Evidence for a new interpretation of the Berlin Celestial Globe fragment SK1050A

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Kuehne, Ulrich J.
preprint description
Since Thiele (1898) the fragment SK1050A in the Neue Museum in Berlin has been interpreted as being part of an ancient vessel garnished with arbitrary astronomical ornaments. In this paper evidence is collected that the fragment was in fact part of a sophisticated astronomical instrument: (1) Structures of the fragment indicate that the celestial globe was fitted with a water-clock similar to the design by Ctesibius and that this water-clock propelled an astronomical model of the universe. (2) Iconographic parallels between SK1050A and the Atlas Farnese suggest that the latter was intended to be a replica of the Berlin celestial globe. (3) The arrangement of the ‘star-markings’ on SK1050A might be explained as geometrical constructions to establish spherical coordinate transformations. In consequence, SK1050A appears to be the product of a profound astronomer while some evidence beyond that prompts the hypothesis that the fragment is from the celestial globe of Archimedes.