Armillary sphere

Made:
1601-1700 in Newcastle upon Tyne and Europe
maker:
Unattributed

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Small decorative brass armillary Sphere, supported on shoulders of a bronze figure of Atlas mounted on a ebonized wooden plinth. The horizon ring and supporting stand is a later 19th century addition, probably French, while the rest appears to be part of an original 17th century armillary sphere.

This European brass armillary sphere was made in the seventeenth century, but has been mounted on a later nineteenth century base with horizon ring. The decorative stand, probably French, consists of a figure of the ancient Greek figure of Atlas. The armillary sphere is a demonstration device to explain the movements of the Sun, Moon, stars and planets across the sky. Its interlocking rings can be used to teach astronomical principles in same manner as a celestial globe or act as a model the universe. Based on the premise of an Earth centred universe, the armillary sphere was modified in the seventeenth century to teach the theory that the Earth orbits the Sun.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1952-229
Materials:
brass, bronze and wood
type:
armillary sphere
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • globe - cartographic sphere
  • celestial globe
  • disciplines
  • disciplines
  • science
  • natural sciences
  • physical sciences
credit:
Backer, H.E.