The astrolabe was an instrument used by the astronomers and navigators to measure the local time, distance and also the distance of stars and plants. One can also call it an elaborate inclinometer. The word astrolabe means ‘the one that catches the heavenly bodies’.
This instrument was used in the Islamic golden age, classical antiquity, medieval Europe and also in the Renaissance period. Its importance increased, due to the need to measure latitude on land and calm seas. The earliest astrolabe was invented during Hellenistic civilization, in the medieval period the Islamic world developed the astrolabe, as an aid for navigating. In the mid of the 15th century, this instrument was adopted by mariners and was used for celestial navigation.
The astrolabes were used on a large scale and due to this popularity, this ancient instrument appeared on coins, stamps and banknotes. The bank of Iran illustrated this genius invention of ancient time on the obverse side of the above shown 250 dinar banknote.
Image courtesy: Mintage World