The Heliocentric System

The Heliocentric System - Earth in the opposite direction....

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The Heliocentric System In a book called On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies (that was published as Copernicus lay on his deathbed), Copernicus proposed that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the Solar System. Such a model is called a heliocentric system . The ordering of the planets known to Copernicus in this new system is illustrated in the following figure, which we recognize as the modern ordering of those planets. The Copernican Universe In this new ordering the Earth is just another planet (the third outward from the Sun), and the Moon is in orbit around the Earth, not the Sun. The stars are distant objects that do not revolve around the Sun. Instead, the Earth is assumed to rotate once in 24 hours, causing the stars to appear to revolve around the
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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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The Heliocentric System - Earth in the opposite direction....

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