The largest fragment found contains 32 gears. Its use of a differential gear to subtract the sidereal motion of the sun from that of the moon to produce the synodic month, the cycle of the phases of the moon, is remarkable and represents the first example of such gearing yet discovered. In 200BC, Hipparchos developed a theory to explain the irregularities of the Moon’s motion across the sky caused by its elliptic orbit. We find a mechanical realization of this theory in the gearing of the mechanism. The mechanism was also used in conjunction with the Olympic games and has references to specific games on its dials.
Jacques Cousteau visited the wreck for the last time in 1978. Professor Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University who led the most recent study of the mechanism said: "This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely carefully ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa."
|A reconstruction of the Antikythera mechanism. |
Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty
For more complete information and detailed academic explanations and research data, please visit The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project.
An amazing 3D virtual model of the device by Massimo Mogi Vicentini. The model is fitted with planets, according to the research and the mechanical reconstruction by Michael Wright one of the principal researchers. The full version can be found on his Antikythera project page.
The first in a two-part documentary from Nature Magazine
Part two of the Nature Magazine documentary
Hublot is releasing at the moment an interpretation of the Antikythera mechanism in a wrist watch. Here is a video documenting the development of the watch.
Ludwig Oechslin of watchmaker, Ochs & Junior, made his own interpretation of the antikythera mechanism in 2008. More on the Ochsenblog
A reproduction of the Antikythera Mechanism was made using LEGOs by Andrew Carol, who has a passion for mechanical devices and Lego. His project is hosted on the website of Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple, Inc. and there is a Wired Magazine article about it.
A KMZ file of the shipwreck location for Google Earth.
Decoding the Heavens, a book about the project by Jo Marchant