Astronomical Clock Facts

Astronomical Clock Facts
An astronomical clock is a clock designed to relay information such as the position of the moon and sun, major planets, and the zodiac constellations, through the use of dials and mechanisms. It has been theorized by researchers that astronomical clocks are descendants of the technology used to create the ancient Antikythera mechanism. A Chinese horologist of the Song Dynasty created a water-driven astronomical clock in the 11th century, for his clock tower. Muslim astronomers and engineers also designed astronomical clocks for observatories in the early 1200s. Astronomical clocks were built to educate as well as to impress. A revival in the interest in astronomical clocks occurred in the 1700s, and today there are masterpieces still in existence around the world.
Interesting Astronomical Clock Facts:
Astronomical clocks are considered to be some of the most beautiful time pieces ever designed.
The term 'astronomical clock' refers loosely to any clock that displays astronomical information along with the time of day.
The astronomical information displayed on an astronomical clock could include Lunar phases, the position of the moon and sun, the sun's position on the ecliptic and zodiac sign, sidereal time, moon's nodes.
At the center of most astronomical clocks is a sphere or a disc meant to represent the earth.
In the 1300s Richard Wallingford of St. Albans developed astronomical clocks considered to be masterpieces. Giovanni de Donda of Padua also created masterpieces of astronomical clocks during this time. The design descriptions have survived but not the clocks.
In 1092 Su Sung, a Chinese Polymath designed and built a 30 foot high water-driven astronomical clock. There is a full size replica in the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung City, in China.
In 1206 a water-powered astronomical clock was built. It is known as Al-Jazari's castle clock and stood at 108 feet. This design had multiple functions such as displaying the zodiac, displaying lunar and solar orbits, and had 'musicians' that played when moved by levers that were attached to a water wheel.
There have been three different astronomical clocks at the Strasbourg Cathedral since the 1300s. The current clock was built between 1776 and 1856 and is contained in the case that was made for the second clock.
The Prague orloj is one of the most famous astronomical clocks in the world. The central part of the clock was finished in 1410. A skeleton representing death strikes the time. A Nazi fire nearly destroyed the clock during the Second World War, but the efforts of the townspeople saved most of its parts and it was slowly restored by 1948.
In Olomouc in the Czech Republic is an astronomical clock dating to at least 1517 but some believe it was built in 1422. The Nazis opened fire on the clock during World War II and today only a few pieces remain in a museum.
Today it is possible to buy astronomical watches, some designed by famous clockmakers such as Christiaan van der Klaauw.
Astronomical clocks are all different but share common features such as displaying the time of day, the calendar and zodiac, moon's age, hour lines, aspects, and eclipse prediction.

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