50 miles northeast of Athens Georgia are the Guidestones, purchased by persons unknown and sculpted and erected by the Elberton Granite Finishing Company. Visible on Google Maps, the structure is nearly twenty feet tall and weighs over 100 tons. Inscribed with some odd philosophy in several languages, the Guidestones also contain some interesting astonomical features.
Noon indicator; a hole in the capstone shines a ray of sun that indicates solar high noon year round. During the earth’s rotation each day, the apex of the sun in our sky is captured when the sun’s ray aligns with the noon marking.
Celestial pole; a hole through the center stone points to celestial north.
Equinox slot; a slot in the center stone around eye level that allows the priestly pretender to calculate the northern and southern equinox of the sunrise and sunset. Vernal is the spring point at which the earth’s tilt is at the center of the southernmost and northernmost extent. Autumnal is the fall, or autumn centerpoint.
In modern times, we tend to pay more attention to the shortest and longest days of the year. In the northern hemisphere, December 21 is the shortest day of the year, also known as the winter solstice. March 21 is the vernal equinox, June 21 is the summer solstice and September 21 the fall equinox.
As the earth tilts during it’s orbit around the sun, one year elapses to complete the trip. The Georgia Guidestones provides an example of how we can use stationary monuments to measure the earth’s path in that orbit.