DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Astrolabe. Brass astrolabe from the middle ages. The astrolabe consists of circles marked with angular measurements. By aligning the astrolabe with the horizon, the angular heights (altitudes) and positions (azimuths) of stars in the sky could be measured. An astronomer who knew his location on the Earth could, by measuring the position of a standard star, calculate the time. Astrolabes were widely used in astronomy and astrology and were one of the most important scientific instruments of the time. Photograph of an Islamic astrolabe from the period 1350-1450. Arab scholars were at this time amongst the most scientifically-advanced people in the world.
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