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4 votes

Giant Sundial

250 E. Franklin St, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 USA

Free to Visit
  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
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“at UNC chapel Hill”

The Morehead sundial, approximately 36 feet in diameter and 113 feet in circumference, is one of the largest in the world. The shadow-casting gnomon is approximately 24 feet long and 20 feet tall. Brass plaques provide data on the location of the sundial, how to tell the correct time based on the day of the year, and what time it is in other cities when it is noon in Chapel Hill. Inscribed around the circumference are two quotations: "Today is yesterday's tomorrow" and "It is always morning somewhere in the world." The sundial was designed by Joe Hakan, chief engineer for campus construction in the 1950s and 1960s, who also designed the WUNC-TV facilities. Benefactor John Motley Morehead assigned Hakan the task of creating a sundial so accurate that he could rely on it to catch a train; accordingly, Hakan stayed up nights pinpointing the location of the North Star, as sundials must point true north (towards the geographic pole and not magnetic north) to be accurate.

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
June 23, 2014

If you're in the area already then check it out but it isn't really worth going out of your way to see. And forget about finding parking there!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
August 08, 2016
Rated 3.0

Worth seeing if you want to go ahead and take a look at UNC Chapel Hill's campus.

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Reviewed by

  • 7 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
June 11, 2015
Rated 3.0

A little bonus to see if visiting the Planetarium, otherwise it's ok. Tried to visit with the family and parking attendant told us no, we couldn't park there, even just for a few pics. We had to park 3 blocks away she said, but we had to drive through that area in order to exit... so... we stopped for a total of 1 minute, got a few shots in then left. :)

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Reviewed by
Greg Newkirk

  • Expert
  • 314 Reviews
  • 371 Helpful
September 30, 2014
Rated 3.0

Very neat to see, but don't plan a trip around it, or go out of your way too far to see it.

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Giant Sundial

250 E. Franklin St
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
27514 USA
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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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