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armillary sphere

noun, Astronomy
1.
an ancient instrument consisting of an arrangement of rings, all of which are circles of the same sphere, used to show the relative positions of the celestial equator, ecliptic, and other circles on the celestial sphere.
Origin
1550-1560
1550-60
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for armillary sphere

armillary sphere

noun
1.
a model of the celestial sphere consisting of rings representing the relative positions of the celestial equator, ecliptic, etc, used by early astronomers for determining the positions of stars
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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armillary sphere in Science
armillary sphere
  (är'mə-lěr'ē, är-mĭl'ə-rē)   
An early astronomical device made of fixed and movable rings representing circles of the celestial sphere, such as the ecliptic and the celestial equator. It was used as early as the third century BCE as both a teaching instrument and an observational tool.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for armillary sphere

early astronomical device for representing the great circles of the heavens, including in the most elaborate instruments the horizon, meridian, Equator, tropics, polar circles, and an ecliptic hoop. The sphere is a skeleton celestial globe, with circles divided into degrees for angular measurement. In the 17th and 18th centuries such models-either suspended, rested on a stand, or affixed to a handle-were used to show the difference between the Ptolemaic theory of a central Earth and the Copernican theory of a central Sun.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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