|Munster astrological clock in Germany|
SHOULD you find yourself in Munster, Germany, be sure to see the magnificent astronomical clock in St Paul's cathedral. This complex, beautiful machine was made between 1540 and 1543 by printer Theodor Tzwyvel and Franciscan friar Johannes Aquensis, who made the astronomical calculations, wrought-iron craftsman Nikolaus Windemaker, painter Ludger tom Ring and sculptor Johann Brabender.
Its main purpose was to calculate Easter, a complicated business since the date is related to the phases of the Moon.
The Munster clock is divided into 24 hours, runs anti-clockwise and indicates hours and minutes simultaneously. Each red and white line within the circle of Roman numerals represents four minutes.
The sun, or hour, hand reaches across the whole diameter of the clock face and follows the position of the sun in the sky, its angle of declination, current position in the zodiac and the hour. Five minor hands indicate the position of the planets Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury, while a silver ball (half-painted black) represents not only the Moon's position in the sky, but also its phase. The clock is adorned with the zodiac signs painted round the face and several carved figures. Death and Chronos are on the right and strike the quarters of the hour. Death holds the arrow of death in his left hand and a hammer in his right; Chronos has a sickle of destruction and turns his hour-glass at every stroke of the bell.