Astronomy/ Copernicus term paper 6989

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Nicolas Copernicus

Nicolas Copernicus

1473-1543

Physics

February 8, 2000

Nicolas Copernicus

Nicolas Copernicus

1473-1543

Copernicus was born in Poland in 1473, he started his education at Cracow University. There he studied mathematics and optics. From here he went to Italy, where he was appointed as a canon in the cathedral of Frauenburg, where he spent a comfortable academic life studding. Copernicus had some small hobbies while at the cathedral, he painted, and frequently translated Greek poetry into Latin. One other hobby that just wasn't small enough to be called a hobby to most of us was astronomy. He made investigations quietly and alone, without any help. He observed from a turret on a protective wall around a cathedral, he also looked with his naked eye rather than with a telescope. He was one of the founders of modern astronomy.

Copernicus died in 1543 of a cerebral hemorrhage. In 1530 right before Copernicus died he managed to published his work, De Revolutionibus. Which said that the earth rotated on its axis once daily and traveled around the sun once yearly. This might no sound very controversial but at this time the church and its followers believed in the Ptolemiac theory, which stated that the universe was a closed space bounded by a spherical envelope beyond which there was nothing. (Landry 1999)

Copernicus’s works went against the church, and most scientific beliefs. This may be one reason why Copernicus didn’t publish his work until his deathbed. Another reason may be that Copernicus was a huge perfectionist, and continuously redid his works over and over to get them right. (Field 1995) So you can see why Copernicus wasn’t in any big rush to have the world know about his theory. On one hand he would cause a

Nicolas Copernicus

tramoundous stir in the church, and all the scientific community. He would’ve most likely have been fired from the comfortable church position he had for many years, and could‘ve given him a bad name. If it hadn’t been for George Rheticus, a 25-year-old German mathematics professor Copernicus’s might have never publiched his work. (Field 1995) Rheticus stayed with Copernicus for two years, and convinced him to release his work.

“His work the Copernicus's heliostatic cosmology involved giving several distinct motions to the Earth. It was consequently considered implausible by the vast majority of his contemporaries, and by most astronomers and natural philosophers of succeeding generations before the middle of the seventeenth century. Its only defenders included Johannes Kepler (1571 -1630) and Galileo Galilei (1564- 1642). Strong theoretical underpinning for the Copernican theory was provided by Newton's theory of universal gravitation (1687).” (Field 1995) So Copernicus’s whole argument stated that the planets and the Earth were in orbit around the sun, and the moon was in orbit around the Earth. This is called the

The Heliocentric System:

Nicolas Copernicus

In conclusion Copernicus said that the Sun was the center of the universe, and went against all known knowledge, religion, and teachings. He took all his observations with the naked eye and with no help. Many disregarded his book and his theory, which went against everything that the church believed in. However if it wasn’t for Copernicus, modern astronomy would have never made advances as far as it has to today. Copernicus’s hard work and strength is why he is one of the most important founders of modern astronomy.

Bibliography

Works Cited

Field, J. V. (1995 August). Home page. [Online]. [2000, Feb. 8].

Astronomy 161 “The Solar System” . [Online]. University of Florida.

[2000, Feb. 8].

Landry, Peter (1999 June). Home page. [Online]. Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. CANADA.

[2000, Feb. 8].

Word Count: 563

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