Antikythera Mechanism expert from Greece enjoys transit of Venus from Sydney
Among those who observed the transit of Venus at Sydney Observatory on 6 June was Professor John Seiradakis (pictured at right; photo by Irma Havlicek), from the Astronomy Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Prof. Seiradakis is an expert on the Antikythera Mechanism – a portable (laptop-size), geared mechanism, built ca. 150–100 BCE, which calculated and displayed, with high precision, the movement of the Sun and the Moon on the sky and the phase of the Moon for a given epoch. It could also predict eclipses and calculate the dates of the Olympic Games. No complicated geared instruments are known before the Antikythera Mechanism and for several centuries after.
Prof. Seiradakis was generous in his compliments about the experience provided by Sydney Observatory – being able to see the transit through telescopes outside, as well as explore the Observatory building and especially the telescope domes. And he also appreciated the scenic siting of the Observatory – overlooking parkland and Sydney Harbour.
Among the other prominent visitors to observe the transit with us was Dick Smith who said it was one of the best things he had ever seen.