Celestial sphere, 1488.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm

Celestial sphere, 1488.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Woodcut of Earth showing the poles and the circles of celestial latitude: the Arctic and Antarctic circles, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and the equator. It also shows the ecliptic, the path the constellations take across the sky. Illustration from 'Compilatio...de astrorum scientia' (Compilation of knowledge of stars) by Leopoldus, Duke of Austria, published in Augsburg in 1489. Leopoldus was an Austrian astronomer who lived in the middle or second half of the thirteenth century. The 'Compilatio' was a collection of Latin translations from Arabic astronomical works and was divided into ten books. It is one of the earliest astronomical treatises in a common language and is embellished with numerous woodcuts of horoscopes, constellations and planets.

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