Decoding the moon phase display device over the front dial of the Antikythera mechanism

Jian Liang Lin, Hong Sen Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The Antikythera mechanism is the most famous ancient astronomical calculator. The damaged excavation is a critical constraint for decoding the mechanism completely. By the systematic reconstruction design methodology, all feasible designs of the moon phase display device, which is one of the unclear mechanisms of the Antikythera mechanism, are reconstructed. These designs, including ordinary gear trains and epicyclic gear trains, are the simplest designs and satisfy the surviving evidence. The Antikythera mechanism and its reconstruction designs presented by LIN and YAN are introduced first. Three pointer types of the Antikythera mechanism are concluded based on their display motions and the orientation of the mechanism. In accordance with the analysis of the available interior reconstruction designs and the surviving evidence, four feasible designs of the moon phase display device are generated. All of them utilize the ball pointer with black and white that rotates around the radial axis to show cyclic moon phase. Two of these four feasible reconstruction designs are driven by one input source, and their bronze disks are fixed and rotatable respectively. Both of the remaining reconstruction designs are driven by two input sources, and their bronze disks are rotatable. Therefore, the four reconstruction designs of the moon phase display device reveal all possible display conditions of the moon phase pointers and the possible purposes of the bronze disk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
JournalChinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering (English Edition)
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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