Astronomical clocks literally have something extraordinary. Unlike common run-of-the-mill clocks, they are loaded with very unique clockwork, mechanisms and special dials which display the astronomical details like zodiacal constellations, positions of the moon and son, and the position of major planets, along with the time of the day. Several astronomical clocks are remarkable and developed across the world over the centuries.
Let’s have a look
10. Gros Horloge
This astronomical clock is the pride of Rouen people in France. It is located halfway between the Rouen Cathedral and the Place du Vieux Marche. Built in 1527, it can be spotted in Renaissance arch. The history of its construction dates back to 16th century and has been functioning since 1389. The diameter of the clock dial is 2.5 meters. The clock has lamb at its edge and it points well at the hour. Over the face of the clock, one can spot the phases of the moon in the Oculus, in the orb of around 30cm of diameter. It rotates in 29 days. It also has decked single handedly using allegoric characters at the base of dial, one for every day.
9. Horologium Mirabile Lundense
It is an astronomical clock of 15th century located in Lund Cathedral of Sweden. Built in Circa 1380, it kept stored since 1837 and restored in the year 1923. On the top, the two knights are marking the hours. It is an astronomical clock on the lower board and a calendar on the lower board. The centre of the clock features the Saint Lawrence and sides have Four Evangelists.
8. Wells Cathedral Clock
Located in England, the Wells Central features a clock which might give a glimpse to the pre-Copernicus universe as well. The moon and the sun revolve across the stable earth in this cloth, as displayed by a ball in its center. The dial shows a universe model. The sun rotates in a circle off the backdrop of stars, as displayed from I to XII in Roman numerals and from I to XII again to represent the time. In the corners, there are four angels holding the four cardinal winds and a small star on the ring which indicate the minutes. With a pointer, the inner circle indicates and shows the condition of the moon. It still operates at the London Science Museum in original condition. One can get the geocentric glimpse of the whole universe with the Wells Cathedral Clock.
7. Zytglogge Tower Clock
In Berne Switzerland, the Zytglogge Tower clock dates back to 13th century. The tower structure belongs to the medieval period. It features two clock faces having the significant astronomical clock of 15th century. It has the dial in the form of astrolabe and the planishpere is categorized into three zones showing the sky in various hours – deep blue sky at dawn, black night sky, and light blue day sky. It features Julian calendar dial at the clock. But the clock doesn’t support leap days. So, it is required to manually set the leap year on February 29.
6. Prague Orloj
Prague Orloj is an astronomical clock located in Prague, the Czech Republic capital. It is beautifully mounted Old Town Square on the south of Old Town Hall. It works on the three main components. The first part has the astronomical dial which represents the positions of the Moon and the Sun and elaborates several other details in astronomy. The second component is the hourly show of Apostles known as “The Walk of the Apostles”, and other figures which include the figure of Death (using a skeleton) which strikes the time. Finally, it contains a calendar dial which is third dial that contains medallions which represent the month. The legends had it that the city will be affected when the clock is neglected.
5. Strasbourg Astronomical Clock
Built from 1838 to 1843, the Strasbourg Astronomical Clock was built to replace the clock in 16th century which stopped working in 1788. It is positioned well at Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Strasbourg, France and it has first perpetual mechanical machine, the Gregorian Computus, which is a planetary display which showcases the original positions of moon, sun and eclipses. This age-old invention features the awe-inspiring carvings of scientists, athletes, farmers, workers and other proletariat members.
4. Rostock Astronomical Clock
Located in St. Mary’s Church, Rostock, Germany, the Rostock Astronomical Clock was built in the year 1472. It has Apostle-go-round on the top which is showing apostles crossing before Jesus and Judas shut out. There is a clock in the middle which shows months, daily time, zodiac and the phases of the moon. It has a calendar at the bottom which is valid till 2017. The medieval clock works still with original clockworks and it is the one of its kind.
3. Olomouc Astronomical Clock
This astronomical clock is yet another rare and well known ancestral wonder which is located in Czech Republic, Olomouc. It is a great epitome of a heliocentric astronomical clock. It features a lower dial representing the movement of earth and indicating the date, time and phase of the moon. The upper part of the clock consists of sun, star etc. off the zodiac background. The period of construction is supposed to be from 1422 to 1517. It also represents the Ride of the Kings and the Procession of Maidens festivals and 12 seasons.
2. Besançon Cathedral Astronomical Clock
Located in Besançon Cathedral, France, this astronomical clock was constructed and stored in 1860 and replaced the Bernardin’s clock with more work for around three years. It is built to show how the Resurrection of Christ led to the existence of mankind. The mechanism of the clock has 21 automated figures and 30000 parts, and animated pictures. It is one of the most remarkable astronomical clocks in the world.
1. Torrazzo of Cremona Clock
Located in Lombardy, Italy, the Torazzo is the well known bell tower at the Cathedral of Cremona. This remarkable astronomical clock is built in its fourth century which is built in 1583-1588. It is the world’s largest astronomical clock. The exterior represents the sky and it has been repainted again and again. It features the movement of the sun and the moon and zodiac constellations.
Along with these astronomical clocks, there are several other remarkable astronomical clocks built in the world, such as Zimmer Tower clock in Lier, Belgium, the Clock on Taqi ad-Din Observatory in Istanbul, and St. Mark’s Clock on Venice’s Piazza San Marco. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, India is another popular construction which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site with some significant astronomical instruments.