Antikythera Mechanism

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The Antikythera mechanism is thought to be one of the most complicated antiques in existence. At the beginning of the 20th century, divers off the island of Antikythera came across this clock like mechanism, which is thought to be at least 2,000 years old, in the wreckage of a cargo ship. The problem with that is that at the time this thing was made, no one had yet discovered laws of gravity or how heavenly bodies moved. In other words, the Antikythera mechanism appears to have functions that no one alive at that time would have understood, and no single mechanical purpose of that era  explains the crazy number of functions and settings this machine has.

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analog computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–1901 from the Antikythera wreck, but its significance and complexity were not understood until a century later. The construction has been dated to the early 1st century BC. The Antikythera mechanism contains gears and structures that were not found in devices again for 1000 years. Technological artifacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the 14th century AD, when mechanical astronomical clocks began to be built in Western Europe.

The device was very thin and made of bronze. It was mounted in a wooden frame and had more than 2,000 characters inscribed all over it. X-rays of the device have indicated that there are at least 30 different gears present in it. Though nearly 95 percent of these have been deciphered by experts, there has not been a publication of the full text of the inscription.Today it is believed that this instrument was a kind of mechanical analog computer used to calculate the movements of stars and planets in astronomy. It has been estimated that the antikythera mechanism was built around 87 B.C and was lost in 76 B.C. No one has any idea about why or how it came to be on that ill-fated cargo ship. In 1974, British historian Derek Price presented a model of how the antikythera mechanism might have functioned. When past or future dates were entered into the device it calculated the astronomical information related to the Sun, Moon, and other planets. However, the full extent of the instrument’s functions still remains unknown.

credits : http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr ,  http://en.wikipedia.org/ , http://www.antikythera-mechanism.com/
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