientifically.

Each of the Rashivalaya Yantras is set at a different angle, and the central stair/triangle in them, which casts the shadow, are each at different gradients

Of course I found my own zodiac Yantra. No, I’m not going to tell you which one it is. That information is much too personal and sensitive to release to the public. You will never, NEVER, know my zodiac sign.

A completely unrelated photo…

Finally, there’s the…

Samrat Yantra

It’s another sundial. This one is a similar design to the Laghu Samrat Yanta, but maybe just a little bigger. It stands at 27 metres(89 feet) tall, making it the world’s largest sundial. Is there any reason for making a sundial so big? Well, the size means it can calculate the time more accurately, making it accurate to two seconds. It also means that without a wide angle lens, I couldn’t get both sides of the sundial into one photo. Here’s the other(afternoon) side.

It would have been great to see the site from the top of the sundial, but I couldn’t climb the stairs to the top; They’re off limits to the public. I also couldn’t climb the stairs to the side, for the same reason.

Fine. I’ll concede that a 6 story sundial with an accuracy to within two seconds might have my own creations beat. However, it only works during the daytime, whereas MY sundial employs ingenious technology of my own invention, and can be used for at all times of the day.

There are other instruments at the observatory, but as I said, I only had a short time to run around. The mysteries of the sun would have to wait for another day. It was much more important to look at carpets for the next couple hours. Those carpets aren’t going to buy themselves!

The above photos were taken with dual Canon SX600 HS cameras.