St. John’s College receives historic astronomy tool

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local college is giving people a one-of-a-kind glimpse into how early astronomers learned about our universe.

Saint John’s College in Santa Fe is unveiling a scientific instrument called the “armillary sphere.” It was invented by astronomer Tycho Brahe in the 16th century — before the telescope — to measure positions of planets and stars.

Saint John’s College now has the only replica in the world that functions according to the original specifications, which students will actually get to use.

“If we go back and see how in the past, very brilliant scientists were confronting new questions, we may be able to get hints about how we can think differently,” retired tutor Bill Donahue said.

Saint John’s Class of 2004 commissioned the project, spending 15 years raising the money to design and build the sphere. The official unveiling took place last Friday night.

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