We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
These complex astronomical machines were all the rage in Medieval Europe after they had been brought by the Spanish Muslims from the east. Chaucer wrote about them with enthusiasm. Early versions seem to have been separately invented in China and in Greece.
Astrolabes were rendered obsolete by sextants, telescopes, and timepieces but are still used for instructional purposes.