I love astrolabes. I have already made two (though I lost the first one) and own a beautiful brass one that was a gift of some wonderful friends. They are fascinating, beautiful instruments.
I am planning to begin making some to enter into A&S competitions for the SCA. So the first step is to find some primary sources, some astrolabes that I would like to emulate.
So, here are two examples that I really like.
- Manuscript Astrolabe, by Hans Herghamer, 1492
This is housed at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. It was found tucked in the cover of a copy of Astrolabium by Johannes Angelus, which was a book of tables of astronomical calculations and horoscope examples. I like to think the owner was into astrology, and made his own astrolabe to see what the current state of the sky was and the book as a reference for what that meant. I’m not sure if I’m going to try and color the one I make yet, but this is really pretty, but still simple, so I may give it a try.
2. Beinecke MS 558
This manuscript is a collection of various manuscripts, put together in the 16th century. It includes info about the astrolabe, horoscopes, and a map of England. I like how this looks 3D, and includes something like a navicula under the rete. It’s an odd thing to include here, since it would be awkward to actually hold the book up and use it to site a star. Anyway, this is probably the level of instrument I would be reproducing.
I would like also to follow a period set of instructions, but so far the books I’ve found have not been in English, or are incredibly expensive. I think the one I would prefer would be Hartmann’s Praktica, if I can find it at a good price.