History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search


The spherical astrolabe

This Eastern Islamic spherical astrolabe of A.D. 1480/1 is the only complete spherical astrolabe known to have survived; by the application of planispheric projection, most astrolabes are made as flat discs. The spherical astrolabe, though applicable to the same range of astronomical calculations as the planispheric, was less convenient to use and less robust. Made in brass and silver, the astrolabe is signed 'Work of Musa. Year 885' and, from the style of the Kufic lettering and the system of abjad numerals used, can be attributed to a maker in Eastern Islam.

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