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ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ADAM HART-DAVIS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Armillary sphere. 16th century (c.1550) instrument of the celestial sphere, used by early astronomers to determine the position and motion of stars around the Earth. Developed by the Greeks it was used as a teaching tool in the 3rd century BC by Ptolemy. They are often seen in portraits from the Renaissance era, as they represented the height of knowledge. Armillary spheres were among the first complex mechanical devices.
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