ARMILLARY SPHERE BY CASPAR VOPEL, COLOGNE, 1549
SIGNED "CASPAR VOPELI MATHEMA PROF COLONIAE AGRIPPINAE SPHAERAM HANC FACIEBAT 1549."
A 4 inch (98 mm) diameter brass armillary sphere with central globe in wood, globe marked with circles for the tropics, equator, and ecliptic. Sphere consisting of thin brass bands with stamped inscriptions, solstitial & equinoctial colures (labelled COLVRVS SOLSTICIORVM and COLVRVS AEQUINOCTIORVM) meeting at the poles, solsticial stamped ZONA FRIGIDA near each pole, ZONA TEMPERATA between the poles and near the tropics, and between the tropics ZONA TORRIDA (winter half) and ANTOECI (summer half), equinoctial colures stamped CIRCVMVM PERISCII near each pole, HETEROSCII ALTERVM between each pole and tropics, and AMPH/ISCII twice between the tropics. Five parallel bands running perpendicular to colures representing the Arctic and Antarctic circles (stamped CIRCVLVS ARCTICVS and CIRCVLVS ANTARCTIVS), the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (stamped TROPICVS CANCRI and TROPICVS CAPRICORNI), and the equator (divided into 12 equal parts with the signs of the Zodiac named in Latin, and divided every 1°). Graduated ecliptic band tangential to the tropics (divided into 12 equal parts of 30° for each sign of the Zodiac, each section stamped with the Latin name and symbol of each sign, and embellished with stars and the figurative representation of each constellation, with three stars marked SPICA, ANTARES, and VRNA). Three rotating bands attached to the axis of the ecliptic, representing the orbit of Saturn (labelled SATVRNI SPHAERA PHOENON CELI SIGNIFERUM PERAGIT IN ANNIS 29 DIEBUS 162 ET HORIS 12......), the orbit of the Sun (labelled SOLIS SPHAERA. HELIOS TOTVM PERAGRAT ZODIACVM IN 365 DIEBVS...) and the orbit of the Moon (labelled PRIMA DEVM TERRAS GLACIALI SYDERE CIRCVM LVNA MEAT...)
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Exhibited: La Mesure du Temps dans les Collections Belges
(Exhibition catalogue, Société Générale de Banque, Brussels, 1984), no. 3, p. 31
There are only 10 recorded examples of Vopel's armillary spheres; London, Science Museum (1541); Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution (1541); Private Collection (1542); Copenhagen, National Museum (1543); Greenwich, National Maritime Museum (1543); Washington, D.C., Library of Congress (1543); Salzburg, Städt Museum (1544); Munich, Deutsches Museum (1545) ; London, Science Museum (1552)
Kugel, Alexis. Spheres. The Art of the Celestial Mechanic. 2002, A3.