Nicholas Copernicus’ Cosmos
Nicholas Copernicus was a Polish cosmologist born in the year 1470. Copernicus had always been an intelligent, and very well rounded person. When he was of age, he was sent to the university in Italy to study. When he graduated he was proficient in areas such as, medicine, accounting, and the liberal arts. Copernicus was also a religious man. He was a Brother in his church due to his uncle being a Bishop. His work as a cosmologist was completely of his own interest. Copernicus’ biggest achievement would be his theory on the cosmos, but it would not be realized for hundreds of years.
Copernicus’s cosmos was centered on one radical idea that placed the sun in the center of the universe, while moving the Earth out to the third orbit. His rationale for doing so was hardly academic; while being a man of God he believed the sun to be an objective symbol for God. To Copernicus it made sense that God, the giver of life, should be placed at the center of the universe. By placing the sun at the center of his cosmos, he found that many phenomena were better explained by his theory than by previous ones.
In his new theory Copernicus was able to explain retro-grade motion in the planets without the use of large epicycles. With the Earth now out in the third orbit he was able to explain retro-grade motion as a perspective shift due to the motion of the Earth. As the earth passes the outer planets on its inner orbit the planets seem to move west even though they continue to move east in their orbits. The inner planets also seem to back up to the west as they pass Earth in their orbit closer to the sun. Also if his cosmos were to be correct the retrograde motion of the outer planets would only occur when they were opposite in obit to the Earth, which is always the case.
Another advantage to his cosmos is he is able to accurately calculate the orbits of the planets as a ratio to the earths orbit. He did this by using the angle of...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document