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News & Progress

Archive News 2009

New Greenwich Meridian Location / 2009 Supporters / Alunatime Clock at Trinity Buoy Wharf / New Endorsements / A Blue Lunar Eclipse 31st December 2009 / Blue Moon Walking
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ALUNA - 5130'N, 00'E
Aluna ends 2009 with a confident leap across the Thames to the East Greenwich Waterfront, to focus on two high profile sites very close to the Greenwich Meridian. The first is at the entrance to a historic Draw Dock on the west side of The O2 Dome, adjacent to the proposed Peninsula Quays development and directly opposite the heart of Canary Wharf. This location is directly on the Meridian, where it bisects the Greenwich Peninsula. The second is further upstream, half way between The O2 and Greenwich Pier, adjacent to the proposed cruise liner terminal at Enderby's Wharf.

Greenwich Council Leadership strongly supports Aluna and would like to see it realised on the 'Home of Time' famous maritime waterfront, in time for the Olympic Games in 2012. We are now in discussions with the relevant stakeholders and will bring you further news in the new year.

We recently decided to end protracted negotiations with London authorities regarding securing a land interest for Aluna on the north bank of the Thames at East India Dock Basin. We did not take this decision lightly, as a huge amount of time, energy, expertise and enthusiasm had been invested in this magnificent and fitting site. Deepest thanks to all those who supported the project during its development for East India, in particular Edward Cullinan Architects and Land Design Studio for collaborating with the Aluna Team on an inspirational scheme design, to all at Trinity Buoy Wharf and to London Thames Gateway Development Corporation for its financial support.

Thanks to all of you who have supported Aluna over the past year, helping to keep the project alive and progressing - despite a global recession. If you are interested in supporting Aluna during 2010, please donate via our Friends page or get in touch with us directly: email or call +44 (0)20 7536 7632. Your support is invaluable, however large or small.

Special thanks to all those who have been instrumental to Aluna's progress during 2009:

Architect Mike Davies CBE and London Assembly Member Nicky Gavron for their generosity and continued financial support

Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust for once again keeping the project with a roof over its head

Land Use Consultants and David Powell Associates for invaluable pro bono planning and project management support

Business In the Community for a stall at Prince Charles' May Day Climate Conference and for facilitating private sector bono support

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Aluna's pro bono legal partners

EBC Education for their inspired work developing Aluna's education and communications strategy

DTZ for pro bono business development work

Sir Robert McAlpine Group for assistance with site investigations and pledging construction at cost

Ecofys for pledging their C Energy vertical axis turbine

East London Business Alliance for assistance with networking

Trustees and Patrons of our new charity, The Aluna Foundation

Aluna's team members and volunteers

All of Aluna's supporters and endorsers, and journalists across the globe, for enthusiastically spreading the word and helping to illustrate the wonderful story of the fundamental relationship between the Earth and the Moon, and how it continues to unite our global cultures!


Aluna's artist Laura Williams has been collaborating with electronic design engineer Simon Jones, artist blacksmith Andrew Baldwin, artist Ian Robert Felton, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and Trinity Buoy Wharf (TBW) to construct a moon and tide clock on the Wharf early in 2010. The TBW Alunatime Clock has been kindly funded by the Royal Astronomical Society and the Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust. It will be the first physical 'realtime' demonstration of Alunatime in London and the world, and an integral part of big Aluna's technological development.

The clock will be approximately 5 metres high, with a 'station clock'-style steel housing and two faces that electronically display local Alunatime. Proudman have calculated TBW's moon and tide time from the harmonic analysis of river geography, local tide gauges and astronomical algorithms. The housing will be mounted on top of a reclaimed cast-iron pillar and the clock will be a permanent installation to commemorate Trinity Buoy Wharf's past, present and future industrial, maritime, and technological achievements.

Aluna has recently been making new links with London's Thames community, including Robert Crouch MVO HM Bargemaster (Retired) and former Master and Clerk of The Company of Watermen and Lightermen. Robert has been advising the team regarding the river and its history, and teaching us about how "the ancient watermen considered the tides of London's river as the breathing rhythm of the great watercourse that lay through the land. The lunar Goddess controlled these tides; the eternal rhythm of water, the 'universal carrier', gave a pulse to the life of the area and to its inhabitants." The Company of Watermen and Lightermen has also offered its wholehearted support. Both their endorsements will be online shortly.

