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Author Topic: Astronomical Clocks  (Read 1314 times)
darkeyes
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« on: October 02, 2009, 09:25:15 pm »

Here's a nice article from darkroastedblend:

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2009/10/incredible-astronomical-clocks.html
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Capt_Zaphod
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2009, 12:10:07 am »

The Prague clock is amazing!
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Dr von Zarkov
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2009, 11:46:09 pm »

Thank you for posting this! The technology was advanced, and the photographs are remarkable. I must take issue with the statements regarding the Antikythera mechanism: "... but it was also a common working machine; not a rarity but instead what could be something that navigators used everyday ... a common working gizmo like the Antikythera device"

There is no evidence that this mechanism was at all "common" or "used everyday." Only one specimen has ever been discovered. Professor Derek J. de Solla Price suggests that the Antikythera may well have evolved from earlier, simpler machines and could represent the culmination of the progress of early technology. To say that the device was commonly used is rank speculation.
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Burr
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2009, 03:30:57 am »

I doubt it existed in a vacuum though. Just imagine what other items were out there. You don't get Deep Blue or today's super computers without all the rest of the ancestors, offshoots, cousins and sister machines such as calculators to home PCs and the supporting science, technologies, expertise, craftsmen and industries. If you find a modern Ferrarri you know that is likely it wasn't made by an ingenious but mad hermit on his own as a one off and there are no other cars in the world. Something that complex and well made at least implies mechanisms using such principles must have been around for a while (it also seems to be a practical device from all accounts and not just an extravagant toy). So it is likely that similar devices or other clockwork contraptions would not be unheard of or perhaps even common enough in that area (even if they weren't carried on every boat or trip as implied in the text), like computers in the last century. Especially seeing as the chances of even finding known and usual items isn't always a dead cert.

Of course it wasn't that long ago that people would have denied such a machine could exist at all but then this was found. I suppose unless someone finds a "ye olde Antikythera mechanism shoppe" in some ancient ruins, complete with shelves full of stock and a "buy one get one free!!" sign, then it will forever be treated as some sort of one-off.

There's even a chance that this may not have been the peak of technology then at all. What are the chances we'd so happen to stumble across only the single finest instrument made in those times and all else must be lesser? More likely we'd find the pocket calculator than Deep Blue after all the ravages of time and nature. It could well be one of the more mundane devices.

Just a bit of fun. All very exciting.

The other clocks are beautiful, of course.
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Rowan of Rin
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2009, 12:31:01 pm »

Burr: I don't really think you can make the Ferrari analogy (though it does conjure up a fantastic image Grin)! I am not an expert on Ancient Greek culture by any stretch of the imagination, but I assume it was very different in terms of production compared to modern, or recently modern times, especially in the production of highly specialised devices such as these. Certainly, in the Renaissance, many scientific devices were created as one-off's,  as they were hand-made, probably by the very person that devices them. I imagine a similar set-up was found back in Ancient Greece, though there very well may have been similar devices around, I highly doubt they were a common artefact. 
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