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Champlain's Astrolabe

A mariner’s astrolabe was a navigation tool used by explorers to determine latitude. The device was held by the top ring and known celestial objects were sighted through the openings on the arm. Longitude was more complicated to compute and often was based only on estimates of speed and time travelled. This sculpture is a representation of a mariner’s astrolabe found in 1867 near Cobden, Ontario. The sights on the arm are aligned with Polaris (the ‘North Star’) which means the latitude can be read directly by the angle of the arm. This is the tool that Champlain used on his voyages to navigate his travels. This statue is a symbol of Champlain’s exploration and discovery of Georgian Bay and Penetanguishene Bay in 1615.

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