Nicolaus Copernicus: On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres

(1543)

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) was a Polish astronomer whose book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (in English, On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) refuted the geocentric, or earth-centered, theory of the structure of the universe. The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that the sun, moon, planets, and stars all revolved in concentric spheres around the earth.The Greek-Roman astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy expanded this concept, devising mathematical models to calculate and predict the motion and position of the heavenly bodies while still accepting the...

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Illustration and text from ”On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres“ (Library of Congress)

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