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celestial sphere Heliocentrism

The impact of the Heliocentric Theory Heliocentric: Relating to the sun as a
center; appearing as if seen from the sun's center.(Webster,447) The
heliocentric theory was first introduced to the world by a Polish astronomer
named Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus published his views on the heliocentric
theory in his book Commentariolus, in 1514, which sparked the time period now
known as the Copernican Revolution. Heliocentrism was proven true by the
discoveries of Galileo, Kepler, and Newton; through their efforts to prove the
validity of the heliocentric theory people began to find truth in science
through experimentation rather than religion with no proof. Many scientists went
through great ordeals for their scientific beliefs, thus making the heliocentric
theory the most electrifying idea in human history. Ancient people's believed in
Gods and deities for causes to nature and the unexplained. Once the fourth
century BC rolled around, people began to see "astronomical phenomena"
as "natural compound products of simple operations repeated in
perpetuity" rather than the actions of Gods. (Morphet, p.6) Greeks did not
revere celestial bodies very strongly in their religion, despite having deities
for the Sun and Moon. (North, p.78) Different peoples beliefs varied greatly in
ancient times. Different countries progressed in thought at different speeds.
During the Renaissance, many began to "toss aside medieval preoccupations
with supernatural forces and turned to secular concerns" like fame. (Yamasaki,
p.50) With the "Age of Discovery," people began to think for
themselves 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 life
to. This view was very influential and proved to be sort of a religion for
intellectual idealists, no longer for the populace. At the time, the thought of
heavenly bodies being divine, and stars being eternal objects in unchanging
motion were common knowledge. Thinking otherwise was considered Atheistic.
(North, p.78) Fellow famous Renaissance man, and Plato's pupil, Aristotle, was
also a very important figure. Born in Stagira in 384, Aristotle is regarded as
the most influential ancient philosopher of the sciences. Aristotle refined
Callippus' geometrical and spherical concepts, and developed the geocentric
theory, which was believed for two thousand years. (North, p.80) Aristotle
believed that the sphere is the most perfect figure because when rotated to any
diameter it occupies the same space; and that circular motions are a sign of
perfection, which is why Heaven is considered divine. The spherical nature of
the Earth and Universe according to Aristotle, is the natural movement of
Earthly matter from all places downwards, to a center, around which a sphere of
matter will build up. "Only circular motion is capable of endless
repetition without a reversal of direction, and rotary motion is prior to linear
because what is external, or at least could have always existed, is prior, or at
least potentially prior, to what is not." In Aristotle's book De Caelo (On
the Heavens), he speaks of the celestial sphere, the Earth's center being the
same shape, and dismissing the idea of the Earth rotating at the center of the
universe. He also dismisses the idea of an orbital motion of the Earth. (North,
p.81) Contradicting Aristotle, Heracleides, an astronomer, believed in the
rotation of the Earth on it's axis and is known to be the earliest astronomer to
stand 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 mentioned
Heracleides' name in this connection. (North, p.85) Aristarchus of Samos was the
first astronomer to clearly put forth a true sun-centered theory, learned from
Archimedes. (North, p.85) "...Aristarchus' hypotheses are that the fixed
stars and the Sun are stationary, that the Earth is carried in a circular orbit
around the Sun, which lies in the middle of it's orbit, and that the spheres of
fixed stars, having the same center as the Sun, is so great in extent that the
circle on which the Earth is supposedly carried is in the same ratio to the
distance of the sphere has to its surface." (North, p.85-6) If Aristarchus
did believe in heliocentrism, he still could not prove the differences in the
Earth's motion and seasons, which explains its failure to be accepted. (North,
p.86-7) Although scientists such as Eudoxus, Callippus, and Aristotle all came
up 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 a
single system, which was not ... more

