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Astrolabe, 18th century | by austinevan
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Astrolabe, 18th century

An 18th century Astrolabe. This is copy made in the late 18th century of a popular astrolabe originally designed in the early 18th century. I found this in a souk in Marrakech.

 

An astrolabe is a historical astronomical instrument used by classical astronomers, navigators, and astrologers. Its many uses included locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars; determining local time given local latitude and vice-versa; surveying; and triangulation.

 

In the medieval Islamic world, they were used primarily for astronomical studies, as well as in other areas as diverse as astrology, navigation, surveying, timekeeping, Salah prayers, and Qibla. Astrologers of the European nations used astrolabes to construct horoscopes.

 

This particular astrolabe was made to order as a decorative item sometime in the late 18th century. As the markings are not precise, it would be difficult - if not impossible - to accurately determine astrological events using this piece. The plates themselves are well-scribed and could be used to determine approximate latitude.

    

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Taken on February 24, 2009