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94 to 186 of 227 glossary terms
horizon obliquus: line denoting the local horizon on an astrolabe latitude plate, see article on the astrolabe.
horizon rectus: east-west line on an astrolabe latitude plate, see article on the astrolabe.
horizontal dial: sundial where the hour lines are marked on a horizontal surface, see article on the sundial.
hour lines: the time divisions on a sundial or other astronomical instrument.
hour ring: the part of a sundial marked with the time divisions, where this part is in the form of a ring or broken ring.
inclining dial: type of sundial projected as a horizontal dial for a particular latitude, but which can be inclined for use in a range of other latitudes.
Italian hours: system of hour reckoning, see article on time and date.
Jacob's staff: name for a cross-staff, especially when used for surveying, see article on the cross-staff.
Julian calendar: calendar introduced by Julius Caesar and used in Europe until the sixteenth century, or later, see article on time and date.
latitude: angle above or below the equator to indicate position on the earth. The celestial latitude, however, is an angular distance with respect to the ecliptic.
latitude plate: part of an astrolabe with a projection of altitude and azimuth lines on to the equatorial plane, see article on the astrolabe.
latitude projections: projection of altitude and azimuth lines on to the equatorial plane, see article on the astrolabe.
level: name for different types of instrument used in surveying for determining the horizontal direction and differences in height, and in gunnery and elsewhere for adjusting something to the horizontal. See also gunner's level.
level and sight: instrument used to set a large gun to the horizontal, or to elevate and aim it on a target, see article on the gunner's sight and level.
limb: the outermost part or edge of a circular or part-circular instrument carrying a scale, usually divided in degrees.
longitude: angle parallel to the equator to indicate position on the earth. The celestial longitude, however, is an angular distance parallel to the ecliptic.
lunar dial: dial where the shadow is cast by moonlight instead of sunlight, see article on the sundial.
lunar volvelle: volvelle indicating the age of the moon, which typically converts between the time indicated by the shadow of the moon on a sundial and solar time.
magic square: square grid with a number in each cell for which the sum of each row, column and diagonal is the same.
magnetic compass: instrument indicating directions by a magnetic needle, see article on the compass.
magnetic deviation: the angle between geographical north and the direction indicated by a compass needle.
magnitudes: numbers in a scale of the relative brightnesses of the stars, 1 being the brightest.
mariner's astrolabe: altitude-measuring instrument for finding latitude at sea, having a heavy brass or bronze ring, suspended by a shackle and ring, with a degree scale and a centrally-pivoted alidade.
mater: part of an astrolabe, see article on the astrolabe.
mathematical compendium: compound instrument for performing various functions in practical mathematics.
mathematical instruments: collections of instruments of assorted kinds for performing functions in practical mathematics.
measuring rod: an instrument used to measure distances or depths. See also gauging rod.
measuring rods: see measuring rod.
meridian: the plane containing the observer and both celestial poles, or containing the observer, the zenith and the pole, or, more colloquially, the north-south line at a particular position on the earth.
meridian circle: circular scale of degrees which in use is aligned with the meridian.
mining instruments: in this period mining instruments were principally for surveying, adapted for the special conditions of working underground in mines.
nautical circle: generic term for a circular mathematical instrument of use in navigation, but likely to carry a range of mathematical and astronomical scales.
nautical hemisphere: a combination of graduated arcs and circles used for navigational calculations, see article on the nautical hemisphere.
navicula dial: type of altitude dial in the shape of a ship.
nocturnal: instrument for finding the time at night from the orientation of the stars, see article on the nocturnal.
nocturnal and quadrant: compound instrument which combines both the functions of a nocturnal and quadrant, usually on two different sides of the same instrument, with equal importance given to each.
nocturnal and sundial: compound instrument which combines both the functions of a nocturnal and sundial, usually on two different sides of the same instrument, with equal importance given to each.
nonius: a way of subdividing a quadrant of a circle to provide fine discrimination of parts of degrees, comparable in purpose to the later vernier scale. The name comes from the latinized surname of the 16th-century Portuguese mathematician Pedro Nu?ez.
Nuremberg hours: system of hour reckoning, see article on time and date.
octant: the eighth part of a circle or an instrument measuring up to 45 degrees.
old quadrant: type of horary quadrant, see article on the quadrant.
opposition: two planets 180? from each other in the ecliptic are said to be in opposition. This relative position had important astrological significance.
ordinary hours: system of hour reckoning, see article on time and date.
orthographic planisphere: flat map produced by orthographic projection.
pedometer: device worn by a walker to measure distance by counting paces.
pendant sundial: a form of sundial suspended by a cord and possibly hung around the neck.
perpetual calendar: calendar covering a number of years, see article on time and date.
phase of the moon: the changing appearance of the moon throughout its approximately monthly cycle, from the thin crescent of new moon to the complete circle of full moon and back again.
pillar dial: type of altitude dial, see article on the sundial.
pin gnomon: the part of a sundial which casts the shadow, where this part is in the form of a pin.
