Fr.: machine d'Anticythère
A unique Greek geared device, constructed around the end of the second century BC to display the movement of the Sun, the Moon, and possibly the planets around the Earth, and predict the dates of future eclipses. It measures about 32 by 16 by 10 cm and contains at least 30 interlocking gear-wheels, all of them having triangular teeth, from 15 to 223 in number. This device is one of the most stunning artefacts remained from antiquity, revealing an unexpected degree of technical creativity for the period. Nothing close to its technological sophistication appears again for well over a millennium, when astronomical clocks appear in the medieval Europe. It was discovered in 1901 in a sunken ship just off the coast of Antikythera, an island between Crete and the Greek mainland. Its significance and complexity were not understood until decades later. After lots of study involving several research fields, a copy of the device has recently been constructed. See, e.g., Freeth et al. 2006, Nature 444, 587.
Named after the Greek island in the Ionia Sea from which the fragments of the device were discovered in 1901 by sponge divers, who found a sunken Roman ship. Several pieces of evidence indicate that the Roman ship carrying the device wrecked sometime shortly after 85 BC. The ship also contained an enormous booty of bronzes, glassware, jewelry and pottery; → mechanism.
Fr.: mécanisme de bistabilité
The mechanism that accounts for the → bistability jump.
Fr.: mécanisme de Blaauw
A mechanism aimed at explaining the → disruption of a → binary system. As one component loses mass dramatically, the resulting loss of → gravitational attraction changes the orbit of, or ejects completely, the → companion star.
Adriaan Blaauw (1914-2010), 1961, Bull. Astron. Inst. Netherlands 15, 265; → mechanism.
Bowen fluorescence mechanism
sâzokâr-e fluoresti-ye Bowen
Fr.: mécanisme de fluorescence de Bowen
A mechanism, made possible by certain chance coincidences between → spectral lines of He II, O III and N III in some → planetary nebulae , that explains the presence with a high intensity of a selected group of O III and N III lines while all other lines of these elements are missing.
Fr.: mécanisme γ
A process which reinforces the → kappa mechanism in a → partial ionization zone. Because the temperature in the partial ionization zone is lower than in the adjacent stellar layers, heat tends to flow into the zone during compression, prompting further ionization.
Fr.: mécanisme de Higgs
In the → standard model of → particle physics, a mechanism postulated to endow mass to → elementary particles. Simply put, a background field, called the → Higgs field, becomes locally distorted whenever a particle moves through it. The distortion generates the particle's mass.
Fr.: mécanisme κ
A process based on the effects of → opacity (κ) that drives the → pulsations of many types of variable stars. Consider a layer of material within a star and suppose that it undergoes inward contraction. This inward motion tends to compress the layer and increase the density. Therefore the layer becomes more opaque (See also → partial ionization zone). If a certain amount of flux comes from the deeper layers it gets stuck in the high κ region. The energy accumulates and heat builds up beneath it. The pressure rises below the layer, pushing it outward. The layer expands as it moves outward, cools and becomes more transparent to radiation. Energy can now escape from below the layer, and pressure beneath the layer diminishes. The layer falls inward and the cycle repeats. The κ mechanism is believed to account for the pulsations of several star families, including → Delta Scuti stars, → Beta Cephei variables, → Cepheids, and → RR Lyrae stars (See Baker & Kippenhahn, 1962, Zeitschrift für Astrophysik 54, 114). Same as κ effect and → valve mechanism. See also → gamma mechanism.
κ, the Gk. letter which denotes opacity; → mechanism.
Fr.: mécanisme Kelvin-Helmholtz
The heating of a body that contracts under its own gravity. For a large body like a planet or star, gravity tries to compress the body. This compression heats the core of the body, which results in internal energy which in turn is radiated as → thermal energy. In this way a star could be heated by its own weight.
William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) and Hermann von Helmholtz proposed that the sun derived its energy from the conversion of gravitational potential energy; → mechanism.
Fr.: mécanisme de Kozai-Lidov
In the → three-body problem, the → perturbation of the orbit of a → secondary body by the garvity of a third body located at a distance much larger than the separation between the → primary body and the secondary. The secondary's orbit oscillates about a constant value involving a periodic exchange between the extreme values of its → inclination and orbital → eccentricity. The Kozai-Lidov mechanism results from the conservation of the quantity (1 - e2)1/2.cos i for each component, where e is eccentricity and i is inclination. The total → angular momentum of the system remains constant while the angular momentum is exchanged betwwen the components. It has been suggested that the Kozai mechanism is responsible for the high eccentricities observed in the orbits of → extrasolar planets. If the parent star has a massive yet unseen substellar companion, orbiting at a great distance, and in an orbit highly inclined to the plane of the planets' orbits, the mechanism should induce high eccentricities into the orbits of the planets. Similarly, this mechanism may be responsible for the high eccentricities observed in the orbits of many → Kuiper Belt Objects such as 2003 UB313.
Named for the japanese Yoshihide Kozai (1962, Astronomical J. 67, 591), and the Russian Michael Lidov (1962, Planetary & Space Science 9, 719).
1) The structure or arrangement of parts of a machine or similar device, or of
From Mod.L. mechanismus, from Gk. mekhane, → machine.
Sâzokâr, literally "making and working," from sâz "apparatus; (musical) instrument," from sâzidan, sâxtan "to build, make, fashion; to adapt, adjust, be fit" (from Mid.Pers. sâxtan, sâz-, Manichean Parthian s'c'dn "to prepare, to form;" Av. sak- "to understand, to mark," sâcaya- (causative) "to teach") + kâr "work," from kardan "to do, to make" (Mid.Pers. kardan; O.Pers./Av. kar- "to do, make, build;" Av. kərənaoiti "he makes;" cf. Skt. kr- "to do, to make," krnoti "he makes, he does," karoti "he makes, he does," karma "act, deed;" PIE base kwer- "to do, to make").
Fr.: mécanisme de valve
A mechanism proposed by Eddington to explain → stellar pulsations. Same as the → kappa mechanism. In this analogy the stellar layer acts like a heat engine with radiation taking the role of stream. The expanding and contracting layer acts as the piston, and the opacity of the layer behaves as the valve mechanism (Eddington, 1917, The pulsation theory of → Cepheid variables, The Observatory 40, 290).