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Make a simple astrolabe to measure the altitude of objects in the sky

Suitable For

Grade 8



Time Required




What’s it about?

An ‘astrolabe’ is a device used for measuring altitude, including the height of objects in the sky. The name has its origins from the Greek words ‘astron’ and ‘lambanien’ meaning ‘the one who catches the heavenly bodies’. Creating your own astrolabe can be quick and easy, as you will see in the following science experiment:

Topics covered


What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment, you used your own astrolabe to record the altitude of the Sun over time. The Sun’s altitude changes throughout the year. In the spring, the altitude of the Sun increases, whereas in the fall, you should notice a decrease. The cause of the change in altitude or ‘location of the Sun’ is the tilt of the Earth’s axis, which causes the Earth to face the Sun at an angle of 23 degrees. The location where the Earth is positioned in its orbit around the Sun, will determine both the altitude of the Sun at any given point in time and the length of the day. Because the Earth’s location around the Sun is continuously changing, so will the Sun’s position in the sky.

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