naturewn.com

Trending Topics research fish climate change NASA animal behavior

Rare 16th Century Astronomical Device Returned After Years Spent Missing

  • Text Size - +
  • Print
  • E-mail
Aug 20, 2013 04:29 PM EDT
Astrolabe
Astrolabes played a pivotal role in the field of astronomy starting with the ancient Greeks up until the mid-17th century. The one pictured here, currently on display at the Paris Naval Museum, originated from Morocco during the 16th century. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

After more than a decade spent missing, a rare 16th century device called an astrolabe is being returned to the Swedish museum it was stolen from.

Dating back to 1590, the intricate object was stolen in 1999 as part of a series of thefts that took place at Skokloster Castle, located north of Stockholm.

The object is now being turned in by an unnamed Italian collector after discovering it was listed as missing. How it ended up in the collector's hands is not entirely clear though, says Bengt Kylsberg, the astrolabe's rightful owner, he is "just happy to get the piece back" and does not plan on pressing charges, according to the Associated Press.

Share This Story

The object is being personally handed over by Christopher Marinello, the lawyer at London's Art Loss Register credited with finding it.

"Usually I'm recovering stolen paintings by Matisse or Picasso -- and those are a lot sexier," he told Sweden's The Local. Though, he admitted, the object is "really fascinating and so ornate. It's amazing to think that you can still use it to tell time or to write an astrological map of the stars."

Astrolabes date back to ancient Greece and were used as late as 1650, at which point they were replaced by more specialized instruments. Among the device's many abilities is that of determining the time of sunrise and sunset as well as locating celestial bodies.

"Before telescopes, the astrolabe was the way you could say: 'What time does the sun rise? When will it set?'" German scholar Petra Schmidl of Bonn University told the AP, adding that while modern clocks are highly accurate, they leave one's understanding of time "stripped from its astronomical origins."

In all, fewer than 2,000 astrolabes survive today.

© 2014 NatureWorldNews.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
  • Print
  • E-mail

Join the Conversation

Let's Connect

arrow
Email Newsletter
© Copyright 2014 Nature World News. All Rights Reserved.
About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms&Conditions
Real Time Analytics