Astrolabium von Erasmus Habermel

Deutsches Museum


The Dutch design astrolabe was made in 1588 by Erasmus Habermel (c. 1574-1606), who had been an instrument maker at the Prague court of the Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II since 1593. It also comes from its art chamber.

It was probably commissioned by Vespasiano Gonzaga (1531-1591), Duke of Sabbionetta and Trajetto, Captain General and Viceroy of Navarre and Valencia. This is supported by his coat of arms, which is engraved on the astrolabe’s suspension, the so-called throne. Sabbionetta lies south of Mantua, so the tympanum takes inset plates with projections for 45° and 47° north latitude. The compass rose is inscribed in Italian-Dutch, the other inscriptions are in Latin. The weave of the so-called rete ("network"), which connects the fixed stars, depicts a tulip motif in the middle of the ecliptic circle. Its calyx opens into an oval shape with the star pointer for Lucida lyrae (marked αLyr) in the centre. The names of 47 stars and their magnitudes 1 to 3 are engraved. (Source: Bauer 2004)

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