The "Antikythera Mechanism," it turned out, was made up of a number of gears and wheels. An X-ray analysis of the object showed that the internal gearing was remarkably complex and consisted of a differential gearing system. The device predated by about 1,500 years mechanisms of similar complexity in post-Renaissance Europe. A total of 82 fragments were recovered containing 30 hand-cut bronze gears. The largest fragment has 27 cogs.
Further research published in 2006
The Mechanism had some remarkably advanced features to allow for subtle astronomical effects. For example, the Moon sometimes moves slightly faster in the sky than at other times because of its elliptical orbit. To allow for this, the calculator used a pin-and-slot mechanism to connect two gear-wheels that introduced the necessary variations.
New text found on the device, combined with analysis of the dials, hint at the possibility that the Antikythera Mechanism could also have displayed planetary motions. Inscriptions mention the word "Venus" and the word "stationary," which suggest that the machine was able to look at retrogressions of planets. As well as calculating the motions of Venus and Mercury, the Mechanism might have also been able to display the other planets visible to the naked-eye – Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn – though experts continue to disagree on its exact scope.
Related category• SCIENTIFIC MYSTERIES
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