- Feb 2022
Overview and history of the Antikythera mechanism and the current state of research surrounding it.
Antikythera mechanism found in diving expedition in 1900 by Elias Stadiatis. It was later dated between 60 and 70 BCE, but evidence suggests it may have been made around 205 BCE.
One of the primary purposes of the device was to predict the positions of the planets along the ecliptic, the plane of the solar system.
The device was also used to track the positions of the sun and moon. This included the moon's phase, position and age (the number of days from a new moon). It also included the predictions of eclipses.
Used to track the motions of the 5 known planets including 289 synodic cycles in 462 years for Venus and 427 synodic cycles in 442 years for Saturn.
Risings and settings of stars indexed to a zodiac dial
metonic cycle, a 19-year period over which 235 moon phases recur; named after Greek astronomer Meton, but discovered much earlier by the Babylonians. The Greeks refined it to a 76 year period.
saros cycle, the 223 month lunar cycle which was used by the Babylonians to predict eclipses. A dial on the Antikythera mechanism was used to predict the dates of the solar and lunar eclipses using this cycle.
synodic events: conjunctions with the sun and its stationary points
Archimedes - potentially the designer of an early version of the Antikythera mechanism
Elias Stadiatis - diver who discovered the Antikythera mechanism
Albert Rehm - German philologist who the numbers 19, 76 and 223 inscribed on fragments of the device in the early 1900s
Derek J. de Solla Price, published Gears from the Greeks in 1974. Identified the gear train and developed a complete model of the gearing.
Michael Wright - 3D x-ray study in 1990 using linear tomography; identified tooth counts of the gears and understood the upper dial on the back of the device
Tony Freeth - author of article and researcher whose made recent discoveries.
the moon has variable motion because it has an elliptical orbit: when it is farther from Earth, it moves more slowly against the stars; when it is closer, it moves more quickly. The moon’s orbit, however, is not fixed in space: the whole orbit rotates in a period of just under nine years.
- Antikythera mechanism
- saros cycle
- metonic cycle
- elliptical orbits
- Derek J. de Solla Price
- mechanical engineering
- Michael Wright
- ancient Greece