Astrolabes

The astrolabe was the most important astronomical calculating device before the invention of digital computers and was the most important astronomical observational device before the invention of the telescope. The first work of science education written in a language that may be called English (middle English, actually) was Geoffrey Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe. Chaucer, who today is known principally for writing the Canterbury tales, wrote the Treatise on the Astrolabe for his ten year old son Lewis in 1387. This is some of what Chaucer had to say about the astrolabe.
Little Lewis my son, I have perceived by certain evidences your ability to learn sciences concerning numbers and proportions. I have also considered your anxious and special request to learn the Treatise of the Astrolabe. Then forasmuch as a philosopher has said, `he wrappeth him in his friend, who accedes to the rightful prayers of his friend,' therefore have I given you an astrolabe for our horizon, constructed for the latitude of Oxford. And with this little treatise, I propose to teach you some conclusions pertaining to the same instrument. I say some conclusions, for three reasons. The first is this: you can be sure that all the conclusions that have been found, or possibly might be found in so noble an instrument as an astrolabe, are not known perfectly to any mortal man in this region, as I suppose.
Come to the planetarium and learn about the wondrous device on which Chaucer heaped such praise.  Astrolabes will be passes out to experiment with during the show.  I will need them back at the end of the show.  If you want to buy an astrolabe our college bookstore sells Janus astrolabes  just like my AS101 students buy.

Power point presentation used on 11-19-2005 show.

During the 19 November 2005 "Astrolabe" show one of the visitors in the audience told me about the Antikythera.   We googled it after the show and found many facinated references.  On Friday, May 28, 2010 I went to "The Antikythera Mechanism" lecture at the GSFC.  More reasearch has been done on this interesting astronomcal calendar computer see http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/ .

Astrolabe.org I am the domain owner, my friend did almost all of the work before he died. I will eventually leave most of this site alone, but when I get a chance to breath, I will add some more content, this time my own.
The mathematics behind astrolabes is the same as the mathematics behind fermion, spin 1/2 particles.  I good piece of mathematics has many uses.  This object has 4 pi, 720 degrees symmetry not just 2 pi, 360 degree symmetry.
Some shows on Astrolabes by me.

Wheeler Astrolabe scans, this astrolabe was made in Tuse, Persia more than 500 years ago so it predates the United States of America.

Astrolabe Project com

Montgomery College's Planetarium home page

Web page by Dr. Harold Alden Williams.
Last changed Saturday, 9:04A.M. April 1, 2018.