A micrometer (/maɪˈkrɒmᵻtər/ US dict: mī·krŏm′·ĭ·tər), sometimes known as a micrometer screw gauge, is a device incorporating a calibrated screw widely used for precise measurement of components in mechanical engineering and machining as well as most mechanical trades, along with other metrological instruments such as dial, vernier, and digital calipers. Micrometers are usually, but not always, in the form of calipers (opposing ends joined by a frame), which is why micrometer caliper is another common name. The spindle is a very accurately machined screw and the object to be measured is placed between the spindle and the anvil. The spindle is moved by turning the ratchet knob or thimble until the object to be measured is lightly touched by both the spindle and the anvil.
Micrometers are also used in telescopes or microscopes to measure the apparent diameter of celestial bodies or microscopic objects. The micrometer used with a telescope was invented about 1638 by William Gascoigne, an English astronomer.