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Munster clock. Astronomy and thought

Munster clock. Astronomy and thought

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St. Paul's Cathedral in the city of Munster, in Germany, houses a huge astronomical clock with numerous functions. The original clock was built in 1408, but the iconoclastic movement Beeldenstorm, which prevailed in Europe in the 16th century, ended it in 1534.

A few years later, in 1540, it was rebuilt. There were only three years left for Copernicus to see the light. Even so, the movement of the planets in the clock, the eccentric flat astrolabe type and other multiple functions demonstrate a great maturity in the field of mathematical astronomy.

Munster's clock is divided into 24 hours, and runs counterclockwise, indicating hours and minutes simultaneously. The clock faces south, and the handles follow the current course of the Sun. Each red and white line in the circle of Roman numerals represents four minutes. There are five minor handles that indicate the position of the planets Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury, and a silver ball representing the phases of the Moon.

In 1582 the calendar of the Munster clock was renewed to adapt it to the new Gregorian. The curious automaton figures on its sides, such as Cronos or Death, were added in 1696. During World War II, Munster's clock was dismantled to protect it from bombing, and since 1951 it has not stopped working .

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