Thursday, December 12, 2019
Heliocentrism Essay Example For Students
Heliocentrism Essay The impact of the Heliocentric Theory Heliocentric: Relating to the sun as acenter; appearing as if seen from the suns center.(Webster,447) Theheliocentric theory was first introduced to the world by a Polish astronomernamed Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus published his views on the heliocentrictheory in his book Commentariolus, in 1514, which sparked the time period nowknown as the Copernican Revolution. Heliocentrism was proven true by thediscoveries of Galileo, Kepler, and Newton; through their efforts to prove thevalidity of the heliocentric theory people began to find truth in sciencethrough experimentation rather than religion with no proof. Many scientists wentthrough great ordeals for their scientific beliefs, thus making the heliocentrictheory the most electrifying idea in human history. Ancient peoples believed inGods and deities for causes to nature and the unexplained. Once the fourthcentury BC rolled around, people began to see astronomical phenomenaas natural compound p roducts of simple operations repeated inperpetuity rather than the actions of Gods. (Morphet, p.6) Greeks did notrevere celestial bodies very strongly in their religion, despite having deitiesfor the Sun and Moon. (North, p.78) Different peoples beliefs varied greatly inancient times. Different countries progressed in thought at different speeds. During the Renaissance, many began to toss aside medieval preoccupationswith supernatural forces and turned to secular concerns like fame. (Yamasaki,p.50) With the Age of Discovery, people began to think forthemselves and ponder truths through philosophy, science, astronomy, astrology,etc. Philosophers minds began to turn, the human mind was finally awake. Plato,a famous Greek philosopher, believed stars were Gods that the creator gave lifeto. This view was very influential and proved to be sort of a religion forintellectual idealists, no longer for the populace. At the time, the thought ofheavenly bodies being divine, and stars being eternal objects in unchangingmotion were common knowledge. Thinking otherwise was considered Atheistic. (North, p.78) Fellow famous Renaissance man, and Platos pupil, Aristotle, wasalso a very important figure. Born in Stagira in 384, Aristotle is regarded asthe most influential ancient philosopher of the sciences. Aristotle refinedCallippus geometrical and spherical concepts, and developed the geocentrictheory, which was believed for two thousand years. (North, p.80) Aristotlebelieved that the sphere is the most perfect figure because when rotated to anydiameter it occupies the same space; and that circular motions are a sign ofperfection, which is why Heaven is considered divine. The spherical nature ofthe Earth and Universe according to Aristotle, is the natural movement ofEarthly matter from all places downwards, to a center, around which a sphere ofmatter will build up. Only circular motion is capable of endlessrepetition without a reversal of direction, and rotary motion is prior to linearbecause what is external, or at least could have always existed, is prior, or atleast potent ially prior, to what is not. In Aristotles book De Caelo (Onthe Heavens), he speaks of the celestial sphere, the Earths center being thesame shape, and dismissing the idea of the Earth rotating at the center of theuniverse. He also dismisses the idea of an orbital motion of the Earth. (North,p.81) Contradicting Aristotle, Heracleides, an astronomer, believed in therotation of the Earth on its axis and is known to be the earliest astronomer tostand by it. He was thought to have taken the first step in Copernicanism.It is believed in the years to follow that Copernicus was said to have mentionedHeracleides name in this connection. (North, p.85) Aristarchus of Samos was thefirst astronomer to clearly put forth a true sun-centered theory, learned fromArchimedes. (North, p.85) Aristarchus hypotheses are that the fixedstars and the Sun are stationary, that the Earth is carried in a circular orbitaround the Sun, which lies in the middle of its orbit, and that the spheres offixed stars, hav ing the same center as the Sun, is so great in extent that thecircle on which the Earth is supposedly carried is in the same ratio to thedistance of the sphere has to its surface. (North, p.85-6) If Aristarchusdid believe in heliocentrism, he still could not prove the differences in theEarths motion and seasons, which explains its failure to be accepted. (North,p.86-7) Although scientists such as Eudoxus, Callippus, and Aristotle all cameup with Earth-centered systems based by providing a center for all motions,Ptolemy was triumphant for he was able to explain sphere sizes and achieved asingle system, which was not done by the others. When Ptolemy achieved asingle system, the sizes of the shells accommodating maximum and minimumplanetary distances were settled on the principle that there must be no void, nowasted space, between them. (North, p.285) His misconception was hebelieved that if the Earth was not fixed entirely, it would shatter, even thoughCopernicus reveals that planets distances from Earth and motions vary, and thatthe Earth endlessly repeats in motion. (North, p.286) Despite the CatholicChurch adopting Ptolemys and Aristotles beliefs of geocentrism, those theoriesdid not correspond to the astronomical observations of the time. (Yamasaki,p.50) The Copernican Revolution began during the European Renaissance and wasnamed after Nicolaus Copernicus. (Morphet, p.4) this period sawelements of a modern scientific outlook extend its boundaries into areas ofenquiry where observation and measurement had hitherto been less important thanphilosophical speculation and a priori reasoning. (Morphet, p.4-5)although the Copernican heliocentric theory dealt directly with thestructure of the solar system, its indirect consequences embraced the wholefabric of thought, inaugurating a breakthrough in peoples outlook on the world. Copernicus liberated the human mind, which had been fettered up to his day bytraditional conventions, and he opposed