Astronomy

Antikythera Mechanism, The Worlds First Computer

This is pretty interesting, I saw an article about it a couple days ago, but didn’t get time to read it, the NYTimes has an article on the Antikythera Mechanism now called An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists, and it details how the first thought it calculated and illustrated astronomical information, particularly phases of the Moon and planetary motions, in the second century B.C, but some now think it is more complex than any device that came after it for up to 1000 years. Apparently, the technology was not spread to any other areas from the Greco-Roman world in which it was created, and it eventually had to be re-created by someone else.

The Antikythera Mechanism, sometimes called the world?s first computer, has now been examined with the latest in high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography. A team of British, Greek and American researchers was able to decipher many inscriptions and reconstruct the gear functions, revealing, they said, ?an unexpected degree of technical sophistication for the period.?

The mechanism, presumably used in preparing calendars for seasons of planting and harvesting and fixing religious festivals, had at least 30, possibly 37, hand-cut bronze gear-wheels, the researchers reported. An ingenious pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon?s elliptical orbit around Earth.

The functions of the mechanism were determined by the numbers of teeth in the gears. The 53-tooth count of certain gears, the researchers said, was ?powerful confirmation of our proposed model of Hipparchos? lunar theory.’ Source: NYTimes

This is pretty interesting, I wonder if they are planning on re-creating the device to see if they can make it do what they think it can? They are speculating that Hipparchos created the device, because of an ingenious pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon?s elliptical orbit around Earth.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - November 30, 2006 at 3:51 pm

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Hubble Shows Dark Energy is Helping Expand the Universe

Wouldn’t you like to be able to have a universal tivo, where you can rewind and fast forward and show everything that has ever happened? I know, it’s a dream, but it would be the only way to confirm some stuff that science can’t. Check this article out about Einstein’s proposal of how the universe could resist collapsing on itself, how he discarded it and other scientists called it his greatest blunder, but, as it turns out, he was right and it could have been expanding the universe from the beginning.

The Hubble Space Telescope has shown that a mysterious form of energy first conceived by Albert Einstein, then rejected by the famous physicist as his “greatest blunder,” appears to have been fueling the expansion of the universe for most of its history.

This so-called “dark energy” has been pushing the universe outward for at least 9 billion years, astronomers said Thursday.

He and several colleagues used the Hubble to observe 23 supernovae _ exploding white dwarf stars _ so distant that their light took more than half the history of the universe to reach the orbiting telescope. That means the supernovae existed when the universe was less than half its current age of approximately 13.7 billion years. Source: Washington Post

I wish Carl Sagan was still around, I always loved watching Cosmos, with him riding in that ship and explaining everything about space. I would love to go into space at least once before I die, maybe if I get rich and buy a shuttle ride one day.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - November 18, 2006 at 1:59 am

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Picture of Saturn and Earth from Space

Check out this great picture from the Cassini spacecraft, if you look to the left, between the rings, that small bright light is Earth.

The image is the second ever taken of our world from deep space. The first was captured by the Voyager spacecraft in 1990. This marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours on Sept. 15, 2006. The mosaic images were acquired as the spacecraft drifted in the darkness of Saturn’s shadow for about 12 hours, allowing a multitude of unique observations of the microscopic particles that compose Saturn’s faint rings. Source: Yahoo

Saturn

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - November 9, 2006 at 1:08 pm

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