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    Ulugh Beg's sextant
    From: Doug Royer
    Date: 2006 Mar 24, 10:35 -0800

    Ok, I’m now reading a very good book dealing with observatories past and present.

    There is an interesting chapter on the Samarkand Observatory in Uzbekistan that Ulugh Beg built and used for astronomical observations in the 1400’s.

    There is a crude description of the FAKHRI SEXTANT used by the Samarkand Observatory that was used to measure the position of thousands of stars to within a few seconds of arc. It has a radius of 120 ft.

    After a quick search on the web today for pictures or a better description of this sextant I came up dry. There are a few pictures of parts of the observatory but none that are identified as the Fakhri sextant.

    There is 1 picture of a section of a structure which has 1 vertical stone wall on each side of a center groove and 2 stone tracks running in a vertical arc between the 2 walls on either side of the center groove.

    I had pictured this “sextant” as kind of matching how Stonehenge is constructed for celestial observations. But now I’m more interested than ever to find what this “sextant” really looks like.

    Frank, because you’re an astronomer, can you help or point me in the proper direction to get a better understanding of what this looks like? Visually or at least a better written description. Or can anyone else help out in this quest?


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