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A Very Brief History of Heliocentric Theory

300 BC; Greek Philosophers Plato and Aristotle models Geocentric Theory with Earth as a Sphere. Aristotle publishes in his book “On the Heavens”.

200 BC; Greek Aristarchus of Samos placed Earth and other planets in motion around the central Sun but rejected by Aristotleans.

140 CE; Cladius Ptolemy of Alexandria devised complex system of “epicycles” to account for retrograde (going backwards) motion of the planets. Published his theories in book called “Almagest”

1270; Roman Catholic church adopts priest Thomas Aquinas theory of a “God-ordained and man-centered” universe which declared the glory of God.

1453; Guttenberg Printing Press developed

1543; Nicholas Copernicus publishes “On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres” in his last year of his life which postulates a heliocentric, Sun centered, solar system where Earth and planets are revolving around the Sun. “For who would place this lamp of a very beautiful temple in another or better place than this, wherefrom it can illuminate everything at the same time?”

1580; Tycho Brahe, A Danish Astronomer, claimed the most accurate measurement of planet and stars yet still was uncertain of a heliocentric or geocentric model. Was first to suggest a non-circular orbit of planets.

1582 Gregorian Calendar replaces Julian Calendar by Roman Catholic Church by Pope Gregory.

1609; Galileo Galilei grinds his own glass and makes telescope. Observes Venus moons going around Venus “proving” the Heliocentrism. Publishes his work in Italian so all laymen can read instead of scholar Roman Latin. Recants at Roman Inquisition and banished to _____.

1619; Johannes Kepler, German Astronomer student of Tycho Brahe “proved” Heliocentric theory by identifying planet orbits as elliptical and not circular

1687; Sir Isaac Newton, English Astronomer and President of the Royal Society of England, stated “Law of Universal Gravitation” which mathematically showed the force that kept the Earth and planets going around the Sun as well as what kept the oceans in and air from flying away. Wrote the book “Principia Mathematica.

1758 Edmund Halley successfully predicted, using Newton equations, the return of a comet last seen

1822; Congregation of the Holy Office remove heliocentric books from the Vatican banned book list.

1838; Friedrich Bessel measures “Stellar Parrallax” method to measure first distance of star, 61 Cygni.

in 1915, Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) published the general theory of relativity, in which gravity is not a force but it is a consequence of the curvature of space-time.

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