Celestial Globe


  The Celestial Globe was completed in 1673, the 12th year of the Kangxi Emperor’s reign in the Qing Dynasty. In ancient China, there was a type of instrument called “Hun Xiang” which was used to map the movement of celestial spheres. The first recorded “Hun Xiang” was created by Zhang Heng during the Han Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, Ferdinand Verbiest designed a “Hun Xiang” which was called “The Celestial Globe” and it was regarded as the most important of all the astrological instruments. The celestial globe in the Beijing Ancient Observatory is the last remaining one in China. It measures six feet in diameter, and on it are carved 1888 stars. The stars are indicated by their relative brightness. Its main body circles around a fixed axis so as to recreate the diurnal motion of celestial bodies. The Equator, the Milky Way, Chinese constellations and some western constellations in the southern sky are set onto the globe. The Celestial Globe was used to depict the stars and Chinese constellations of the night sky and to record their positions.


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