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Chinese celestial sphere, 17th century

Chinese celestial sphere, 17th century

C009/8295

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59.9 MB (10.5 MB compressed)

5504 x 3807 pixels

46.5 x 32.3 cm ⏐ 18.3 x 12.7 in (300dpi)

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Chinese celestial sphere. This celestial sphere was made in bronze and was 2.1 metres in diameter. It was constructed in 1674 by the Flemish Jesuit missionary Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688). Verbiest was astronomer and mathematician to the Chinese court, helping to rebuild the Beijing Observatory with modern instruments (such as this one), and becoming its director. A celestial sphere is used to show the location of the stars and other astronomical objects in the night sky. Artwork from the third volume (first period of 1889) of the French popular science weekly 'La Science Illustree'.

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