NASA is well-known for producing some of the most stunning space images in history. And this week, the space agency has delivered something a little different -- an ancient stargazer's tool that turned our idea of early astronomy on its head.
The Antikythera mechanism is an analog computer used in 80 BC to calculate astronomical positions. Discovered on the ocean's bottom aboard an ancient Greek ship, the device is far more sophisticated than historians expected. In fact, the technology was not thought to be developed for another 1,000 years.
Check out the slideshow below for the best views of space this week.
Matijevic Hill Panorama
Mars rover Opportunity's panoramic camera recorded the segments of this scene, in November and December of last year. The digitally stitched panorama spans more than 210 degrees across the Matijevic Hill area along the western rim of Endeavour Crater.
ISS and the Summer Milky Way
Clouds on a summer night frame this sea and skyscape, recorded in January near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Still glinting in sunlight at an altitude of 400 kilometers, the orbiting International Space Station traces a long streak through the single, five-minute, star-tracking exposure.
Nearby Spiral Galaxy NGC 4945
Large spiral galaxy NGC 4945 is seen edge-on near the center of this cosmic galaxy portrait. Its dusty disk, young blue star clusters, and pink star forming regions standout in the sharp, colorful telescopic image.
The Cygnus Wall Of Star Formation
The North America nebula on the sky can do what the North America continent on Earth cannot -- form stars. The bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall.
Huygens: Titan Descent Movie
What would it look like to land on Saturn's moon Titan? The European Space Agency's Huygens probe set down on the Solar System's cloudiest moon in 2005, and a time-lapse video of its descent images was created.
The Antikythera Mechanism
The Antikythera mechanism, found at the bottom of the sea aboard an ancient Greek ship, has been discovered to be a mechanical computer of an accuracy thought impossible in 80 BC, when the ship that carried it sank. Its wheels and gears create a portable orrery of the sky that predicted star and planet locations as well as lunar and solar eclipses.
Barnard Stares At NGC 2170
This scene spans some six degrees or 12 Full Moons in planet Earth's sky. At the left, folds of red, glowing gas are a small part of an immense, 300 light-year wide arc known as Barnard's loop.
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