2000-Year-Ancient Astronomical Calculator
Since it was discovered more than a century ago, researchers have been confused by the Antikythera mechanism, a fascinating and baffling astronomical calculator that persists in the ancient world.
Known to many as the world’s first analog device, the Antikythera Mechanism is the most advanced piece of engineering to survive in the ancient world. The 2,000-year-old instrument has been used to estimate the movements of the Sun, the Moon and the planets as well as the lunar and solar eclipses.
“We agree that our reconstruction suits all the facts that scientists have gleaned from the remains to date,” said Adam Wojcik, a material scientist at UCL. Although other researchers have done reconstructions in the past, the lack of two-thirds of the process has made it impossible to know for sure how it worked.
The mechanism, according to the team, may have revealed the motions of the sun, moon and planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on concentric circles.
Professor Freeth : “The team then created innovative mechanisms for all of the planets that would calculate the new advanced astronomical cycles and minimize the number of gears in the whole system, so that they would fit into the tight spaces available.”