Unformatted text preview: Nicholas Copernicus (1473–1543): Polish astronomer and Catholic church official. Studied at Cracow and in Italy; became an astronomical purist, insisting on strict adherence to principle of uniform circular motion in the heavens. Mastered Almagest but found it clumsy; objected to Ptolemy’s use of equant , lack of overall structure and coherence. Copernicus first proposed his radical new Sun-centered system in privately circulated ‘ Commentariolus ’ (c. 1510); argued it was simpler and more harmonious than Ptolemy’s geocentric system. Fearing public ridicule for proposing ‘absurd’ idea that Earth moves, and with no real explanation of how we could be moving so fast without feeling it, Copernicus hesitated to publish a full account of his ideas—but word spread among astronomers....
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This note was uploaded on 06/16/2011 for the course HIS 322 taught by Professor Hunt during the Spring '11 term at University of Texas.
- Spring '11