Antikythera Mechanism

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The Antikythera mechanism is a 2000-year-old computer for determining the positions of celestial bodies and predicting important events such as eclipses and the dates of the Olympic games. This Demonstration includes only the known mechanism for the Sun and Moon. The additional components needed to display planetary motions are largely unknown. Turning the handle causes a sequence of interlocking gears to rotate, ultimately moving the Sun and Moon pointers around the calendar disc. The phase of the Moon is indicated by a semi-silvered ball, which undergoes one revolution per synodic month. Finally, the back plate features spiral tracks to indicate the date in the Metonic and Saros cycles.


(To zoom: for Windows, use Control+mouse; for Mac OS X, use Command+mouse.)


Contributed by: Adam P. Goucher (September 2012)
After work by: Michael Wright, Archimedes, Derek de Solla Price, and the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project.
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The mechanism is believed to have originated in the Corinthian colony of Syracuse, with records existing of earlier prototypes created by Archimedes. Further information about both the Antikythera mechanism and this implementation is available on Complex Projective 4-Space. Current research is described on the website of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project.

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