No one until now knew the Greeks had this kind of astronomical knowledge, let alone how to program it into a computer.
It’s now been discovered it also tracked the movements of Venus and Saturn – including when their orbits, when viewed from Earth, would make it look like they were travelling backwards across the sky.
No one until now knew the Greeks had this kind of astronomical knowledge, let alone how to program it into an analogue computer – leaving the researchers baffled.
“The classic astronomy of the first millennium BC originated in Babylon, but nothing in this astronomy suggested how the ancient Greeks found the highly accurate 462-year cycle for Venus and 442-year cycle for Saturn,” said PhD candidate and UCL Antikythera Research team member Aris Dacanalis.
Evidence the researchers found using X-rays found the mechanism, which was found in pieces, mapped the orbits of all the other planets known to the ancient Greeks too.
“After considerable struggle, we managed to match the evidence in Fragments A and D to a mechanism for Venus, which exactly models its 462-year planetary period relation, with the 63-tooth gear playing a crucial role,” said team member David Higgon.