This two thousand years ago the computer, for the ancient Greeks to predict the eclipse

The two seas of the same sea in the same sea more than two thousand years of storm, so that the ancient society of the most important technical relics lucky to see the light. How does the “Antioch Kila device” run, how did the ancient Greeks use it to simulate the movement of the moon two thousand years ago, and even accurately predict the eclipse?

author |? Tony Freeth (Tony Freeth)

translation |? Guo Kai Sheng

The first storm in the mid-1st century BC, a An ancient Roman merchant ship full of Greek treasures was buried in the storm. The second storm occurred in the year 1900, a group of Antikythera (Antikythera, located in the island of Crete and Greece, a small island between the waters) collecting sponge scavengers to avoid the safe place. After the storm, this group of diving people want to take a chance to see if the water can be found in the vicinity of the sponge, the results of the accident found that the ancient Roman merchant wreckage. A few months later, with the support of the Greek government, the divers came back here. The next nine months, they unearthed a large number of exquisite ancient Greek artifacts, including exquisite bronze products, glassware, wine cans, pottery and jewelry. This is one of the earliest large-scale underwater archaeological excavations in human history.

Some items did not initially notice. This is something that has been highly calcified, the size is almost the same as the phone book. A few months later it ruptured, revealing some rusty bronze gear wreckage, all gears engaged with each other, the teeth are only 15 mm, and engraved with professional scale and Greek text of the metal plate. This discovery shocked the archaeologists, because before that, we have always believed that the ancient man made the gear is only used for the stupid mechanical task.

This thing was later called the “Antikythera device” (Antikythera mechanism), there are three pieces of debris in Athens, the Greek National Archaeological Museum exhibited. Compared with those extraordinary bronze statues and other ancient Greek art treasures, these pieces of debris is very small and fragile. However, the complexity of their function is beyond the imagination of all.

For the first time in 2000, I learned that there was something like that. At that time I was a filmmaker, Mike Edmunds, an astronomer at the University of Wales in Wales, England, and found that the device could be an excellent theme for a television documentary. For decades, scientists have had a lot of knowledge about the Antioch Kira device, arguing that it can calculate astronomical data, but still fail to fully understand how the device works. As a result of the previous study of mathematics, I gradually on this device had a strong interest.

I organized an international cooperation project with Edmonds, a group of historians and astronomers, as well as two groups of imaging experts to join. Over the past few years, our team has restored almost all surviving parts and understood how they work and function. The device calculates the date of the eclipse and solar eclipse, simulates the apparent motion of the moon in the sky based on existing knowledge, and records the dates of major social events such as the Olympic Games. As far as we know, at least 1,000 years after the advent of the device, there is nothing in the world where the complexity of the technology can be comparable with the things. In 1901, the dive found some rustling fragments of the Antikeda la device on a shipwreck in the waters off Antikiehira. The picture above shows one of the pieces. In 1905, the German linguist Albert Rehm first recognized that the Antioch Kila device was an astronomical. Computing device. Half a century later, when Derek J. de Solla Price of the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies in New Jersey wrote about the device in Scientific American, It knows little about it.

Price, the device operates by turning the crank on the side of the device, and then it moves the pointer on the front and back sides of the dial to complete the output. The user can set the date by turning the crank and display it on a calendar page with a 365 day scale on the front of the device. (The disc can be adjusted by rotation to make the date every four years or more, similar to the current leap year.) At the same time, the crank also drives all the gears in the device so that they give the information corresponding to the set date.

The second disk on the front of the device is the same as the center of the calendar disk and is divided into 360 degrees, and there are 12 symbols representing the zodiac sign of the zodiac (see the inside of the Antioch Kieira device) The These constellations are the constellations of the sun passing along a path known as the ecliptic relative to the motion of the “immobile” stellar movement (that was the time people knew that the “movement” of the sun was caused by the earth Around the sun). Price speculation that the device may have a pointer to the location of the sun on the designated date. In the remains of the remains so far, Price to find the wreckage of a dozen gears, these gears are the internal components of the device. He also estimated the number of teeth of the gear. In an important study in 1974, Price described it27 of the main segments, and a more accurate estimate of the number of teeth based on the first X-ray scan of the device by Greek radiologist Charalambos Karakalos.

It can be seen from the number of teeth that the device is used for what calculation. Turn the crank, so that the 64 teeth of the primary gear rotation a full circle, on behalf of after a year, which can be seen from the calendar disk pointer. The primary gear is also in pairs with two 38-tooth secondary gears, so each secondary gear turns 64/38 turns each year. Likewise, the gears of different teeth at each level are engaged by movement to be transmitted, and the transmission speed is determined by the gear ratio. The final movement is passed to the pointer so that the pointer rotates at a certain rate, and the different rates correspond to different astronomical periods. Price found that one of the gears of the number of teeth than just corresponds to the ancient Babylonian lunar cycle.

