Aluna – A Tidal-Powered Moon Clock

Full MoonA What? A Clock – ok, I get that! A ‘Moon Clock’ – what’s that? And why’s it tidal powered?

Thankfully, I am here to answer these questions for you 😉

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been helping to make some changes to a website for a friend. I’m not going to cover any of the technical aspects of those changes here, but I did want to introduce the site to you.

Aluna is a proposal for a construction that is part sculpture, part light-display, part clock, part educational tool, and I anticipate, totally amazing when it gets built. Think ‘Stone Henge’ with modern architecture, cool crisp lines, and it even tells you where the moon is and what level the tides are at. And it’s tidal powered, and designed to be environmentally friendly. And, unlike Stone Henge, it is hoped that visitors will be able to sit inside the circles.

OK, I won’t go into too much detail here because I will almost certainly not do it justice, but the Aluna design calls for three light-up rings, all at different angles to each other (and in fact, they would be at differing angles depending on where it was built in the world):

  • The outer ring demonstrates the phase of the moon by lighting up in differing proportions: it waxes and wanes with the moon. At new moon, it is basically unlit, and through to the full moon, it gradually lights up more and more… and then the lighting ‘wanes’ back down towards ‘unlit’.
  • The central disk is conceptually half underground – a bar of light on the half-visible-disc will ‘point to’ the position of the moon in the sky, and when the bar of light is below ground level, the moon is below the horizon.
  • The smallest ring also uses a bar of light, this time to represent the tide; the bar is at the top of the angled disc at high-tide, and at the bottom at low-tide; this makes it the fastest-moving light-effect on the three rings.

If you were not already aware, it is the motion of the moon around the earth that causes the tides. It is particularly appropriate, therefore, that the design aims to be powered by tidal power.

I can only recommend that you take a look at the site! I for one am hoping that London gets Aluna before the 2012 Olympics.

If you’re a Londoner, please visit to find out more and show your support for the project. Or, iff you are interested in more detail on the project and the design, please visit

By the way, the image at the top of this page is a picture I took from Parliament Hill in London; at the last few moments of a partial lunar eclipse. The last of the earth-shadow is still visble at the top-right of the moon.

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