The triquetrum (derived from the Latin tri- ["three"] and quetrum ["cornered"]) was the medieval name for an ancient astronomical instrument first described by Ptolemy (c. 90–c. 168) in the Almagest (V. 12). Also known as Parallactic Rulers, it was used for determining altitudes of heavenly bodies. Ptolemy calls it a "parallactic instrument" and seems to have used it to determine the zenith distance and parallax of the Moon. [ self-published source? ]
The triquetrum performed the same function as the quadrant and was devised to overcome the difficulty of graduating arcs and circles. It consisted of a vertical post with a graduated scale and two pivoted arms hinged at the top and bottom, the upper arm carrying sights. The two arms were joined so that their ends could slide. As a person sighted along the upper arm, the lower one changed its angle. By reading the position of the lower rod, in combination with the vertical length, the zenith distance (or, alternatively, the altitude) of a celestial object could be calculated.
The triquetrum was one of the most popular astronomical instruments until the invention of the telescope, it could measure angles with a better precision than the astrolabe.Copernicus describes its use in the fourth book of the De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543) under the heading "Instrumenti parallactici constructio." The instrument was also used by Tycho Brahe in the same century.
Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician. He is considered the founder of trigonometry, but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. Hipparchus was born in Nicaea, Bithynia, and probably died on the island of Rhodes, Greece. He is known to have been a working astronomer between 162 to 127 BC.
Tycho Brahe was a Danish nobleman, astronomer, and writer known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical observations. He was born in the then-Danish peninsula of Scania, which became part of Sweden the century afterwards. Tycho was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer, and alchemist. He has been described as "the first competent mind in modern astronomy to feel ardently the passion for exact empirical facts". Most of his observations were more accurate than the best available observations at the time.
Uraniborg was a Danish astronomical observatory and alchemy laboratory established and operated by Tycho Brahe. It was built c. 1576 – c. 1580 on Hven, an island in the Øresund between Zealand and Scania, Sweden, which was part of Denmark at the time. It was expanded with the underground facility Stjerneborg on an adjacent site.
The Tychonic system is a model of the Universe published by Tycho Brahe in the late 16th century, which combines what he saw as the mathematical benefits of the Copernican system with the philosophical and "physical" benefits of the Ptolemaic system. The model may have been inspired by Valentin Naboth and Paul Wittich, a Silesian mathematician and astronomer. A similar model was implicit in the calculations a century earlier by Nilakantha Somayaji of the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics.
Naked eye, also called bare eye or unaided eye, is the practice of engaging in visual perception unaided by a magnifying or light-collecting optical instrument, such as a telescope or microscope. Vision corrected to normal acuity using corrective lenses is still considered "naked".
The celestial spheres, or celestial orbs, were the fundamental entities of the cosmological models developed by Plato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and others. In these celestial models, the apparent motions of the fixed stars and planets are accounted for by treating them as embedded in rotating spheres made of an aetherial, transparent fifth element (quintessence), like jewels set in orbs. Since it was believed that the fixed stars did not change their positions relative to one another, it was argued that they must be on the surface of a single starry sphere.
An alidade or a turning board is a device that allows one to sight a distant object and use the line of sight to perform a task. This task can be, for example, to draw a line on a plane table in the direction of the object or to measure the angle to the object from some reference point. Angles measured can be horizontal, vertical or in any chosen plane.
Caspar Peucer was a German reformer, physician, and scholar of Sorbian origin.
An altazimuth mount or alt-azimuth mount is a simple two-axis mount for supporting and rotating an instrument about two perpendicular axes – one vertical and the other horizontal. Rotation about the vertical axis varies the azimuth of the pointing direction of the instrument. Rotation about the horizontal axis varies the altitude of the pointing direction.
The term Jacob's staff is used to refer to several things, also known as cross-staff, a ballastella, a fore-staff, a ballestilla, or a balestilha. In its most basic form, a Jacob's staff is a stick or pole with length markings; most staffs are much more complicated than that, and usually contain a number of measurement and stabilization features. The two most frequent uses are:
Michael Maestlin was a German astronomer and mathematician, known for being the mentor of Johannes Kepler. He was a student of Philipp Apian and was known as the teacher who most influenced Kepler. Maestlin was considered to be one of the most significant astronomers between the time of Copernicus and Kepler.
