Astrolabe (back)

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possibly made in Lahore, India

Postcard of Astrolabe (back).
© National Museums Scotland

Astrolabe (back)

An astrolabe is an instrument used by early astronomers to measure the altitude of stars and planets and also as a navigational aid. This brass example was made in India in the 17th century, possibly by Diya ad-din, an instrument maker based in Lahore.

The back of the astrolabe includes a sine and cosine quadrant and a graph of the meridian altitude of the sun throughout the year for latitudes 18 and 20 degrees.

Astrolabe construction in the Middle East has a longer and more continuous history than in Europe. The earliest instruments which survive are from the 9th century and were made by Syro-Egyptian astrolabists working in Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo.

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Online ID: 000-190-001-043-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1962.13
Date: 17th century
Material: Brass
Dimensions: 117.00 mm D
What: Astrolabe
Subject: 3. ASTRONOMY, Astrolabes (Departmental Classification)
Who: Diya ad-din (Maker)
Sir John Findlay Collection
Pakistan, Punjab, Lahore
Description: Brass astrolabe, with five plates with projections for latitudes, a plate of horizons, and a tablet of ecliptical coordinates, probably by Diya ad-din, Lahore, 17th century
  • Computer Checklist of Astrolabes No 89 
  • Gunther, R.T., The Astrolabes of the World. London: 1932. pp 217-8, no 89 
  • The Sir John Findlay Collection; an important collection of scientific instruments (2 parts) / Sotheby & Co., London, 1961-1962 
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