Aluna will be built at Point Wharf, a spectacular foreshore location on the intersection of 0° longitude and the historic Greenwich Peninsula waterfront – a place where time and tide meet.

London and our nation’s diverse cultural and maritime heritage has been a direct result of Britain’s innovation in navigation and timekeeping, including a sophisticated understanding of the Moon and tides.

The Royal Observatory was founded in the 17th century to advance the ‘lunar-distance’ method of maritime navigation. This was used by seafarers until the 20th century, alongside chronometers descended from John Harrison’s famous timekeepers trialled at Greenwich in the 18th century.

Lunar Distance Navigation, image Wellcome Foundation

Lunar Distance Navigation

image Wellcome Trust

Map showing Aluna meridian location

Point Wharf was where captains once watched the Royal Observatory’s time ball drop, setting their chronometers before setting sail around the world. This location is a potent reminder of our maritime history and of world trade – from the historic whale trade to bananas imported from the Canaries and, with Canary Wharf directly opposite, modern-day finance.

Celebrating the historical connection between Greenwich and the Moon, Aluna continues Britain’s tradition of scientific and astronomical excellence, and will be the next in the line of world famous and influential timepieces associated with Royal Greenwich.

Point Wharf is a powerful historic setting for Aluna, a public timepiece with a big socio-ecological purpose. Bridging the past with the future, Aluna and its public programmes will encourage us to explore the less-told multicultural histories that resulted from Britain’s maritime and colonial past. These are key to an understanding of the cultural make-up of London and the UK today, and can help us shape a more inclusive future.

“Our Moon helped all the world’s great navigators find their way. How I long to see her thanked and celebrated in this tidal clock.”
Dava Sobel, author of Longitude