Celestial globe, 1636.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This printed celestial globe was made by Matthaus Greuter (1566-1638) in Rome, Italy. 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, and was often used to teach and demonstrate various astronomical principles. Until recently most celestial globes were ornate with decorative figures obscuring the stars. The star map used for this globe was based on new observations made by the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) at Uraniburg Observatory towards the end of the 16th century. The globe can be adjusted and rotated on its triangular stand.