Astrolabe Links and References

[Czech 20 Crown coin]The amount of material about astrolabes on the web has grown significantly in the last few years. Some of the best sites are listed below. It is likely that anyone with an interest in astrolabes is also interested in the history of science, history of time keeping and horology, sundials, medieval science and related topics. The links and references below are just a start. Please send any links you think would be of interest for inclusion here. I have not had a lot of luck with the various search engines but perhaps you will have better success and recommend good links.

Comments on the quality and relevance of the various references are the author's alone.  Please let us know if you find a link that no longer works and we will try to update it.

The picture is a 20 koruna (crown) coin from the Czech Republic (thanks to Vit Planocka). To my knowledge, this is the only coin in circulation that features an astrolabe.



Following are some of the essential sources and references about astrolabes and their history. Most of them include an extensive bibliography that will point to many other sources. Many informative articles in the scholarly press are not listed but are noted in the bibliographies. Journals that often have astrolabe articles are History of Astronomy, Annals of Science and Isis. Of particular interest to students of Islamic science are the works of Dr. David A. King.

Specific citations are welcome. If you know of a good reference, please send me a note for inclusion.

This new 422 page book contains the key papers on European astrolabes authored by Prof. King over a long and distinguished career.  It is a primary source for historians and a "must have" for any student of astrolabes or Medieval astronomy.  This volume can be read and enjoyed by anyone with an interest in astrolabes, but some background in both astrolabes and Medieval cosmology would be useful.  It contains a list of all known medieval European astrolabes, arranged chronologically by region. As with all of Prof. King's books, it will send you on many pleasant side trips for historical details.  It is available from

Astrolabe Reproductions

The Obscuriosity Shop offers high quality reproductions of astrolabes, sundials and navigational tools.  In their words, historical curiosities to inspire, educate and amuse.  I found them to be very helpful and friendly.