armillary sphere


  • The Gottorp Armillary Sphere, 1657
    The Gottorp Armillary Sphere, 1657
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n armillary sphere a celestial globe consisting of metal hoops; used by early astronomers to determine the positions of stars
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Additional illustrations & photos:

Ancient Mongolian Armillary Sphere, ca. 1274 Ancient Mongolian Armillary Sphere, ca. 1274
Armillary Sphere of Jean Fortin, 1780 Armillary Sphere of Jean Fortin, 1780

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Armillary sphere an ancient astronomical machine composed of an assemblage of rings, all circles of the same sphere, designed to represent the positions of the important circles of the celestial sphere.
    • Armillary sphere See under Armillary Crystalline,.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Armillary sphere an instrument constructed to show the motions of the heavenly bodies
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. armilla, an armlet. See Arm (1).


In literature:

The province of the armillary sphere was to make these measurements extremely accurate.
"A History of Science, Volume 1(of 5)" by Henry Smith Williams
At the top, the drip-mould grows into a large trefoil with crockets outside and an armillary sphere within.
"Portuguese Architecture" by Walter Crum Watson
When several rings or circles were combined representing the great circles of the heavens, the instrument became an armillary sphere.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 5" by Various
An armillary sphere, in bronze, supported by three lions.
"Annals of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, A.D. 1598-A.D. 1867" by William Dunn Macray

In science:

The astrolabe, of course, but also the nocturnal, armillary spheres, cross staff, quadrant, dioptra, and (on p. 193) that funny-looking star-burst on a stick that old astronomers (we mean 15th century or something, not ourselves) are sometimes shown holding.
Astrophysics in 2006