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Hampton Court Astronomical Clock

Hampton Court Astronomical Clock - Joy of Museums 2

Hampton Court Astronomical Clock

The Hampton Court astronomical clock is a sixteenth-century astronomical clock with special mechanisms and dials to display astronomical information, such as the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets. Installed in 1540 on the gatehouse to the inner court at Hampton Court Palace. This clock is pre-Copernican and a pre-Galilean astronomical clock and is still functioning.

The clock is 15 feet (4.6 m) in diameter with three separate copper dials revolving at different speeds and displays the following information:

  • Hour, Month and Day of the month
  • The position of the sun
  • Twelve signs of the zodiac
  • Number of days elapsed since the beginning of the year
  • Phases of the moon
  • Age of the moon in days

Hampton Court Astronomical Clock- Joy of Museums

The clock also displayed the hour when the moon crosses the meridian and thus high water at London Bridge. This was import information to those visiting the palace from London, as the preferred method of transport at the time was by barge.

Hampton Court Astronomical Clock

  • Name:                  Hampton Court Astronomical Clock
  • Dates:                   1540
  • Historic Site:       Hampton Court Palace

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens

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Photo Credit: JOM