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Solving Another Antikythera Mechanism Mystery
Studies have uncovered stunning digital modernizations of the Antikythera Mechanism and figured out its sophisticated inner workings.
The astonishing 2,000-year-old artifact, the Antikythera Mechanism, has become famous for being known as the first analog computer, which excited experts and the publics' imaginations from the moment it was recovered over a century ago from an ancient Mediterranean shipwreck.
Over the years, scientists have dissembled the mysteries of the ancient object, which utilized a complex system of gears for tracking cultural events, like the Olympics and predicting the motions of celestial objects along the Saros Cycle. But unfortunately, solar and Lunar eclipses interrupt these 18 years.
Studies have uncovered stunning digital modernizations of the Antikythera Mechanism and figured out its sophisticated inner workings. But unfortunately, most artifacts are eroded or lost during the long burial under the sea.
Some researchers believe Archimedes invented or designed the mechanism, the famed Syracusan polymath from the 3rd century BC.
Researching an Ancient Computer
A team of researchers led by Aristeidis Voulgaris, a scientist from the Thessaloniki Directorate of Culture, uncovered another new chapter in the ever-evolving story surrounding this ancient computer.
Voulgaris and other researchers think they have figured out the “initial calibration date” of the Antikythera Mechanism, which means the time the system is built upon.
The approximate date the mechanism was built was December 22nd and 23rd, 178 BC, according to a study published on the server arXiv.
The Saros Cycle
The Saros Cycle is designed as part of the Antikythera Mechanism in the form of a dial which is a spiral that predicts solar and lunar eclipses. Scientists have tried to turn the clock back in time, with a previous study showing an eclipse referred to by the artifact, which happened on May 12, 205 BC.
Voulgaris and the other researchers later came to the same conclusion for a few reasons, including the New Moon phases position in the mechanism. This phrase's positioning surface means that the Saros Cycle would start with an annular solar eclipse. This celestial event occurs when the Moon is furthest away from Earth. From the result of this distance, the Moon doesn’t entirely block out the Sun’s light, which causes an effect called the “ring of fire.”
The research team looked at the annular solar eclipses that happened across many years of the history of the ancient Greeks to test their assumptions. Specifically, they looked for eclipses that overlapped with other significant events that may distinguish a date as a clear for the mechanism.
Creating The Antikythera Mechanism
Ultimately, the scientists chose the annular eclipse that hit the skies on December 22nd, 178 BC, as it had “a rare coincidence of astronomical events,” according to the study. In addition, the eclipse occurred a day before the Winter Solstice. It was a start date for many calendars at this time, and it would also correspond to the Sun passing into the zodiac sign Capricorn.
Voulgaris and the researchers note that the Winter Solstice is significantly referenced on the Antikythera Mechanism, saying it was an important date to the makers, or maker, of the ancient artifact.
The study may have identified a vital reference point for the operation of the Antikythera Mechanism. But first, it needs more researchers to collaborate with the team’s hypothesis and the many other questions revolving around this perplexing machine and its creators.
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