globe

globe, spherical map of the earth (terrestrial globe) or the sky (celestial globe). The terrestrial globe provides the only graphic representation of the areas of the earth without significant distortion or inaccuracy in shape, direction, or relative size. However, the flattening of the earth at the poles and its slight bulge below the equator are normally disregarded in the construction of a globe. Probably the earliest globe was constructed by the Greek geographer Crates of Mallus in the 2d cent. B.C. Few attempts were made to construct globes in the Middle Ages, although Strabo and Ptolemy, at the beginning of the Christian era, had formulated precise and detailed instructions for doing so. The first globes of modern times were made in the late 15th cent. by Martin Behaim of Nuremberg and Leonardo da Vinci. One of the earliest globes constructed (1506) after the discovery of America is in the New York Public Library. A celestial globe is a model of the celestial sphere intended primarily to show the positions of the stars.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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