Archaic Astronomical Instruments

  • Dirk L. Couprie
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 374)


The oldest astronomical instrument is the naked eye, with which the courses of the celestial objects were observed. Since time immemorial, people have noticed that the celestial bodies rise at the eastern horizon and set at the western horizon. They have also noticed that some stars never set and that all stars circle around a fixed point in the northern sky (at least on the northern hemisphere, where the oldest civilizations were. See Fig. 2.1). Already in ancient times, this point was conceived of as the end of the celestial axis. More on the celestial axis in Chap. 5.


Celestial Body Solar Eclipse Plumb Line Angular Diameter Summer Solstice 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk L. Couprie
    • 1
  1. 1.MaastrichtNetherlands

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