This astrolabe was made by Erasmus Habermel for Dr Franciscus Paduanis, physician to Rudolph II (1552-1612), Holy Roman Emperor, Archduke of Austria and King of Bohemia. It was made in Prague in the late 16th century. The astrolabe was the main astronomical instrument before the telescope, used by astronomers, surveyors, travellers and navigators from the seventh to the eighteenth century. An astrolabe was a scientific instrument that had many functions. With it you could measure heights, distances and angles, you could find out your latitude (your north/south position) and tell the local time. You could also use the astrolabe to locate the positions of the sun, moon, planets and stars and even predict future astronomical events.
Did you know?
The astrolabe was expensive and difficult to manufacture, often taking a whole year to make. It was considered a sign of prestige to own one. It is believed that the astrolabe was first used in Egypt. Records of astrolabes in use in Europe go back to the 10th century. In Muslim countries they were used to tell the times for prayer Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. It originated in the ancient world, before the 5th Century.
From: Prague, Austria
Date: 16th century
Made of: Copper gilt
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