Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More on the Antikythera mechanism

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It’s a fascinating device that may have built upon (and extended) an earlier device designed by Archimedes. Read the full article. It begins:

Computer reconstruction

Computer reconstruction

An ancient Greek astronomical calculator that showed the positions of the sun, Earth and the moon, and outshined any known device for 1,000 years after it, also kept track of something more mundane: when the next Olympics would take place.

And its design just might have sprung from the skull of the brilliant scientist Archimedes.

Researchers have pried these and a few other fresh secrets from the corroded bronze fragments of the Antikythera mechanism, a clockwork-like assemblage discovered in 1901 by Greek sponge divers off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete.

Members of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (AMRP) and their colleagues used data from high-resolution, 360-degree x-ray scans to decipher markings as small as 0.06 inch (1.7 millimeters) tall on a spiral dial on the rear of the instrument. The five-twist spiral is inscribed with 235 sets of markings believed to indicate the months in a 19-year calendar.

Known as the Metonic calendar, people have used it since Babylonian times to account for the fact that 12 lunar months add up to only 354 days—11 days shy of a solar year. (Gears located behind the dial face would have moved a pointer like the minute hand on a clock to refer a user to particular markings on the dial.)

Writing in Nature, the team was able for the first time to …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 July 2008 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

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