Engraving the Worlds only working Tycho Brahe Sphere

11th November 2019 - Fine Cut
Engraving the Worlds only working Tycho Brahe Sphere

Fine Cut was approached by David Harber Ltd to be part of a huge project - the worlds only working Tycho Brahe Equatorial Armillary Sphere. First created over 400 years ago by Tycho Brahe and celebrated as the most accurate instrument of its kind before the telescope was invented, its use - to measure the movements of stars and planets.

The piece was commissioned by St John's College a liberal arts college in Santa Fe, working alongside faculty members from the college and British historians, David Harber was able to piece together this historic design from Tycho Brahe's elaborate writings and illustrations - creating the only suctioning sphere of its kind in the world. 

“This is a phenomenal project and, I hope, the start of many, many hours of star-gazing for the students of St John’s College. Sadly a fire destroyed the last of Tycho Brahe’s instruments in 1728, so it was only with the help of faculty members from St John’s College and scholars in the UK that we were able to piece together the information required to create this contemporary take on a historic design.” - David Harber

The sphere stands at 2.5 metres tall, made from marine-grade mirror polish stainless steel, four rings create the sphere - the largest measuring at 1500mm in diameter. Fine Cut's part in the project was to laser engrave both sides of each ring - a total of eight diameters, with a series of graduation measurements. Accuracy was crucial - not only to ensure that aesthetically the rings looked right but to ensure that they could be used to measure the positions of celestial objects as intended.

Each ring took hours to engrave by section and our skilled technicians meticulously lined up every piece of the scale to ensure the completed scale fit perfectly within each ring. There was no room for error as with any free issue part - but additional pressure was upon the team to engrave these huge bespoke rings within a tight deadline. 

You can watch the unveiling of the Sphere in the video below:

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