Heliocentrism

.. ove to be so dangerous to the order then extant.” (Adamczewski, p.137) Little did he know how true his words were. De Revolutionibus consists of six volumes: 1)General survey of Copernicus’ system, and plane and spherical triangles. 2)Spherical astronomy. 3)The precession and motion of the Earth.

4)The Moon. 5)Planets in longitude. 6)Planets in latitude. (North, p.285-6) Despite Copernicus’ book being six volumes it is still similar to Ptolemy’s book, Almagest. (North, p.286) The Church did not take any definite stand with Copernicus’ booksince it was dedicated to the Pope and thought of only as an “hypothesis” due to the false forward by Osianderuntil the Reformation and scientific discoveries like Galileo’s, was it seen as a threat to the power of the Church. (Adamczewski, p.158) In 1620, Cardinal of St. Cecilia and Bishop Albano, the Secretary of the Congregation placed Copernicus’ book on the Index of Prohibited Books, which resulted in Orthodox Catholics not being allowed to read it for two centuries.

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(Adamczewski, p.159) The Age of Discovery was not a safe time for any “scientific novelties” which were in opposition to the teachings of the Church. Any contradiction to the Holy Scripture were “subject to judgement by the Inquisition.” The Inquisito Haereticae Pravitatis, Sanctum Officium was established in 1215. It’s mission was to “combat all views and trends which were considered heretical and anti-church. All opposers were to face the dungeon, torture, and burning at the stake. The onset of the Reformation weakened the Inquisition, but only for a short time until the Church began to fight against it. Victims were adherents of heretical views, suspects of blasphemy and sacrilege, mainly scholars whose views and beliefs did not conform with the dogmas of the Church.

(Adamczewski, p.157) Reactions towards Copernicus’ views and theories had “aroused mush opposition and downright hostility” due to the inability of some to comprehend Copernicus. They were too “accustomed to hard-and-fast schemas” which was accepted worldly then, written in the Holy Scripture, deemed as “immutable.” (Adamczewski, p.147) This resulted in Copernicus’ last years being dismal and De Revolutionibus “lain well hidden.” (Adamczewski, p.148-50) Nicolaus Copernicus died in Frombork on May 24th, 1543. He was seventy years old and all that is know of his final years are hidden in the shadows of Frombork Castle. (Adamczewski, p.154) Nicolaus Copernicus was seen as “..the man who set the Earth in motion.” (North, p.285) “No Genghis Khan, no Napoleon, no emperor nor pope, has had a more radical influence on the history of mankind than Nicolaus Copernicus.” (Adamczewski, p.7) “Of all the discoveries and opinions proclaimed nothing surely had made such a deep impression on the human mind as the science of Copernicus.” (Adamczewski, p. 157) Giordano Bruno, who also suffered from the Inquisition for his scientific views as did Galileo, had said that “Copernicus had not only moved the Earth but also set in motion the minds of men.” (Adamczewski, p.161) “The Copernican Revolution consisted in overcoming the view which had enormous prestige sanctified by centuries of acceptance as scientific knowledge, in taking up the old idea of the heliocentric system, in creating for this Inquisition as ful and rigorous a scientific foundation as was possible with the framework of the time..Accepting a threefold motion of the Earth and placing it in the row of planets, of moving heavenly bodies, Copernicus constructed a new heliocentric models of the world and laid the foundation for a new vision of the universe.” (Adamczewski, p.156) It did not end there.

Three men would later come along to consolidate the Copernican heliocentric system: Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton. (Adamczewski, p.158) The key figure in the battle to have the new astronomy accepted by the Church was Galileo Galilei. He “campaigned to reconcile” the Copernican theory with Christianity, which resulted in a program defined by Galileo to separate science and faith. (Morphet, p.5) Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy, in 1564. Galileo is most known for having invented the telescope, an instrument he would later use to find evidence to defend the heliocentric theory.