plane table: type of surveying instrument, see article on the plane table.
plane table alidade: an alidade specially adapted for use with a plane table.
planetary hours: system of hour reckoning, see article on time and date.
planetary temperaments: astrological character of the fixed stars; as assigned in classical astrology, each star had a nature and effect similar to one or more of the planets.
planisphere: a representation of a spherical body on a flat surface, commonly a map of the earth or of the heavens.
planispheric astrolabe: astronomical instrument based on a planispheric projection of the heavens, see article on the astrolabe.
plate: part of an astrolabe with a projection of altitude and azimuth lines on to the equatorial plane, see article on the astrolabe.
plumb level: device for determining a horizontal level or an angle of elevation by a plumb line or plummet.
plumb line: a suspended thread with a weight at its end, indicating the vertical.
plummet: a form of plumb line in which the 'line' and weight are a single rigid piece.
polar dial: type of sundial, see article on the sundial.
polyhedral dial: sundial with hour lines on various faces of a solid figure, see article on the sundial.
prime vertical: celestial great circle passing through the east and west points and the zenith.
primum mobile: instrument for finding the sines and versed signs of angles, see article on the primum mobile.
projection: translation of a figure on to a plane or curved surface using straight lines in a systematic way. For example, a spherical surface can be projected on to a plane (the plane of projection) by means of straight lines drawn from all points on the surface to a certain defined point (the point of projection) and marking where they intersect the plane. In a stereographic projection, such as is used for the ordinary astrolabe, points on a containing circle are projected on to an equatorial plane from one pole; in an orthographic projection, such as is used in a Rojas design of universal astrolabe, the point of projection is at infinity and the projection lines are parallel.
proportional compasses: drawing instrument consisting of two legs each with points at either end; used for transferring dimensions in enlarged or reduced ratio.
proportional dividers: drawing instrument consisting of two legs each with points at either end; used for transferring dimensions in enlarged or reduced ratio.
proportional instrument: unusual instrument used to mechanically perform functions in trigonometry.
protractor: instrument for setting out and measuring degrees.
quadragesima: the 40 days of Lent or the first Sunday in Lent.
quadrans vetus: type of horary quadrant, see article on the quadrant.
quadrant: instrument based on a quarter of a circle, see article on the quadrant.
quadratum nauticum: diagram for finding course directions from latitudes and longitudes, see article on the astrolabe.
quatrefoil: decorative form with four leaves or petals.
radio latino: instrument for measuring angles in surveying and gunnery, see article on the radio latino.
ramming rods: long rods, often in wood, intended for use in gunnery and used to push the projectile inside a cannon, or to compress the powder in an arquebus.
reduction compass: a drafting instrument with two pivoting arms which sits parallel to a drawing surface, held up by its fixed points. The arms have no scales but can be divided at any given position by moveable points.
Regiomontanus-type dial: design of portable altitude dial adjustable for any latitude.
rete: skeletal star map representing the rotation of the heavens on an astrolabe. The rete normally features a projection of the ecliptic and pointers for prominent stars, and can be rotated over a chosen latitude plate. see article on the astrolabe.
right ascension: angle parallel to the celestial equator, measured eastwards from the spring equinox.
ring dial: simple form of altitude dial in the shape of a ring, for use in one latitude.
rule (or ruler): an instrument of multifarious functions in the form of a straight rod of metal, wood or other material; a folding rule is an alternative form with two or more jointed legs.
Saints' days: anniversary days for Christian saints.
scaphe dial: sundial where the hour lines are marked on a concave hemisphere or part hemisphere.
sector: calculating instrument using pairs of lines on the faces of two hinged arms, see article on the sector.
sexagenarium: an instrument in the form of a volvelle for planetary calculations.
shadow square: a form of geometrical quadrant, where two sides of a square are divided into equal parts and a plumb line or alidade from the opposite corner is used for measuring angles in terms of ratios (that is, tangents). Where a plumb line is used, one side has a pair of fixed sights. The name comes from the fact that a measurement of the altitude of the sun, expressed as a ratio, applied to the length of the shadow cast by an upright structure, yields its height. See also under astrolabe.
sight: a device through which an object of interest can be viewed. Sights appear on surveying and astronomical instruments and in a more specialised form in the gunner's sight.
simple theodolite: surveying instrument for measuring horizontal angles, see article on the theodolite.
sinical quadrant: a quarter of a circle with a scale of degrees at its circumference which carries a pattern of criss-crossing vertical and horizontal lines. The ratio of the length of a given line to the quadrant's radius gives the sine or cosine of the corresponding angle.
solar time: time measured directly from the position of the sun, see article on the sundial.
solstice: either of two points on the ecliptic where the sun achieves its maximum declination. The term also refers to the two dates when the sun reaches this position in its annual cycle. The winter solstice corresponds to the shortest day, the summer solstice to the longest. Near these points the sun's declination changes only slowly, hence the etymological meaning of solstice as 'standing sun'.
star pointer: point marking the position of a star, see article on the astrolabe.
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