Arabian planispheric astrolabe, 1605.
ARABIA - APRIL 11: This brass Islamic astrolabe was made by Musatafa Ayyub-I in the Middle East. An astrolabe is in essence a model of the universe that an astronomer could hold in their hands. From its origins in the Ancient World, Islamic astronomers developed the astrolabe and its use spread. Popular in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, its many uses included timekeeping, astrology and surveying. The two-dimensional depiction of the heavens used on this instrument is achieved using the mathematical technique of stereographic projection. This front view shows the moveable fretwork plate called the �rete�, which denotes the positions of the stars by short curved pointers. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
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Science & Society Picture Library / Contributor
11 April, 1995
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