A very opinionated and questioning man for his time, Galileo became unpopular for challenging ancient beliefs and believing in the Copernican theory. After he had learned of Hans Lippershey, a Dutch eyeglass-maker, inventing a spyglass, Galileo got himself one and altered it making the first telescope. He was now able to see thirty-three times farther into the sky. Despite the evidence Galileo was able to show to back up his discoveries, people still refused to believe him. Their ignorance and loyalty to the old Aristotelian ways was the problem. Through his telescope Galileo saw features if the Moon and endless amounts of stars, but people just thought that he was being tricked by the Moon. In 1610, Galileo published his discoveries in a book called Starry Messenger.

One of his discoveries being that of Jupiter having four Moons! Wow. It was translated and sold all over the world. By the end of that year, he had discovered that Jupiter also had rings, but most importantly he discovered that the Sun was the center of the solar system because the sunlight on the other planets move across like here on Earth. He now had the proof to defend the Copernican heliocentric theory, but would people believe him? After the 1613 of another book called Letters on Sunspots, Pope Paul found Galileo’s book a threat to the Catholic Church. In 1616, The Pope denounced the Copernican theory, surprising Galileo.

During 1626, a group formed and plotted to ruin Galileo. They felt that faith was more important than the truth of the universe. The asked Galileo to renounce his belief in heliocentrism and his discoveries because the Bible spoke nothing of his discoveries therefore they thought them false. Despite the evidence Galileo now had to prove the validity of the heliocentric theory, the Church ordered Galileo to speak of heliocentrism only as an hypothesis even though it was true. Galileo’s third book, Dialogue on the Two Great Systems of the World, was about the Church and science.

Although it was very popular the Pope banned it feeling it was wrong and insulting. The Church now saw his book as heresy and ordered Galileo to appear before the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Now 68 years old and failing in health, Galileo publicly recanted and admitted his crimes in order to save his life. He was not able to escape the wrath of the Inquisition and was confined to his home for the rest of his life. Seeing that the Inquisition gave harsher punishments than that, Galileo was glad to receive a light conviction. Galileo lived to be 78 years old, and died in 1642 due to sickness causing his to be bedridden his last three years. Through Galileo’s experiments and discoveries he was able to confirm Copernicus theories, further developed observational astronomy, and with Kepler, prepared the groundwork for Isaac Newton’s discovery of the Law of Universal Gravitation. (Adamczewski, p.158) Bibliography Primary North, John.

The Norton History of Astronomy ans Cosmology. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1995. Information on the history of astronomy, cosmology, and the important figures who helped to further develop science. Quotes and information were used in my report.

Adamczewski, Jan. Nicolaus Copernicus and His Epoch. Washington DC: Copernicus Society of America, 197-. A biography on Nicolaus Copernicus. Information on Copernicus and quotes were used in my report.

Morphet, Clive. Galileo and Copernican Astronomy: A scientific world view defined. Boston: Buttherworths, 1977. The influence of Copernicus and Galileo in the history of science. Information and quotes on these two figures were used in my report. Silverburg, Robert. Four Men Who Changed the Universe. New York: G.P.

Putnam’s Sons, 1968. Information on four figures who changed science: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Brahe. Quotes and facts on all four of these men were used in my report. “Copernican System.” Passages from De Revolutionibus. http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Things/copern ican system.html Website containing information on Galileo, and other science-related things involving Galileo. A picture of Copernicus’ heliocentric theory was used to help with the background information to my report. Secondary Sis, Peter.

Starry Messenger. New York: Frances Foster Books, 1996. A pictorial biography of Galileo Galilei. Information on his life was used for background information to my report. Yamasaki, Mitch.

The Scientific Revolution in Pre-Modern Europe. Honolulu, Hawaii: National History Day, 1998. An essay on the Scientific Revolution sparked by the introduction of heliocentrism. Information on Copernicus and his influences were used for background information. “Galileo,” Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 96 Encyclopedia. (c)1993-1995 Microsoft Corp. This CD-ROM contained photos and information on Galileo Galilei.

Facts on Galileo were used for background information in my report. “Johannes Kepler,” Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c)1993-1997 Microsoft Corp. This CD-ROM article contained general information on Kepler. Facts on his impact in science were used in my research.

People Who Have Influenced Our Ideas of the Solar System. http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/nineplanets/psc/theman .html This website contained information on key figures in the development of astronomy. Information on scientists was used in my research.

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