Copernicus Essay

Copernicus Essay

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Copernicus has been named one of the most influential people this millennia by Time Magazine; in part for his movements in though during the scientific revolution; creating a basis for modern astronomy and challenging the Church (of the 15th century) to lead the way to a reform in thinking. He did so by disproving (mathematically) a theory of the heavens that had existed for almost 14 centuries, established by a man named Charles Ptolemy in 250 AD. Copernicus revolutionized astronomy by creating a solid basis for it to stand on, discovering that "The Earth was not the centre of the cosmos, but rather one celestial body among many, as it became subject to mathematical description." He compiled a manuscript of his theories, including the retrogressive behaviour of the planets, cause by the Earth's daily rotation on its axis and yearly revolution around the sun. Much of Copernicus' influence was rooted in the minds of men for years, perhaps because his theories were not fully understood or appreciated until many years after his death in 1543. Finally, Nicolaus Copernicus had a theory published (anonymously) that went against Catholic Church authority, a very bold step for someone in that era. The Church relented, and allowed the circulation of the manuscript.The Ptolemic System, up until the 1510s was the only way of thinking about the solar system as they knew it.

The Church firmly believed the Earth was the centre of the universe, and as far as the community in that era was concerned, the Church's way of thinking was the correct way of thinking. For a great many years, the Ptolemic System had ruled the minds of astronomers; the Earth was the centre of the universe, and that Mercury, Venus, our Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Sun all revolved around the Earth. As Copernicus recorded the movements of Mars, he noticed a peculiar pattern in its movements. Every night, its position differed slightly, mostly travelling west, then for a few days east again, then continuing west. He called the phenomenon retrograde motion, and it seemed to explain a rotation of the Earth.

During his years as a student in universities (1491-1503), he found the first defects in the Ptolemic System, and after much concentration, he developed a manuscript with his theories of the Heaven in 1514, De revoltionibus orbium coelestium, libri (English Translation: On the Re...


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...uestioned in Italy, and many new theories were being constructed. The expansion in thinking gave way for astronomers like Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei who further revolutionized astronomy as we know it today.Nicolaus Copernicus, born Mikolaj Kopernik, of Thorn, Poland accomplished a great many things, some we take for granted. He created an infinite number of possibilities of directions for astronomy to take. He expanded the minds of humans everywhere, and especially those of the Catholic Church. His manuscript De Revolutionibus created quite a stir, and raised a following among the students he lectured infrequently. "Considered the father of modern astronomy, he completely revolutionized science in the 1500s, giving way to others with radical theories to present them, and be accepted, not rejected." By the time of Copernicus' passing, most of Europe was thirsting for more information. What he contributed to astronomy will not be forgotten, and many new ideas shall rise because of his radical thinking, making him truly worthy of being 'The father of Modern Astronomy," and being placed on Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the millenia.

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