The Copernican Revolution was the paradigm shift from the Ptolemaic model of the heavens, which described the cosmos as having Earth stationary at the center of the universe, to the heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the Solar System. This revolution consisted of two phases; the first being extremely mathematical in nature and the second phase starting in 1610 with the publication of a pamphlet by Galileo. Beginning with the publication of Nicolaus Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, contributions to the “revolution” continued until finally ending with Isaac Newton’s work over a century later.
The meridian circle is an instrument for timing of the passage of stars across the local meridian, an event known as a culmination, while at the same time measuring their angular distance from the nadir. These are special purpose telescopes mounted so as to allow pointing only in the meridian, the great circle through the north point of the horizon, the north celestial pole, the zenith, the south point of the horizon, the south celestial pole, and the nadir. Meridian telescopes rely on the rotation of the sky to bring objects into their field of view and are mounted on a fixed, horizontal, east–west axis.
Copernican heliocentrism is the name given to the astronomical model developed by Nicolaus Copernicus and published in 1543. This model positioned the Sun at the center of the Universe, motionless, with Earth and the other planets orbiting around it in circular paths, modified by epicycles, and at uniform speeds. The Copernican model displaced the geocentric model of Ptolemy that had prevailed for centuries, which had placed Earth at the center of the Universe. Copernican heliocentrism is often regarded as the launching point to modern astronomy and the Scientific Revolution.
The Prutenic Tables, were an ephemeris by the astronomer Erasmus Reinhold published in 1551. They are sometimes called the Prussian Tables after Albert I, Duke of Prussia, who supported Reinhold and financed the printing. Reinhold calculated this new set of astronomical tables based on Nicolaus Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, the epochal exposition of Copernican heliocentrism published in 1543. Throughout his explanatory canons, Reinhold used as his paradigm the position of Saturn at the birth of the Duke, on 17 May 1490. With these tables, Reinhold intended to replace the Alfonsine Tables; he added redundant tables to his new tables so that compilers of almanacs familiar with the older Alfonsine Tables could perform all the steps in an analogous manner.
In astronomy, sextants are devices depicting a sixth of a circle, used primarily for measuring the position of stars. There are two types of astronomical sextants, mural instruments and frame-based instruments.
A mural instrument is an angle measuring instrument mounted on or built into a wall. For astronomical purposes, these walls were oriented so they lie precisely on the meridian. A mural instrument that measured angles from 0 to 90 degrees was called a mural quadrant. They were utilized as astronomical devices in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. Edmond Halley, due to the lack of an assistant and only one vertical wire in his transit, confined himself to the use of a mural quadrant built by George Graham after its erection in 1725 at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Bradley's first observation with that quadrant was made on 15 June 1742.
A quadrant is an instrument that is used to measure angles up to 90°. Different versions of this instrument could be used to calculate various readings, such as longitude, latitude, and time of day. It was originally proposed by Ptolemy as a better kind of astrolabe. Several different variations of the instrument were later produced by medieval Muslim astronomers. Mural quadrants were important astronomical instruments in the 18th century European observatories, establishing a use for positional astronomy.
In astronomy, a transit instrument is a small telescope with extremely precisely graduated mount used for the precise observation of star positions. They were previously widely used in astronomical observatories and naval observatories to measure star positions in order to compile nautical almanacs for use by mariners for celestial navigation, and observe star transits to set extremely accurate clocks which were used to set marine chronometers carried on ships to determine longitude, and as primary time standards before atomic clocks. The instruments can be divided into three groups: meridian, zenith, and universal instruments.
An equatorial ring was an astronomical instrument used in the Hellenistic world to determine the exact moment of the spring and autumn equinoxes. Equatorial rings were placed before the temples in Alexandria, in Rhodes, and perhaps in other places, for calendar purposes.