This week we learned how to apply a vertical sun path diagram to the panoramic picture of a potential site. I’ve seen, but never used a sun path diagram before. It appeared to be a pretty standard diagram using a graph with coordinate values and a curved line corresponding to specific coordinates. On a second look, I actually had no idea how I was going to incorporate it into a panorama picture. Luckily, Professor Sherman included a diagram showing the method for creating a sun path diagram. This was critical to my understanding and therefore, application of the sun path diagram.
I think the translation of projecting points on a dome orthogonally onto a two dimensional plane is fascinating. It’s really an ingenious method of mapping the sun’s path through a three dimensional space. What I thought was a confusing diagram, was revealed to be an almost literal representation.
Anyways, the reason why I am bringing up the sky dome (besides it simply being fascinating) is because it sparked a connection to the project I am working on in my CAD class. For this project I am analyzing the geometries, particularly transformations of symmetry, incorporated into the Pantheon.
Thinking about the Pantheon this afternoon I imagined myself standing under the dome wondering where the sun was in the sky. This spurred my imagination. If I had x-ray vision I could mark a point on the dome where the sun was. Over the course of the day, marking the suns movements on the inside of the dome with my x-ray vision might yield a sun path diagram. Could the Pantheon’s dome work like the sky dome used to create sun path diagrams?
Furthermore, I fell upon a post by BLDGBLOG.com re-posting a previous post because of a resent NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day.
In the original post was an interview with Walter Murch. He “superimposed Copernicus’s drawing [of the planetary orbits] over an image of the Pantheon’s dome – and found that the ratios of the circles in his drawing and the ratios of the circles of the Pantheon line up almost exactly.”
While Murch was interested with the alignment of the dome’s concentric rings to the planetary orbits, I saw another possible connection between the Pantheon’s dome and the sky dome. The concentric rings resemble the altitude lines. In addition, the radially expanding coffers resemble azimuth lines. Was the Pantheon’s designed to be a map of the planetary orbits, or the sky dome of a vertical sun path diagram, or both?