Friday, March 5, 2004

Out of the Ordinary Day (3 of ?)

(Man, I wish I had the longer entry limit.  I'm breaking this up so much, all the recent stuff is already falling off the bottom of the page, dammit.)

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is up a hill.  (Had I thought THIS through, I would've figured that one out, too.  I mean, when they drop the time ball at 1:00 every day, the idea is for ships in the river to actually be able to see it.)  So, I made a brief stop to actually put ON the knee brace (which works much better when removed from the box), and hiked up to the Observatory.

You need a ticket to get in, but it's free.  As soon as you enter, you're in a courtyard where the Prime Meridian line is marked, and they've got a real accurate clock ticking off time.  They've also got (added bonus) "the" official measures.  You wanna see if a ruler is exactly one foot -- this is the place to go, my friend.  I don't know why, but my inner mathematician just dug this.

Much to see at the Royal Observatory.  Saw all sorts of timepieces -- everything right up to a model of the new atomic-type clock (cesium, I think) that promises to lose a second every FIFTEEN MILLION YEARS.  Which should be close enough for government work.

I was most impressed by the H4, the timepiece (sorry, "chronometer") developed by Harrison that ultimately won the Longitude Prize.  Hey, I watch my movies on A&E, this shit MEANS something to me.  (Actually, they had all 4 of Harrison's chronometers, which were really stunning.)

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