Celestial globe, Dutch, 1625.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This celestial globe was made by Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) in Amsterdam, Holland. The Dutch were the first to make printed globes in large numbers and introduced the distinctive the four-legged globe stand. The star map used for this globe is based on then recent observations made by the pioneering Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). The celestial globe is a three-dimensional model of the heavens on which the stars are plotted on the outside of a sphere. Originating in the Ancient World, it was probably inspired by the discovery that the Earth was round. The globe could be used to teach and demonstrate various astronomical principles. Until recently most celestial globes were ornate with decorative figures obscuring the stars.