Left By Explorer's Armada, Shipwreck Yields 'Earliest Known' Marine Astrolabe

Sunk off Oman, the ship once sailed in the fleet of Vasco da Gama, who found a sea route from Europe to India. Now, researchers say an artifact found on board is a 500-year-old navigation tool.
A scans of the astrolabe reveal not only the emblems on its face (left) but also the degree markings (right) that would have aided sailors in navigation. Source: University of Warwick

By early 1503, most of Vasco da Gama's armada was returning home to Portugal after his second voyage to the Indian coast. The explorer, now roughly five years removed from discovering a direct sea route from Europe to India, left behind several ships to patrol () the waters near modern-day

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