Google Doodle Celebrates the Discovery of an Ancient Celestial Computer

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It was 115 years ago Wednesday when Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais first spotted a hint of bronze among the wreckage of a sunken Roman cargo ship near the coast of a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. Google celebrated the 1902 finding with a new Doodle depicting the Antikythera Mechanism; an ancient astronomical computer that could track the stars and predict eclipses.

The Antikythera Mechanism was used to keep time, trace the positions of planets and even schedule the Olympic Games. A total of 82 fragments are now on display in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and researchers continue to unearth new details about how the mechanism worked and what it was used for.

Initially dated back to sometime around the year 85 B.C., newer studies suggest the mechanism could be even older. According to Google, the device could have been built as early as 150 B.C., and it’s technology was extraordinarily advanced. The hand-cranked mechanism contains components that are as complex as some 18th century clocks.

Google said the Doodle illustrates “how a rusty remnant can open up a skyful of knowledge and inspiration.”

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