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SR-09-Responses to Cop-1

SR-09-Responses to Cop-1 - fit that fact Copernicus’s...

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Early responses to Copernicus By 1510, Nicholas Copernicus (1473–1543) had hit on idea of switching positions of Earth and Sun in the Ptolemaic system; believed it gave a simpler, more unified explanation of observed motions of heavenly bodies. Copernicus was an astronomical purist; insisted only uniform circular motions exist in the heavens. Eliminated Ptolemy’s equants, but still used (small) epicycles to make his model fit observed motions. Ended up with almost as many total circles as Ptolemy, and only modestly better fit to observations. Copernicus’s moving Earth contradicted Aristotelian physics , as well as common sense. Acceptance of the new astronomy required a new physics , but Copernicus was unable to supply one; just said that astronomical evidence shows that Earth moves, and physics would have to be adjusted to
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Unformatted text preview: fit that fact. Copernicus’s only real disciple: Georg Joachim Rheticus (1514–74) of Wittenberg in Germany. Rheticus went to study with Copernicus, and in 1540 published brief Narratio Prima to test response to Copernicus’s ideas. Rheticus then persuaded Copernicus to let full De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (1543 ) be published; appeared just as Copernicus was dying. Rheticus had left Lutheran theologian Andreas Osiander to see Copernicus’s manuscript through the press at Nuremberg. Osiander added an unsigned preface , saying De Revolutionibus should not be taken as physically true. For next 60 years, many astronomers used Copernicus’s book for calculations without accepting motion of Earth....
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