Using the astrolabe to determine height and width, 1745.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving showing the use of an astrolabe in trigonometry to calculate height and width. Illustration from 'Mathematischer Atlas' (Mathematical atlas) by Tobias Mayer (1723-1762) published in Augsburg in 1745. Each plate has descriptive text on either side; some have contemporary hand colouring. Mayer was heavily influenced by Christian von Wolff's work, through which he had taught himself mathematics. The plates duplicate Wolff's choice of subjects - arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, astronomy, geography, chronology, gnomonics, fortification, artillery, civil architecture, optics and mechanics.