How to use an astrolabe for astrology

How to Use an Astrolabe | Sciencing

Think of it as 18th century "bling": In the 16th and 17th centuries, the possession of an astrolabe lent an element of prestige and intelligence to the owner. Now it's just a hunk of brass that no one knows how to use. The mathematical principles behind its use are fairly complex. Basically it's a mechanical device for predicting the movement of celestial bodies usually the moon, sun, planets, and principal stars. It was used in the Arab world in may ways.

For one, to determine the times of sunset and sunrise as well as lunar cycles. It could also be used for navigation to determine ones approxiamate longitude and latitude. The North African Moors brought the astrolabe to Europe and it was quickly made popular for navigation and celestial mechanics. As an instrument of astrology it was used extensively by Sufis Islamic mystics; especially in the Persian world to create astrological maps based on events. This small one is not as astrological astrolabe but rather an astronomical one.

Astrological astrolabes have detailed astrological charts and maps on the inside and back of the mater. This one has mathematical tables instead. This file contains additional information such as Exif metadata which may have been added by the digital camera, scanner, or software program used to create or digitize it.


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How to make an astrolabe (quadrant)

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The Astrolabe: Using the Stars for Navigation and Timekeeping

Description Astrolabe, 18th century, disassembled. Most astrological astrolabes are Persian Iran in origen. Date 24 February , Source astrolabe parts Author Evan from paris, france. Its many uses included locating and predicting th. You cannot overwrite this file. The following page uses this file: Astrolabe.


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  4. Imagine a device that can do everything: Give you the time, your location, your horoscope, and even help you make decisions—all with the swipe of a hand. Like the smartphone, the astrolabe came into being during times of economic prosperity—in that case, likely during the height of the Roman Empire—and remained popular through the 18th century.

    He first became interested in astrolabes when a student presented one to him in his office years ago, offering to sell this family treasure in order to help fund a medical clinic back home in Afghanistan. When the student offered to sell it, Gingerich obliged, with plans to use it as a teaching tool. This got me going on them.


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    While devices from different regions and time periods could vary widely—depending on their intended purpose and who made them, they could be as small as a coffee saucer or as large as a trash can lid, and made out of anything from wood to brass—they shared a similar structure. Over that, a straight rule pivots around to line up with time measurements along the edge of the mater. And on the back of the whole thing, a pivotable siting device helps find the altitude of a star—often the starting point of a calculation.

    And though they could have been made out of a variety of materials, the majority that remain intact today are made of brass, very ornate, and are often associated with the educated elite, says Gingerich.

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    That job took many forms. Astrolabes had blended uses, from scientific to what we would today consider spiritual. They have a strong history in Islam as a tool to find both the direction of prayer toward Mecca—known as the Qibla—as well as the five times of prayer required throughout the day, as stated in the Quran.

    They later became popular amongst Europeans during the Middle Ages as an astrological tool to make decisions ranging from when to go to battle to how to go about bank dealings. These decisions were often based on the zodiac that was rising at the time of your birth, says Jones. But there is strong evidence that the astrolabe got its start around the time of Claudius Ptolemy, a famous Greek astronomer who lived in the Roman Empire during the 2nd century AD.

    Ptolemy left records suggesting he used a three-dimensional instrument similar to the astrolabe to make calculations, says Jones. The mere fact that Ptolemy was doing this type of advanced work was possible largely thanks to the prosperity of the Roman Empire at the time, Jones says. With this reasoning, Jones places the invention of the astrolabe either during the time of Ptolemy or during the 4th or 5th century, after the hard times that the Roman Empire faced during the 3rd century.

    In fact, Huth says that astronomy and astrology developed hand-in-hand during this time. The astrolabe also made its ways into other ancillary fields of science, including meteorology. An astrolabe would have been amongst the suite of tools that Christopher Columbus would have used when exploring the New World, for example, along with a quadrant and various tables and almanacs with pertinent information.

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    Portuguese explorers who were accustomed to using the North Star, or Polaris, to find their way also used this tool when they dipped close enough to the equator that Polaris was no longer visible. And so by the 17th and 18th centuries, the astrolabe began to fall out of fashion. But in the past 20 years, we seem to have revived the concept of the astrolabe in the form of the smartphone, says Devoy.

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