Geoff Mansfield: The Antikythera Mechanism

posted 7 Feb 2012, 06:36 by Philip Green   [ updated 7 Feb 2012, 10:27 ]
Geoff Mansfield
At our February meeting, Geoff Mansfield of the Heart of England Astronomical Society attracted a large audience to his fasinating talk about the 'Antikythera Mechanism', the oldest known scientific device, which was discovered in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea, back in the year 1900. 
A truly fascinating bit of astronomical history. 

A working model of a possible version of the intricate mechanism, made by Michael Wright (no known relation to our Chairman) of the London Science museum can be seen on >>>YouTube<<< .  The mechanism even catered for the eliptical orbit of the moon mimicking how at times the moon moves across the sky faster than at others; and, how it could follow the SarosMetonic and Callippic cycles of the sun to predict solar and lunar eclipses. Truly amazing!

Geoff also explained how more recently x-rays and advanced photography methods were used to reveal the true complexity of the device. 
These study have facilitated the creation of computer models of how the device worked. You can download videos of an excellent virtual model from (NB. you may also need to download new 'codecs' to view the videos).

More information is available from the Antikythera Mechanism Reasearch Project (AMRP) website