The Astrolabe: A Mechanism for Reading the Stars

  • B. AteriniEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 37)


The astrolabe is one of the most interesting astronomical instruments of the past, a mixture of science and art that represents the projection of the celestial sphere on the level of the equator. In essence, it responds to the practical need to represent the armillary sphere on a plane, in order to obtain a more comfortable instrument to handle and above all portable. The stars, and the position assumed by the Sun during the year, are shown on a disk that could be rotated and positioned to represent the sky in a given moment. All this was possible thanks to the stereographic projection.


Astrolabe Stereographic projection Measuring instruments Projective geometry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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