This autumn Laura Williams was formally recognised as a clockmaker by The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, and was made a Freeman of The Company.

This evening is an auspiciously lunar eve to herald the new year and new decade! Take a look up at the moon at 19:13 GMT, as the Earth, Moon and Sun align to provide us with the second full moon this December, making it a 'blue moon'. A blue moon is a second full moon in a calendar month and occurs roughly every 2.5 years. But a blue moon on December 31st is extremely rare; not only is this one blue, it is also partially eclipsed by the Earth's shadow!

Writer, walker and self-confessed lunatic Rob Self-Pierson is celebrating this special blue moon with his 13th and final walk to discover Britain by the light of the full moon. He ends his journey exploring just how lunar Britain's capital really is. After all, the Brewer Dictionary of Phrase and Fable 1898 said that Luan-dun was Celtic for City of the Moon, that there was once a temple of Diana where St Paul's now stands, and that Grian-wich was Celtic for City of the Sun!

Just like Aluna, Rob is encouraging us all to stand still for a moment to look at the sky and Earth's beautiful sister planet and timekeeper, to appreciate the magic of the bigger picture we all are a part of, and to let Luna offer you a new way to look at the world. Read Rob's blogspot or visit to join in and do your own blue moon walk this New Year's Eve - wherever you are in the world!

We look forward to bringing you more news soon and wish you all a magical blue lunar eclipse, and a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!


Aluna on BBC News and Radio 4's Today Programme / Longplayer Live at the Roundhouse September 12th

We were thrilled that Aluna was featured on BBC News and Radio 4's Today programme on September 1st 2009.

Click player below to listen to Pallab Ghosh's feature on the Today Programme:

© BBC 2009. Please ensure sound is on, requires Flash plugin.
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Click here to read Pallab Ghosh's news article, © BBC 2009

The radio piece by BBC Science Correspondent Pallab Ghosh, features contributions from Aluna endorsers David Rooney, former curator of Timekeeping at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (now at the Science Museum), and Dr Usama Hasan, Imam and Islamic Astronomer, as well as Aluna's artist Laura Williams.

The soundtrack includes an excerpt from "Twelve Tribes" kindly permitted by the artists 4Hero. The voice is Mark Murphy's, and the track is from the album Creating Patterns. The news feature also includes the track by Aluna endorser Brian Eno "Deep Blue Day", from his Apollo album, which he composed to accompany the original footage of the Moon landings in the 1989 film "For All Mankind".

On another 'long time' note, you might also like to know that a 1,000 minute section of Jem Finer's Longplayer - a piece of music 1,000 years long! - is being performed live at the Roundhouse on Saturday 12th September between 8.20am and 1am. Laura Williams is one of the 26-strong orchestra playing the unique 20 metre wide instrument. To find out more about this fantastic project, visit

Alongside the performance there will be an epic relay of one-to-one conversations about long term thinking and responsibility. Writer Jeanette Winterson will start the discussion, which will continue throughout the day with 24 leading writers, filmmakers, scientists, academics and technology activists. You can drop in to the performance and conversations at any time. For tickets please visit -


Charitable Status Granted for The Aluna Foundation / Membership Scheme Launched / Donation from Architect Mike Davies CBE / Development and Capital Sponsors Come On Board / 40th Anniversary of Moon Landings - Free Talk by Aluna's artist at Royal Greenwich Observatory / David Rooney's Lunar Time Tale / Business In The Community and Prince's May Day Climate Summit / The Aluna Hologram by Colour Holographics / Eclipses
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We hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the long summer days. We've had a busy few months here at Aluna HQ and things are progressing apace!

We are thrilled to announce that Aluna has now received charitable status to deliver the Aluna Moon Clock and its cultural and educational outreach programme for public benefit. This will be extremely valuable for our fundraising activities, helping us to achieve long-term sustainability and greater impact. Huge thanks to Peter Korn at Interchange Legal Advisory Service for his hard work throughout the process.

