The Antikythera Mechanism, a 2,000-year-old astronomical calculator often referred to as the first computer, appears to have been constructed differently than scientists previously thought. The mechanism probably did not indicate the position of the planets with the hands, but with rings on which jewels represented the planets.
The Antikythera Mechanism was remarkably ahead of its time. It could predict the positions of the sun, moon and five planets, as well as solar and lunar eclipses and even the dates of the Olympics. It was found in a ship sunk in Greek waters in 1901 and was probably made between 140 and 80 BC. Scientists have been reconstructing the battered remains of the mechanism for more than a century.
The front of the mechanism is missing, but scientists agree that it must have contained a disc representing the position of the planets. This was made possible by a gear of more than thirty bronze cogs.
British researchers have now made a new reconstruction of how these cogs work, in accordance with all the physical remains of the mechanism. And from this reconstruction, they conclude that there were probably no hands on the front, for writing ze in scientific reports.
It is more likely that there were concentric rings that could rotate. Inscriptions seem to indicate on these rings colored stones, relatively precious to indicate the position of the planets.
Scientists not involved in the study to mention the reconstruction is “ingenious”, but also a warning: because so little of the original remains, it is almost impossible to determine with certainty how the original was put together.
The Netherlands has their own Antikythera Mechanism, you could say: Eise Eisinga single-handedly assembled a three-dimensional planetarium in her house in Franeker in 1773. It is the oldest company in the world to date. . You read all about it on NPO Knowledge.
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