The World’s Oldest Computer Was Found In A Shipwreck, And It Followed The Greek Lunar Calendar

MatthewBird - - illustrative purposes only

Around 2,200 years ago, a device containing bronze gears was used to track the movements of the sun, moon, and planets.

The ancient device is known as the Antikythera mechanism, and it was found in a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901. Some have referred to it as the world’s oldest computer.

Previously, experts believed that it followed the ancient Egyptian calendar. However, new research suggests that it adhered to the Greek lunar calendar instead.

The device is about the size of a shoebox. Dials on the outside were connected to internal gears, which allowed its users to analyze the cosmos with more accuracy than any other known device.

One part of the mechanism, the “calendar ring,” was used to track the days of the year through one hole per day. Since the ring is only partially preserved, it’s unclear exactly how many days it was supposed to track.

In 2020, a team of researchers studied new X-ray images of the device and conducted measurements and a mathematical analysis.

Afterward, they concluded that the mechanism did not cover an entire solar calendar year. It most likely went up to 354 days, as seen in a lunar calendar.

More recently, researchers from the University of Glasgow used statistical modeling methods to detect gravitational waves, which are produced by large celestial objects, such as black holes, colliding with each other.

The methods were originally developed for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

MatthewBird – – illustrative purposes only

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