As a charity we're now allowed to claim Gift Aid, which will ensure that any personal contributions go 28% further at no extra cost to you. It you'd like to donate to The Aluna Foundation please visit our Friends page - your support is hugely valued.

We've also developed a membership scheme for individual and corporate donors to who would like to make a larger commitment in support of Aluna. There are different levels - New Moon, Full Moon, Total Eclipse and Blue Moon - with a great range of benefits including invitations to talks and events, limited edition prints and holograms, regular updates, sponsor acknowledgement and brand visibility. If you'd like to find out more please get in touch by email, or call us on 020 7536 7632 and we'd be happy to send you the details. We are also developing other levels for giving to suit smaller donors. Donations to date will be transferred to new giving schemes and we will be in touch about this as soon as possible.

Once again, the Aluna project office has been able to continue work at this vital stage, thanks to another generous donation by renowned architect and amateur astronomer Mike Davies CBE. Mike is responsible for iconic buildings such as London's Millennium Dome and Heathrow T5. Did you know that he designed the Dome with 12 masts and it is 365 metres in diameter?!

We're proud to welcome some key sponsors who have come on board to support Aluna at this important stage. Joining with our fantastic Design Team, the line-up developing to take Aluna forwards is truly exciting and dynamic.

Ecofys, a renewable energy company has pledged 800K worth of support to provide the tidal turbine technology to power Aluna. Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer have offered pro bono support for all of Aluna's legal needs, Land Use Consultants are providing pro bono planning consultancy and EBC Education are supporting the project with the creation of our educational strategy.

Additionally we're very grateful for the continued support from Apple Colour, Omni and Julian Seymour at Route with fantastic printing and print production sponsorship in kind that have provided us with vital promotional materials for our fundraising campaign.

20th July saw the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in the Sea of Tranquility on our sister planet. It is also just over 40 years since Apollo 8 took the famous NASA Earthrise image, showing our fragile earth from the perspective of the moon. This powerful and iconic photograph gave birth to the global environmental movement 40 years ago, reminding us of the need to protect our Earth. 10 years ago, this same image displayed at the Hayward Gallery's Full Moon exhibition, similarly inspired Laura Williams to design and develop Aluna.


image © NASA

There are a whole host of exhibitions, films, radio programmes and events celebrating the anniversary. Our favourites are:

  • A weekend of lunar-themed events at the Royal Observatory Greenwich - 25th - 26th July. Aluna's creator Laura Williams will be giving a talk at the ROG on Saturday 25th July at 15.15 as part of the Discovery Space Free talks series celebrating the moon. Other talks and performances include John Eacott (composer of Flood Tide), Simon Boxall (National Oceanography Centre Southampton) and the UK's MoonLITE mission to the moon.

  • The One Giant Leap series of landmark films at the BFI Southbank - 21st - 31st July

  • Jeanette Winterson's The Inconstant Moon on Radio 4.

  • Radio 2's programme,Moonbathing, exploring the artistic legacy of the space age.

The last two are only available for the next few days though, so don't leave it too long! Available permanently however, is a brilliant BBC collection of television and radio programmes about the Moon Landings, stretching from 1969 to the present day.

David Rooney, one of Aluna's key supporters, recorded a fascinating series of podcasts while he was Curator of Timekeeping at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. We were thrilled that he chose Aluna as the subject for his final Time Tale, discussing the science and philosophy behind the project as well as the meaning of the word 'Aluna' - it's only 5 minutes and well worth a listen.

Thanks to the continued support of Business in the Community (BITC), Aluna took part in the Climate Change Marketplace at the Prince's May Day Summit this year. As the UK's largest gathering of businesses committed to taking action on climate change, we made some great new connections and refreshed some old ones, chatting to London's Mayor Boris Johnson when he visited the Aluna stand. BITC, a Prince of Wales's Charity, has been supporting Aluna with business advice and networking. Visit our Endorsers' page to read what BITC and London's Mayor have to say about Aluna.

Thanks to Colour Holographic, we are now the proud owners of a beautiful hologram showing Aluna in 3D. The Aluna Hologram is a collaboration between Colour Holographic's Mike Medora and Gideon Raeburn, Aluna's artist Laura Williams and 3D computer graphics artist Mark Glean.

