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Unformatted text preview: Earth in the opposite direction. Retrograde Motion and Varying Brightness of the Planets The Copernican system by banishing the idea that the Earth was the center of the Solar System, immediately led to a simple explanation of both the varying brightness of the planets and retrograde motion: 1. The planets in such a system naturally vary in brightness because they are not always the same distance from the Earth. 2. The retrograde motion could be explained in terms of geometry and a faster motion for planets with smaller orbits, as illustrated in the following animation. Retrograde motion in the Copernican System A similar construction can be made to illustrate retrograde motion for a planet inside the orbit of the Earth....
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- Fall '10