A new entry in The Omicron Matter – A Working Vacation. The group has arrived at the town square to see the clock. Millicent explains some of the features of the clock. And then it begins its chime. Millicent has arranged a tour of the Astronomical Clock. The challenge for Rachael are to her dignity, but she is willing to make the sacrifice.
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.
One can take a tour of the Prague Astronomical Clock and it truly is a wonder. I don’t remember enough to describe the inside. But there are several works that are synchronized. The clock itself fell into disrepair to the point that the town almost removed it. Then funds were found and renovations took place during the time period of this story. Legend has it that if the clock stops, Prague will fall. I am not sure how that squared with World War II or the Communist Era.
Clock Makers meeting
They walked around the corner and came into the square at the base of the Astronomical Clock. Millicent pulled out a pocket watch and said, “There should be show in about 10 minutes. I think we can rest and wait with the gathering tourists.” Rachael nodded to a group of people in brightly colored suits and dresses milling next to the taxi stand who were pointing at her. Millicent explained the various astronomical features shown: The zodiac signs, the dials showing the sunrise and sunset, the dials that show the star time or sidereal time, the position of the ecliptic, the equator and the map that showed the place of the observer. Rachael followed the conversation closely. Everyone had been studying astronomy with Charles so they followed the terms. And them the clock started.
The twelve apostles started a march around the track of the clock. The figure of death held an hour glass and beckoned to a Turkish figure which declined by nodding its head. At the end of the march of the apostles, a golden came out and crowed as the hour was chimed. Felicity and Michael pointed and oohed and ahhed as each figure came out or some new feature was revealed. Rachael enjoyed and admired the mastery. She may have done more complicated actions in her small clock (not allowing this year’s extravagance which cheated with technology from Millicent) but her piece was smaller and the parts easier to time. The number things the clock showed was impressive in its own right. But the size of the figures that moved was impressive. What truly captivated her was the clock itself. It tracked local time, sidereal time, the zodiac, the movement of the sun, and provided a church calendar. That meant five different movements that had to be enclosed in that tower. The movements needed to be timed.
She commented Millicent, “It doesn’t look 400 years old.”
Millicent answered, “It is in the middle of renovation. I have arranged a meeting with the chief engineer in charge of the repairs.”
Rachael smiled and then looked disappointed. “I’ll never get up those stairs.”
Millicent said, “You’ll have to leave this comfortable chair and it won’t be dignified, but we will get you up and down the stairs to see everything that you desire.”
Rachael shrugged herself and said, “I suppose feeling like a sack of potatoes will be better than maintaining my dignity. If I can see how that wonder works then you and John can carry me there and I won’t make a single complaint. Let’s start!”
 Sidereal Time – A time keeping system used by astronomers based on Earth’s rotation relative to fixed stars. Specifically, it tracks time based on the given longitude of a location.