It neatly explained the apparent retrograde motion of

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it neatly explained the apparent retrograde motion of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, and why Mercury and Venus never move more than a certain distance from the sun. Copernicus's theory also stated that the sphere of the fixed stars was stationary. Another important feature of Copernican theory is that it allowed a new ordering of the planets according to their periods of revolution. In Copernicus's universe, unlike Ptolemy's, the greater the radius of a planet's orbit, the greater the time the planet takes to make one circuit around the sun. But the price of accepting the concept of a moving earth was too high for most 16th- century readers who understood Copernicus's claims. Instead, parts of his theory were adopted, while the radical core was ignored or rejected. There were but ten Copernicans between 1543 and 1600. Most worked outside the universities in princely, royal, or imperial courts; the most famous were Galileo and the German astronomer Johannes Kepler. These men often differed in their reasons for supporting the Copernican system. In 1588 an important middle position was developed by the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe in which the earth remained at rest and all the planets revolved around the sun as it revolved around the earth. After the suppression of Copernican theory occasioned by the ecclesiastical trial of Galileo in 1633, some Jesuit philosophers remained secret followers of Copernicus. Many others adopted the geocentric-heliocentric system of Brahe. By the late 17th century and the rise of the system of celestial mechanics propounded by the English natural philosopher Sir Isaac Newton, most major thinkers in England, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark were Copernicans. Natural philosophers in the other European countries, however, held strong anti- Copernican views for at least another century. R.S.W. Aristotle and Copernicus held differing views on how the planets moved but that was because they lived in vastly different times. Without Aristotle,
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Copernicus may never had something to disprove. Copernicus' fight for what he believed in, truly helped mankind realize certain truths. It is these people who really make the world go around and will carry us through to the next millenium.
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  • Spring '10
  • white
  • Nicolaus Copernicus, Heliocentrism, History of astronomy, Copernicus Aristotle

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