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Inventory no. 78216 - Former Display Label

?English SKY OPTICK, or SCIOPTRIC BALL
Early 18th century

Wood. Unsigned and undated.

A sky optick is used to convert a room into a large form of camera obscura. It consists of a long focus lens (or lenses) fixed in a universal mounting which can be placed in the window shutter of a darkened room. The sky optick will then project a reduced image of the landscape on to a wall or screen inside the room. Sky opticks could also be used for viewing eclipses and sunspots on a screen, and the more elaborate instruments were fitted with a diaphragm for reducing the amount of light transmitted.

'Sky optick' is the term used in Thomas Wright's inventory (1731) of the Orrery Collection; "scioptrick" or "scioptric" are more usual forms of the name.

[Orrery Collection, ?no. 32]
Lent by Christ Church

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