Price is the same as the previous Leim, that this device also has planetary gear (epicyclic gear, also known as the turn gear) system.

The so-called planetary gears, the gears themselves, are mounted on the other gears, like the cups of “Mad Hatter’s Cup” (a rotating entertainment facility in Disneyland). Planetary gears expand the range of calculations that can be done with gears – not only for fractional multiplication but also for addition and subtraction. As we now know, after 1500 years, the Western world of technology did not appear in the planetary gears.

Several researchers have also studied the Antiquette Kila device, most notably Michael Wright, curator of the London Museum of Science, and he is a researcher at the University of Sydney, Australia. Lunan Bromley (Allan Bromley), for the first time the device was a three-dimensional X-ray measurement, proved Price proposed model is wrong. Bromley died in 2002, but Wright persevered, the research results are remarkable. He found evidence that the back dial though at first glance seemed like a concentric ring, but it was spirally; he also found that the device had a planetary gear mechanism that counted the moon phase.

Wright also adopted a point of view of Price, that is, the top of the device on the back of the disk may be a calendar based on the lunar calendar. The lunar cycle is a cycle of 19 years [lunar-month, lunar month], also known as the Metonic cycle. This calendar was named after the name of the Athens astronomer in the 5th century BC (in fact, the Babylonians had discovered this cycle before him) and are still used today to determine the Jewish New Year and Christian Easter. In the following, we will also find that the pointer on the disk can be extended so that a groove on the tip of the pointer can be turned round by a spiral groove.

Imaging research

When our team begins to study, the information is extremely lacking. We can not find the previous X-ray scan data, even a set of clear points of the static photos are not. However, two images on a science magazine – an X-ray photograph of goldfish, a photo of the Babylonian clay board inspired me, and I came up with some new ways to get better information.

We commissioned Hewlett-Packard to complete the most advanced photographic imaging at the time, and asked the UK’s X-Tek Systems to perform 3D X-ray imaging. After four years of patient and careful negotiation and dealings, John Seiradakis of Aristotle University in Greece and Xenophon Moussas of the University of Athens have finally worked All the procedures, so we arranged the imaging team with the equipment to Athens – because Antiochai device is too fragile, can not move.

At this point, Mary Zafeiropoulou of the museum made a phone call and made us feel surprised. She said she found something in the warehouse in the underground warehouse close to the “Ante Kieira” label, asked us if there is no interest. of course! So, we have the total number of debris suddenly jumped from 20 to 82.

Tom Malzbender (Tom Malzbender) led the HP group installed a mysterious dome-like thing, about 1.5 meters in diameter, above the installation of some electronic flash, you can from a number of different angles Provide lighting. The team borrows a computer technology called “polynomial texture mapping” to enhance surface detail. Price is difficult to see the text, now can clearly identify; In addition, by adjusting the surface of the reflectivity and lighting angle, you can further enhance the minutiae. These words are actually written on the outside of the manual.

A month later, X-Tek’s 8-ton X-ray scanner, BladeRunner, was shipped to Athens. In order to allow the loading of this huge car can be successfully opened to the museum, the local police specifically cleared the streets of the city of Athens. The wing killer can perform computed tomography (CT), similar to the CT of the hospital, but can show the details better. X-Tek’s Roger Hadland(Roger Hadland) and his team also specializes in transforming the machine so that its X-ray power is enough to penetrate the fragments of the Antioch Kila device. This is the three-dimensional reconstruction of the people to marvel. Price only saw a pile of overlapping tiles, and we were able to separate the inner layers of the pieces and see the tiny details of the teeth.

Surprisingly, X-ray scans show that there are more than two thousand characters hidden inside the debris. (The original character is estimated to be up to 15,000, and now we have identified and interpreted more than 3,000 characters.) In Athens, Moussas and Yanis Bitsakis, also from the University of Athens, ), Along with Agamemnon Tselikas, the historical and philosophical research center, gradually discovering the text that the human eye has been invisible for over two thousand years. One of the text is translated as “spiral scale 235”, which proves that the top of the back of the disk is indeed a silent pattern of the spiral pattern.

With computer tomography, the researchers restored most of the structure of the device.

The Babylonian system

Back to London, I began to study the CT scan results The Some fragments are obviously part of a spiral disk below the back. The spiral of the disk around the 4 laps, about 220 to 225 above the scale.

