Header Image: 

Come see the massive Sunstones II exhibit

Peer through and climb on to explore this 18-foot high granite, outdoor astronomical sculpture. Sunstones II links science with art, and even offers special viewing of astronomical events.

Sight lines in the Sunstones II structure let visitors view the process of the Sun ’s northernmost and southernmost setting at the solstices. The position on the western horizon of the setting sun changes throughout the year. Each evening in winter and spring the sun sets a little farther north than it did on the day before. Each evening in summer and autumn it sets a little farther south than it did on the day before. On the summer solstice and the winter solstice the setting sun is at its extreme north or south position. For a few days around the time of each solstice, the position of sunset changes very little from day to day. This is sometimes referred to as “the sun standing still” although the sun rises and sets as usual. The word ‘solstice’ comes from this idea of “the sun standing still.”

Through the ages, many cultures have used stone monuments to watch and measure the solstices and other astronomical events.

Sunstones II was created by UC Berkeley astronomer David Cudaback and sculptor Richard O’Hanlon.

Sunstones II was made possible by private donations, and is dedicated to the memory of Isabella and Hans Karplus.