the basing of science solely on sensoryexperiences. Taking a stand against the entire world of that time and againstthe supreme authority that he recognizedthe church and the Holy Scripture,against the views consolidated and sanctified by the knowledge of scholars ofmany previous centurieshe instilled into the minds of men boldness inthinking, but he also taught them humility in the quest for truth. Copernicusscience of the stars is also a science of man and his place on an Earth which isspinning through the universe. (Adamczewski, p. 156-7) Copernicuspublished the first outline on heliocentrism in his book Commentary on theHypothesis of the Movement of Celestial Orbs, in 1514. It was the first of itskind, without all of the mathematics. (Adamczewski, p.114) The Copernican theoryexplained the Earth-Sun line and gave a more plausible reason as to why theSuns role is imp ortant in the motions of the Moon and planets in the solarsystem when compared to Ptolemys. By introducing the Sun into the theoryof motion of every planet, Copernicus made it possible to represent all in asingle system. (North, p.285) The heliocentric system presented theplanets positions more logically, going around or below the Sun. It alsoexplained the relative sizes of the planets retrograde arcs and whyouter-stellar planets are brightest in opposition. (North, p.287) Societysreaction to the heliocentric system was not a favorable one. Many people thoughtWho would dare to place Copernicus authority higher than the HolyScripture? (Adamczewski, p.148) Believing that the Earth rotates on itsaxis, planets revolve around the Sun, and planetary orbits were elliptical dueto the force of gravity was then thought of as inconceivable. (Morphet, p.4)Copernicus was passionately criticized by colleagues and peers for hisenthusiasm of the ancient philosophers, who were viewed as incorrect. ( Adamczewski,p.141) The only point that Copernicus was trying to makes was thatthere does not exist any common center for all the celestial orbs orspheres; the center of the Earth is not the center of the universe; but only thecenter of gravity and the center of the Moons path; all the planets revolvearound the Sun, which is the center. (Adamczewski, p.115) As a result ofthe bad reaction towards Copernicus views, he hesitated from publishing hisfamous book De Revolutionibus. Copernicus claims that apprehension of thederision which I had to fear because of the hard-to- understand novelty of mytheory. (Adamczewski, p.144) Prior to the March 21, 1543 publication of DeRevolutionibus, a falsifier of Copernicus work, Andreas Osiander, added his ownforeword to the book saying that it was a fictitious scheme forcalculations, just an hypothesis. Osiander also had the audacity to changeCopernicus title to De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium. (Adamczewski, p.153-4)To free himself from heresy, Copernicus dedicated his book to Pope Paul III:I am fully aware, Holy Father, that as soon as they hear that in thesevolumes of mine about the revolutions of the spheres of the universe I attributesome sort of motion to the Earth, some persons will immediately raise a cry ofcondemnation against me and my theories. (Adamczewski, p.152) Ironically,Copernicus forward in De Revolutionibus states that Copernicusconveys to his contemporaries and to generations to come his new ideas whichwere to prove to be so dangerous to the order then extant. (Adamczewski,p.137) Little did he know how true his words were. De Revolutionibus consists ofsix volumes: 1)General survey of Copernicus system, and plane and sphericaltriangles. 2)Spherical astronomy. 3)The precession and motion of the Earth. My Scooter EssayGalileo lived to be 78 years old, and died in 1642 due to sickness causing histo be bedridden his last three years. Through Galileos experiments anddiscoveries he was able to confirm Copernicus theories, further developedobservational astronomy, and with Kepler, prepared the groundwork for IsaacNewtons discovery of the Law of Universal Gravitation. (Adamczewski, p.158)BibliographyPrimary 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. NicolausCopernicus and His Epoch. Washington DC: Copernicus Society of America, 197-. Abiography on Nicolaus Copernicus. Information on Copernicus and quotes were usedin my report. Morphet, Clive. Galileo and Copernican Astronomy: A scientificworld view defined. Boston: Buttherworths, 1977. The influence of Copernicus andGalileo in the history of science. Information and quotes on these two figureswere used in my report. Silverburg, Robert. Four Men Who Changed the Universe. New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1968. Information on four figures who changedscience: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Brahe. Quotes and facts on all four ofthese men were used in my report. Copernican System. Passages fromDe Revolutionibus. http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Things/copernican_system.htmlWebsite containing information on Galileo, and other science-related thingsinvolving Galileo. A picture of Copernicus heliocentric theory was used to helpwith the background information to my report. Secondary Sis, Peter. StarryMessenger. New York: Frances Foster Books, 1996. A pictorial biography ofGalileo Galilei. Information on his life was used for background information tomy report. Yamasaki, Mitch. The Scientific Revolution in Pre-Modern Europe. Honolulu, Hawaii: National History Day, 1998. An essay on the ScientificRevolution sparked by the introduction of heliocentrism. Information onCopernicus and his influences were used for background information. Galileo, Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 96 Encyclopedia. (c)1993-1995Microsoft 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 informationon Kepler. Facts on his impact in science were used in my research. People WhoHave Influenced Our Ideas of the Solar System. http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/nineplanets/psc/theman.htmlThis website contained information on key figures in the development ofastronomy. Information on scientists was used in my research.