Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Antikythera Mechanism

Found in 1900 near Crete, the Antikythera mechanism is a 2,000 year old mechanical calculator used to calculate astronomical positions. The exact purpose of the device is unknown, but the journal Nature speculates that it could have been used to determine when Olympic Games would start.

The device is made up of at least 30 precision gears. It's technology appears equivalent with 18th century clock making. It can track the movements of the Sun, Moon, as well as Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn.

Work continues on analysis of the device which keeps surprising researchers with its complexity and sophistication for something so ancient.

You can read more about the Antikythera mechanism at Nature.

Nature has also produced a video which you can stream from here.

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