The probability of the number 223 is very large. Cuban people have found that eclipse only during the full moon will occur, and a eclipse after 223 months, there will be a similar eclipse. Similarly, they also know that eclipses occur only during the new moon (the first day of the lunar month), and if a solar eclipse is observed, they can predict another eclipse after 223 crescent months (but they can not See, because the solar eclipse only some special places to see, and the ancient astronomers can not accurately predict the occurrence of solar eclipses). The solar eclipse and the eclipse are repeated in accordance with this law because the sun, the earth and the moon return to the previous arrangement, which is called the Saros cycle.

There are symbol blocks between the scales of the disk, and almost all contain the Greek alphabet Σ (sigma) or η (eta), or both. I soon understand that the previous letter represents Σεληνη (selene), that is, the Greek “moon”, that there is a lunar eclipse; the latter letter represents Ηλιοσ (helios), the Greek “sun”, that once eclipse. Babylonians also know that in the 223 month period, the eclipse or eclipse can only appear in a specific month, the distribution pattern of these months can be predicted, the interval between five or six months. The symbols on the disk are also consistent with this pattern.

Now I need to follow this series of clues to study the core of the device to see where the new knowledge will lead us. The first step is to find out the drive gear of this new sand compass, which should have 223 teeth. Carla Carlos had previously estimated that a large gear on the back of the main piece could be 222 teeth. Wright corrected the number of teeth to 223, Edmunds agrees with this conclusion. With a reasonable estimate of the number of teeth on the other gear, plus a hypothetical pinion, the 223 teeth of the gear will be able to complete the required calculation. But there is still a major problem still no solution, the fact that it is the most difficult part of the entire gear system. In addition to calculating the salon period, the large gears of the 223 teeth also carry the planetary gears found by Price, that is, the two pinion gears are mounted on a large gear in a manner similar to the Disney cup amusement facility. Each planetary gear is connected to another pinion. People do not understand that all four pinions have the same number of teeth and are 50 teeth, which seems to be unreasonable because it means that the output of the gear will be the same as the input.

For months, I have nothing to do. I later remembered that Wright had observed that one of the two planetary gears had a groove on one of the grooves inserted into the groove of the other gear. Wright argues that the two gears are rotating around a different axis about one millimeter apart. As a result, the angle at which a gear is turned will suddenly be larger than the angle of the other gear, and it will be smaller than it is. In this way, if a gear rotates at a constant speed, the speed of the other gear will be slightly faster than it is, and it will be slightly slower and cyclical than it is. When the


Although Wright abandoned his views, but I realized that this unsteadiness of the ancient Greeks speed precisely calculate the motion of the moon Need something. They are based on the most advanced astronomical theory of the time (the 2nd century BC), which is usually considered by Hipparchos of Rhode Island. Before Kepler discovered the law of planetary motion in 1609, it was not known that the lunar orbit was elliptical, and that the speed of the moon would soon be faster when the moon was near the perigee (ie, the moon was closest to the earth) The speed will slow down near the apogee. But the ancients know that the movement of the moon relative to the ecliptic seems to be slowing down and accelerating periodically. The model is that the moon moves around a circle at a constant speed, and the center of the circle moves at another rate at a constant speed, which is very similar to the actual situation of the moon. This kind ofThe circle on the other rounds is called the epicycle, and this theory dominates the astronomy in the next 800 years.

A factor causes the problem to be more complicated: the apogee and the perigee are not fixed, because the lunar elliptical orbit of the moon rotates about every nine years. As a result, the time the moon returns to its location is slightly longer than the time it returns to the zodiac, with a difference of 0.112579655 per year. If the input gear has 27 teeth, the rotation of the large gear is slightly larger, and if the input gear has 26 teeth, the rotation of the gear is slightly smaller. The correct number of teeth should appear between the center of the two. So I tried an impossible situation – 26.5 teeth. I press the calculator, the result is 0.112579655 – with the correct answer exactly the same, until the decimal point after the 9th is completely consistent! This can never be a coincidence, but the number of gear teeth should not be a fraction.

Next I realized 26.5 × 2 = 53. In fact, Wright has estimated that a key gear has 53 teeth, and at this point I understand that this number of teeth is solved by all the problems. The designer arranges the groove and groove in the form of planetary gears, so that the change period is subtly slowed by keeping the basic rotation constant. This is really a genius idea. Thanks to the efforts of Edmunds, we also realized that the planetary gear system on the back of the device was driving a shaft that in turn led to another hollow shaft connecting the front dial of the device so that the movement of the moon could The zodiac is shown on the disc and moon phases. At this point, almost all the gear teeth are clear, but there is a pinion teeth is still a mystery.

