The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer and used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. It could also be used to track the four-year cycle of the ancient Olympic Games. The instrument is believed to have been designed and constructed by Greek scientists and has been variously dated to about 70-200 BC. It is the oldest known analogue computer.
It is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears. Detailed imaging of the mechanism suggests that it had 37 gear wheels enabling it to follow the movements of the moon and the sun through the zodiac, to predict eclipses and even to model the irregular orbit of the moon.
The mechanism was discovered on 17 May 1902 by archaeologist Valerios Stais, among wreckage retrieved from a wreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera.
Where can I see the original?
All known fragments of the Antikythera mechanism are kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece.
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