Shortcut Navigation:

In The Sky

In the Sky

  • Exhibition Text

    • Practical measurement and astrology often followed twin paths. The astrolabe served to find the positions of stars, Sun or Moon, the time of day, latitude at sea and also for astrological calculations. The invention of the telescope allowed more precise observations using instruments such as the transit, linking movements of stars across the meridian to calculations of exact time.

      Show more

In This Section


Astrolabe (Germany)

Suspending an astrolabe by the ring at the top, the observer used the adjustable sighting rule to establish the position of a celestial body, and the central astronomical markings for calculations.

Transit Instrument

Transit Instrument

Transit instruments like this one, with the telescope suspended to swing vertically, were designed for observing stars as they cross the observer’s meridian, a guide to deriving the exact time.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am-5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!