The hologram shows off Aluna's three-dimensional form and scale. As you move around and interact with the images to experiences its full effect, you can see clearly how Aluna's light markers correspond with the movement of the moon and the tidal Thames rising and falling alongside. Limited editions of the hologram are included as a membership benefit at the Total Eclipse and Blue Moon levels.

click to enlarge

This new moon totally eclipsed the sun, for a record-breaking 6.5 minutes! It was visible to Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The next eclipse happens later this month, with this coming full moon. A penumbral lunar eclipse will take place on August 6, 2009, the third of four lunar eclipses this year. The earth's penumbral shadow will produce a very subtle dimming of the moon's southern edge, which will be difficult to observe with the naked eye. A great site to learn more about the dance of the moon, sun and earth is


New Aluna Film Now Viewable Online / Support from Michael Davies Charitable Settlement and Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust / Aluna Showcases at The Prince's May Day Summit 2009 / Tim Smit Endorses Aluna / David Rooney Tells Timely Tales About Long Slow Projects Like Aluna at National Portrait Gallery / Join Aluna's Facebook Group
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25.04.09 NEW MOON
Thanks to some development funding, things have been hotting up here at Aluna HQ. We'll bring you a fuller update soon, but in the meantime here are a couple of announcements and some information regarding upcoming events that you might like to attend.

If you haven't seen it already, do take a look at our new short film, bringing Aluna to life in 3D. Many thanks to Aluna's computer artist Mark Glean, to Henry Gillespie for his fantastic soundtrack, to actress Tamera Howard for writing and performing the narration and to Simon Hyde for the edit. Mark and Laura Williams are now working together with to translate the artwork into a holographic animation.

Thanks to Mike Davies' generous support, the project office has been able to crank up a gear and is now working towards securing large sponsorship pledges. We already have offers amounting to almost 2m and are in communication with other potential sponsors, including technology, materials and financial support.

Many thanks also to TBWT - keen to support arts and charitable initiatives, they have extended their support once again with the continued sponsorship of The Aluna Project office premises. Their assistance has been invaluable to the project and we love being part of the thriving community here at Trinity Buoy Wharf.

Business in the Community, a Prince of Wales's Charity, has been supporting Aluna with business advice and networking. As part of The Prince of Wales' May Day Summit, we have been given a stall to showcase Aluna at the Climate Change Market Place on Friday May 1st between 12 and 5pm at 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, 16 Lower Thames St, London, EC3R 6DX - Map. Do come along and say hello! You can book online here.

Aluna is an important reminder of our relationship with the sea and climate change, and presents an innovative and educational way of understanding the fundamental relationship between the Moon, the Sun and the Earth. 70% of our planet is water and with global temperatures and sea levels rising, understanding the larger and slower natural rhythms of our blue planet is now more important than ever.

Tim Smit of Eden Project fame is wholeheartedly supporting Aluna: "Aluna is exactly the sort of modern work of art that graces a big city stage because it deals with serious issues, connects us with time and tide, is within sight of the world's most famous place as regards time (Greenwich), and will be instantly recognised around the world for what it is - an elegant, sophisticated yet accessible work which is also - useful."

Aluna's longtime endorser, advisor and protagonist of the slow time movement David Rooney will be leaving his post as Curator of Timekeeping at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and moving back to the Science Museum.

David will be celebrating his stint 'doing time' with a talk this coming Friday 24th April at the National Portrait Gallery. He'll be exploring the characters and personalities behind the story of time and discuss his favourite long time projects, Aluna, Longplayer and the Long Now Foundation. The event is free but do arrive early, as places are limited to 150.

David's podcast 'Time Tales' is well worth a listen and covers a wealth of fascinating time topics. Our favourite is January 2009's "Long Player - music for the next 1000 years", but we're thrilled to hear that David's final podcast in July will be all about the Aluna Project! We'll send out a reminder nearer the time.

Please join our Aluna Moon Clock Facebook Group, and tell your friends to help to spread it far and wide. We are working on getting linked up with other social networking sites so watch this space!


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