Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Today is...the birth anniversary of Nicolaus Copernicus

Today is the birth anniversary of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). How do you want to leave your mark on the world?

Nicolaus Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473 in Torun in Royal Prussia, part of the Kingdom of Poland.

Copernicus is most remembered for his astronomical model, which put the Sun near the center of the Universe, with the planets rotating around it.

Though Copernicus is most well known for a heliocentric system, there were astronomical models with the Sun in the center from as far back as Philolaus in approximately 400 BCE.

Johannes Kepler proposed an alternative model to the Copernican one but making the planetary orbit ellipses instead of circles. 

The immediate response from the Catholic Church to Copernicus was mild controversy. Galileo was suspected of heresy and put on house arrest for the last decade of his life for following the position of Copernicus.

Part of why Copernicus probably did not stir as much controversy with the church is that he died prior to the publication of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). He was presented with an advance copy the day he died.

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