Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Armillary Sphere: The Marriage Of Science And Art

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You may have seen an armillary sphere before. At its heart there is something recognizable - the Earth. Around it is a bewildering array of rings, centered on our planet. All have distinct scientific functions yet the armillary sphere is also a profoundly beautiful object: art and science married in harmony.

Although the armillary sphere was superseded in the seventeenth century by the European telescope, surviving examples remain objects of fascination and wonder. The first question, of course, is what does it do? The second is invariably who invented it?

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