Buon Anno! Happy New Year! These past days I’ve focused on this clock since time–i.e., the changing of the year–has been on our minds. Now, with the start of a new trip around the sun, we turn to the cathedral side of Messina’s astronomical clock tower.
We already saw the Perpetual Calendar, which shows the days, months, years, and liturgical feast days with its marble statue of an angel who points to the current day. Above that disk is the Planetarium, pictured. It shows the solar system with the sun at its center and nine planets rotating around it. They are portrayed at a distance which is proportional to the actual solar system, and the planets’ position throughout the year matches, almost precisely, the true position of the heavenly bodies. Above this is the moon. And if you thought that the black face versus the gilded face match its phases over 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3 seconds (i.e. the moon cycle), then you are correct! How cool is this?
So, as we pass over from one year to the next and one month to the next enjoy the fascinating workings of the astronomical clock of Messina!
Remember, to see the clock in action, you must be at the piazza at 12 noon sharp each day.