16 Facts About Antikythera mechanism


Antikythera mechanism is an Ancient Greek hand-powered orrery, described as the oldest example of an analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses decades in advance.

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In 2008, a team led by Mike Edmunds and Tony Freeth at Cardiff University used modern computer x-ray tomography and high resolution surface scanning to image inside fragments of the crust-encased Antikythera mechanism and read the faintest inscriptions that once covered the outer casing of the machine.

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The Antikythera mechanism was retrieved from the wreckage in 1901, most probably that July.

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The Antikythera mechanism appeared to be a lump of corroded bronze and wood; it went unnoticed for two years, while museum staff worked on piecing together more obvious treasures, such as the statues.

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Antikythera mechanism initially believed that it was an astronomical clock, but most scholars considered the device to be prochronistic, too complex to have been constructed during the same period as the other pieces that had been discovered.

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Antikythera mechanism is generally referred to as the first known analogue computer.

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The quality and complexity of the Antikythera mechanism's manufacture suggests that it must have had undiscovered predecessors during the Hellenistic period.

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Original Antikythera mechanism apparently came out of the Mediterranean as a single encrusted piece.

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The action of turning the hand crank would cause all interlocked gears within the Antikythera mechanism to rotate, resulting in the simultaneous calculation of the position of the Sun and Moon, the moon phase, eclipse, and calendar cycles, and perhaps the locations of planets.

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Antikythera mechanism suggested that along with the lunar anomaly, adjustments would have been made for the deeper, more basic solar anomaly.

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Antikythera mechanism included pointers for this "true sun", Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, in addition to the known "mean sun" and lunar pointers.

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Investigations by Freeth and Jones reveal that their simulated Antikythera mechanism is not particularly accurate, the Mars pointer being up to 38° off at times.

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Special delight to physicists, the Moon Antikythera mechanism uses a special train of bronze gears, two of them linked with a slightly offset axis, to indicate the position and phase of the moon.

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Antikythera mechanism added, that the figure of the sphere, which displayed the motions of the Sun and Moon, and the five planets, or wandering stars, could not be represented by the primitive solid globe.

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The scientists who have reconstructed the Antikythera mechanism agree that it was too sophisticated to have been a unique device.

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Functioning Lego reconstruction of the Antikythera mechanism was built in 2010 by hobbyist Andy Carol, and featured in a short film produced by Small Mammal in 2011.

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