armillary sphere

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armillary sphere

(ar -mă-lair-ee) A device, dating back to antiquity, composed of a set of graduated rings representing circles on the celestial sphere, such as the ecliptic, celestial equator, and colures. The whole globe often revolved about an axis – the polar axis – within horizon and meridian circles. Movable sighting adjustments enabled a star to be observed and its coordinates to be read off the relevant circles.
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An illustration of the type of armillary sphere used by the great scientist Tycho Brahe. Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.

Armillary Sphere

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

An armillary (from Latin word armilla, meaning “bracelet”) sphere is a skeletal sphere consisting of rings that represent the more important celestial circles utilized by astrologers—the ecliptic, the meridian, the horizon, the celestial equator, etc.

References in periodicals archive ?
While the nature of the instrument is as yet unclear, it appears to have been an instrument having the same applications as the armillary sphere.
It is worth mentioning that in his Talkhis al-majisti Muhyi 1-Din al-Maghribi gave a rather complicated method for determining the ecliptical coordinates of fixed stars and planets, instead of using the armillary sphere.
This gives the impression that the accuracy of Yahya's azimuth circle was that of a typical armillary sphere, like the very model used by him.
I got interested in armillary spheres because of my avocational work on the geocentric/heliocentric controversy.
The illustration is a somewhat distorted armillary sphere, showing various power generation components, viewed by two scientists or engineers looking for "More Power" to run various appliances and vehicles in our world.
The armillary sphere is an ancient astronomical device used to illustrate the old geocentric universe (the "world" in the parlance of the day), and is a most fascinating device, both in its historical roots and mechanically.
Although the sky rolls forward unassisted by hydrodynamic propulsion, about 2,000 years ago, during China's Later, or Eastern, Han dynasty (AD 23-220), a renowned and innovative astronomer, Zhang Heng, coupled a water clock with an armillary sphere to drive that instrument at the diurnal rate.
By the era of Zhang (AD 78-139), the armillary was fully developed, and the oldest surviving account of it is Zhang's Illustrated Commentary on the Armillary Sphere.