After further study, we made some changes to the model. One of the modifications involves a smaller auxiliary disk in the back of the device, which is divided into four quadrants. When I saw the word “NEMEA” below a quadrant, the first clue came out of the water. Alexander Jones, a historian at the University of New York, explains that the term refers to the Naimaiya Games, one of the five major Greek Games. In the end we identified the text that was engraved around the four quadrants of the disk, the most of which was “ISTHMIA”, which represented the Ishmael Games held in Corinth, “PYTHIA” was held at the Pixien Games in Delphi, “NAA “Said the small sporting event held in Dordona, and” OLYMPIA “naturally refers to the most important ancient Greek Games that the Olympic Games. All games are held every two or four years. We used to think that this device was purely a tool for mathematical astronomy, but the “Olympiad” – the name we gave it – gave the device a totally unexpected social function. In 30 remaining gears, there are 29 cycles for calculating the sun and the moon. But we are in the study of the device before the text, but also get the important stars and planets to rise and fall a lot of information. In addition, on the “primary” gear on the front of the unit, the remaining bearing also proves that there is a planetary gear train that is likely to simulate the movement of the planets along the ecliptic (and the sun’s own movement). All of these clues are strong to show that this device not only simulates the movement of the sun, but also simulates at least some of the ancient planets of the planets (stars, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn).

Wright produced a model of an Antioch Kila device with a planetary gear train corresponding to all five planets. But his clever design can not be fully consistent with all the evidence. Moreover, the new model to more than 40 gears, the structure is too complex, can not be with the existing part of the Antioch Kira device that stunning simple design compared. I am afraid the final answer is still hidden in the 50 meters deep seabed.

The following anatrical map of the Antikeda device shows that 29 of the 30 gears are known in the device, plus some speculative gears. Rotating the cranks on the side of the unit allows the gears to rotate together and move the hands on the front and back surfaces of the device. The blue, red, and yellow arrows show how the movement of the crank is transmitted from one gear to the next. The user has a 365 calendar day on the Egyptian calendar page, or a date on the back of the 235 Moonlight calendar page, and then view the date of the day on other discs, such as the location of the moon and the moon equal. Likewise, you can also set an event on the astronomical disk by turning the crank, and then view the date of the event.

The pin (B) on the tip of the pointer moves along the helical groove and becomes longer as the pointer refers to the month marked on the successive outer rings. The auxiliary gear (C) rotates a pointer (D) on a smaller disk to indicate the four-year cycle of the Olympic and other games. The other gears are driven by another pointer on the small disk (E), which may indicate a period of 76 years.

The lunar gear

This system includes several planetary gears for simulating changes in the lunar movement. Planetary gears mounted on a larger gear (A), like the Disneyland “Mad Hatter’s Cup” game in those cupschild. A gear rotates the other gear through the “groove-groove” mechanism (B). The movement is then passed through the other gears to the front of the Antikeda device. The other planetary gear train (C) drives a half-black and white ball (D) to show the moon phase, while the pointer (E) shows the position of the moon on the surface of the ecliptic.

The solar eclipse gear

is used to calculate the month in the Saro cycle with 223 lunar months (the Saro cycle is the period of recurrence of solar eclipses and eclipses). It displays a month on the Sauro disk by extending the pointer (A), which is similar to the pointer on the silhouette. The auxiliary gear moves the pointer (B) on a small disk surface. This pointer every 223 calendar month will turn 1/3 turn, said the corresponding eclipse time will be delayed 8 hours.

affinity to Archimedes?

Where does the Antiquette pull device come from? Is it from someone else’s hand? These questions are still a mystery. Most of the ship on the shipwreck comes from Pajama in the eastern part of Greece (now in Turkey), Kos and Rhode Island. It would of course be possible to speculate that another astronomer of Papachius or Rhode Island had designed the device. But the text hidden in the winter calendar on the 235 moon between the text of the text has put forward a challenge to this view. The name of a certain month is only used in specific places in ancient Greece, thus suggesting that the Antioch Kira device should be from Corinth. If the device came from Collins local, then almost certainly, it appeared in the year 146 BC before the Romans completely destroyed Corinth. It is more likely that the Antioch Kila device was made for use in a colian colony in northwestern Greece or Sicily.

The possibility of Sicily is quite large, the island of Syracuse is the ancient greatest scientist Archimedes (Archimedes) living place. In the first century BC, the Roman politician Cicero described the murder of Archimedes in Syracuse during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC, and referred to the victorious Roman generals of Marcellus Marcellus) took only one booty, that is, Archimedes made an astronomical instrument. Will it be an Antiochilla device? We do not think so, because the device seems to be in the Archimedes died several decades later just come out But it is possible to follow Archimedes to create a device to create the style of creation.

Price was written in the “Scientific American” essay on the Antiquette Kila device:

Ancient Greeks in their creation of the splendid civilization is about to decline before, even to the development So close to the level of the modern level, not only in terms of thinking, but also in science and technology, so I am amazed.

And our findings prove that the Antiquette Kila device is close to modern, even beyond the imagination of Price.

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