In an exciting link-up between high-tech industry and international universities, the secrets of a 2000 year old astronomical calculating device – the Antikythera Mechanism – were unraveled. Researchers counted on the unique 400kV microfocus computed tomography
(CT) system. The outcome not only led to an astonishing new theory of how the mechanism worked, but also to the reading of inscriptions that remained unseen for more than 2,000 years.
Salvaged 100 years ago from a shipwreck
Named after its place of discovery in 1901 in a Roman shipwreck, the Antikythera Mechanism is technically more complex than any other device for at least a millennium afterwards. The team of scientists behind the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project succeeded in solving the puzzle of its purpose. Project results confirm that the mechanical computer was designed to track the movements of heavenly bodies, specifically the Sun, Moon and Planets. The extraordinary mechanism is an agglomeration of bronze gearwheels, dials and inscriptions that has puzzled and amazed scientists for more than a hundred years. It consists of myriad gears,
cogs and differentials to accommodate the eccentricities of the wandering stars. The Antikythera Mechanism is now understood to operate as a complex mechanical “computer” that is designed to track the cycles of the Solar System and calculate calendars or astrological events.
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