Definition of armillary sphere in US English:

armillary sphere


  • A model of the celestial globe constructed from rings and hoops representing the equator, the tropics, and other celestial circles, and able to revolve on its axis.

    • ‘But, by means of suitable constructions within the armillary sphere, they were able to reduce many of their problems to comparison of similar right-angled plane triangles.’
    • ‘The armillary sphere is a reproduction of a nineteenth-century European original in the museum.’
    • ‘There was also a marble sextant, a triquetram and an armillary sphere.’
    • ‘It housed compasses, surveying tools, astrolabes, and armillary spheres that evoked the world of Copernicus and Tartaglia.’
    • ‘Zhang appears to have been the first person in China to construct an equatorial armillary sphere.’
    • ‘All this was only possible with good observations and the reason that they were good is that Luoxia Hong made an equatorial armillary sphere to make observations for his new calendar.’
    • ‘In 1610 he had to improvise an armillary sphere, using the metal hoops of an old barrel.’
    • ‘He now began to construct astronomical instruments, including water clocks for accurate timing and armillary spheres which represent the celestial globe.’
    • ‘He is also said to have constructed a armillary sphere, a water clock, and a bronze gnomon, a pointer whose shadow gives the time of mid-day.’
    • ‘The clock is a tower topped by an armillary sphere and celestial globe of mechanical and hydraulic engineering, about thirty-five feet high.’
    • ‘She is seated on a globe in the form of an armillary sphere.’
    • ‘Pre-industrial peoples generally considered their habitation as part of a total system that was essentially closed, much like images of the earth in an armillary sphere.’
    • ‘Similarly, in homage to China's astronomical achievements, an armillary sphere stands in the middle of the lobby of the Purple Mountain Hotel and has become its emblem.’
    • ‘The bell, the armillary sphere, the hourglass, the finely crafted chairs, the liturgical implements, the vestments, and so on, certainly were based on close examination of the best examples of contemporary manufacture.’
    • ‘Fred, trying to look dignified in a three-piece suit, presides over an ultra-modern psychiatric laboratory that includes what is quite possibly the only art deco armillary sphere in the world.’


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin armillaris ‘relating to an armilla’, an astronomical instrument consisting of a hoop fixed in the plane of the equator (sometimes crossed by one in the plane of the meridian), used by the ancient astronomers to show the recurrence of equinoxes and solstices; from Latin armilla ‘bracelet’.


armillary sphere

/ˌärməˌlerē ˈsfir/