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Astrolabe

ca. 1697
7 x 4 1/2 x 15/16 in. (17.8 x 11.5 x 2.4 cm)

Unknown, Persian
Persian

Object Type: Metalwork
Medium and Support: Bronze
Credit Line: From the collection of the Buffalo Museum of Science, C12535
Accession Number: 32.2009L
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

Astrolabes are ancient hand-held astronomical and astrological instruments used to measure the height of the sun or a star above the horizon. These measurements, made by manipulating a series of circular brass plates, show how the skies will appear at a specific place at a given time. Although the Greeks invented the basic astrolabe more than 2,000 years ago, Muslim scholars had created sophisticated instruments by around 800 CE. They introduced the devices to Europe through Islamic Spain, or Andalusia, in the early 1100s, where they became a basic component in scientific education.

[Gallery label text, 2009]

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