celestial sphere

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Aristotle vs. Copernicus

Aristotle vs. Copernicus


Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist, who shared with Plato the
distinction of being the most famous of ancient philosophers. Aristotle was born
at Stagira, in Macedonia, the son of a physician to the royal court. At the age
of 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato's Academy. He remained there for
about 20 years, as a student and then as a teacher. When Plato died in 347 bc ,
Aristotle moved to Assos, a city in Asia Minor, where a friend of his, Hermias
(d. 345 bc ), was ruler. There he counseled Hermias and married his niece and
adopted daughter, Pythias. After Hermias was captured and executed by the
Persians, Aristotle went to Pella, the Macedonian capital, where he became the
tutor of the king's young son Alexander, later known as Alexander the Great. In
335, when Alexander became king, Aristotle returned to Athens and established
his own school, the Lyceum. Because much of the discussion in his school took
place while teachers and students were walking about the Lyceum grounds,
Aristotle's school came to be known as the Peripatetic ("walking" or
"strolling") school. Upon the death of Alexander in 323 bc , strong anti-
Macedonian feeling developed in Athens, and Aristotle retired to a family estate
in Euboea. He died there the following year.

His works on natural science include Physics, which gives a vast amount of
information on astronomy, meteorology, plants, and animals. His writings on the
nature, scope, and properties of being, which Aristotle called First Philosophy
( Prote philosophia ), were given the title Metaphysics in the first published
edition of his works (c. 60 bc ), because in that edition they followed Physics.
His treatment of the Prime Mover, or first cause, as pure intellect, perfect in
unity, immutable, and, as he said, "the thought of thought," is given in the
Metaphysics. To his son Nicomachus he dedicated his work on ethics, called the
Nicomachean Ethics. Other essential works include his Rhetoric, his Poetics
(which survives in incomplete form), and his Politics (also incomplete). Some of
the principal aspects of Aristotle's thought can be seen in the following
summary of his doctrines, or theories. Physics, or natural philosophy.

In astronomy, Aristotle proposed a finite, spherical universe, with the earth at
its center. The central region is made up of four elements: earth, air, fire,
and water. In Aristotle's physics, each of these four elements has a proper
place, determined by its relative heaviness, its "specific gravity." Each moves
naturally in a straight line-earth down, fire up-toward its proper place, where
it will be at rest. Thus, terrestrial motion is always linear and always comes
to a halt. The heavens, however, move naturally and endlessly in a complex
circular motion. The heavens, therefore, must be made of a fifth, and different
element, which he called aither. A superior element, aither is incapable of any
change other than change of place in a circular movement. Aristotle's theory
that linear motion always takes place through a resisting medium is in fact
valid for all observable terrestrial motions. Aristotle also held that heavier
bodies of a given material fall faster than lighter ones when their shapes are
the same; this mistaken view was accepted as fact until Galileo proved otherwise.


In his metaphysics, Aristotle argued for the existence of a divine being,
described as the Prime Mover, who is responsible for the unity and
purposefulness of nature. God is perfect and therefore the aspiration of all
things in the world, because all things desire to share perfection. Other movers
exist as well-the intelligent movers of the planets and stars (Aristotle
suggested that the number of these is "either 55 or 47"). The Prime Mover, or
God, described by Aristotle is not very suitable for religious purposes, as many
later philosophers and theologians have observed. Aristotle limited his
"theology," however, to what he believed science requires and can establish.

Many, many years after Aristotle died, a Polish astronomer named Nicolaus
Copernicus, formulated his own theories about best known for his astronomical
theory that the sun is at rest near the center of the universe, and that the
earth, spinning on its axis once daily, revolves annually around the sun. This
is called the heliocentric, or sun-centered, system. In 1500 Copernicus lectured
on astronomy in Rome. The following year he gained permission to study medicine
at Padua, the university where Galileo taught nearly a century later. It was not
unusual at the time to study a subject at one university and then ... more

celestial sphere

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  • Aristotle vs. Copernicus Aristotle vs. Copernicus Aristotle vs. Copernicus Aristotle vs. Copernicus Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist, who shared with Plato the distinction of being the most famous of ancient philosophers. Aristotle was born at Stagira, in Macedonia, the son of a physician to the royal court. At the age of 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato\'s Academy. He remained there for about 20 years, as a student and then as a teacher. When Plato died in 347 bc , Aristotle moved to Assos, a city in Asia Minor, where a f...
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