Imperial Astronomical Observatory, China

Imperial Astronomical Observatory, China

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Imperial Astronomical Observatory, Beijing (Peking), China. This observatory (instruments at upper right) was built during the Ming Dynasty (1442) to facilitate both astronomical purposes and seafaring navigation. It was later refitted in the late 17th century by the Jesuits. Additional bronze instruments were supervised by Jesuit astronomer Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688), a Flemish priest and a special advisor to the Qing court regarding the correction of the Chinese calendar. Tycho Brahe's 'Mechanica' (1598) had a strong influence on Verbiest and the design of the instruments. Some of the instruments are seen at upper right on top of a brick platform.

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