Armillary sphere

An armillary sphere (variations are known as spherical astrolabe, armilla, or armil) is a model of objects in the sky (on the celestial sphere), consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centered on Earth or the Sun, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features, such as the ecliptic. As such, it differs from a celestial globe, which is a smooth sphere whose principal purpose is to map the constellations. It was invented separately first in ancient China during the 4th century BC and ancient Greece during the 3rd century BC, with later uses in the Islamic world and Medieval Europe.

Jost Bürgi and Antonius Eisenhoit: Armillary sphere with astronomical clock, made in 1585 in Kassel, now at Nordiska Museet in Stockholm

With the Earth as center, an armillary sphere is known as Ptolemaic. With the Sun as center, it is known as Copernican.[1]

The flag of Portugal features an armillary sphere. The armillary sphere is also featured in Portuguese heraldry, associated with the Portuguese discoveries during the Age of Exploration. Manuel I of Portugal, for example, took it as one of his symbols where it appeared on his standard, and on early Chinese export ceramics made for the Portuguese court. In the flag of the Empire of Brazil, the armillary sphere is also featured.

The Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 3 features a large armillary sphere metal sculpture as an exhibit of Chinese inventions for international and domestic visitors.

Chinese Armillary sphere at Beijing Capital International Airport 紫薇辰恆 Ziwei Chenheng Aug-2010

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Armillary sphere, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.