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23 1/2 Degrees

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I've been sprucing up the UNISPHERE pages at nywf64.com and in the process I came across in interesting quote in a February 15, 1961 article from the NY Herald Tribune (article is titled, World's Fair gets a Symbol) that said, 

The globe will be tilted 23 1/2 degrees from vertical because, one official said, this will permit a better view of the United States and "we're all interested in the United States, aren't we?"

The earth is tilted 23 1/2 degrees on its axis.  I'm wondering if the "official" didn't know that and was speculating about the positioning of UNISPHERE or if there really was some thought put into how to tilt the sphere so that the US was more prominent.  I've read a number of articles about the creation of UNISPHERE and the work and calculations that went into fabricating it and always though that possibly the stress of the winds on the open globe might have had some affect on how UNISPHERE was positioned.  But I've never read or seen any discussion on how the placement of it was decided.  I look at photos of UNISPHERE from the Court of nations and North and South America are lined up perfectly with the court.

Just an interesting observation from an obscure article from the early days of the Fair.  I'm wondering if Craig Bavaro has ever come across any discussion of UNISPHERE placement whilst pouring over the records at the NY Public Library?  Craig?

 

unisph256.jpg

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Embarrassed I don’t remember a definitive answer. 

I always thought the empty South Pacific was placed rightly, facing the fewest viewers at the NYC pavilion. That put the more interesting Africa and Europe and the Greenwich zero meridian facing the long promenades to the Bell System. 

The sphere also tilts down at a point allowing a view of Europe which would otherwise be obscured from the ground, way high in northern latitudes. Europe is easier to see the further away one stands.

But then the asymmetric weight distribution of the continents may also come into play making the orientation at least partly an engineering solution. 

 

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I remember reading that when planning on the orientation of the Unisphere, they wanted to make sure that the North American continent faced the New York Pavilion observation deck, thereby showing this side for photos being taken there. 

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I remember hearing this.  It's all rather ethnocentric in hindsight.

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I can't say that I recall anything in the Fair Corporation records indicating that Bill, but I know who you can ask. That would be Daniel Short, who wrote the definitive book about the design and construction of the UNISPHERE. I assisted Daniel with a little part of his research back in 2015 and at 254 pages the book is chock full of many little known facts and lots of never before seen photos. His book is currently available at the following website and I can tell you that you won't be able to put it down if you order it.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/daniel-short/unisphere/hardcover/product-22458871.html

uni-fr-photo-cover-8x11.thumb.jpg.e64e9a726fc20065cf0d2ce1dbf410af.jpg

 

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I once calculated that the actual tilt is 22.8 degrees, based on the latitude and longitude of the pedestal attachment points and assuming equal length pedestal arms.

Close enough to 23.5 degrees - the difference in attachment point would be about 0.73 feet or 8.8 inches.

120 feet diameter * 12 inches per foot =  1440 inches diameter

* pi = 4523.89... inches circumference

* 0.7 degrees / 360 degrees = 8.796 inches

 

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Thanks, Craig. I just ordered a copy also.

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