Facts About Heliocentrism Every Cosmo-Lover Would Enjoy | Kidadl


Facts About Heliocentrism Every Cosmo-Lover Would Enjoy

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The vast reaches of space are ones that invoke this feeling of wonder, what lies at the end of it?

Philosophers and scientists pondered the question. They asked what would be the center of the universe, and were we at the center of it all?

Development Of Heliocentrism Idea

The idea and the development of the heliocentric model go far back in the echoes of time. Here are some facts about the origins of the idea.

The civilizations that have existed over thousands of years have worked to develop the theory that deals with our solar system. It is known that the sun lies in the center of the solar system, but this knowledge of the astronomical system that we take for granted in this age took a long time to take hold. At the root of the theory lies the idea that the sun not only lies as the center of the solar system but the entire universe. Celestial bodies such as planets and their satellites have circular orbits around the sun. How was this theory developed?

The beginnings of the heliocentric theory go all the way back to the Ancient Greek world. The philosopher-scientists at the time began working on how celestial bodies existed in the solar system. The theory that the Earth is flat had contradictions. Through observations that were made in lunar eclipses, astronomers at the time had figured out that the Earth was circular in shape. This developed to become the first of the understanding that was developed that put Earth together with other celestial spheres. The way that it was understood, the Earth being round, was through how the Earth's shadow on the moon is always circular. At the same time, Aristotle placed his theory that the universe revolved around the Earth.

Now that the fact that the Earth was circular was established, it paved way for the geocentric model to be theorized. This geocentric model theorized the fact that the Earth lies at the center of the universe. The idea of planetary motion or even Earth's motion around the planetary system was not established.

The geocentric theory gained ground in the second century AD. Ptolemy of Alexandria suggested the geocentric model, which would also be referred to as the Ptolemaic model. His understanding seemed to work to solve the problem that the heliocentric theory posed, specifically the one about how stars and other celestial objects stay in the same position in the night sky, while the Earth moves and has the sun at different points.

The problem with the heliocentric theory that led to the widely accepted geocentric model held firm for many centuries. After nearly 1,444 years, Nicolaus Copernicus would make his breakthrough. What Nicolaus Copernicus did essentially brought back the heliocentric theory. In the year 1515, Nicolaus made the argument that the Earth is similar to other heavenly bodies such as Venus, or Mars. It is just a planet like any other that exists inside our solar system. Moreover, he presented the idea that planetary motion occurred around the sun for the planets in the solar system, and Earth moves in a circular orbit around the sun.

However, this radically new perspective towards the working of the solar system was not officially published until decades later in 1543. Copernicus feared public backlash over the heliocentric theory being presented, as the geocentric model was thought of how the universe operated. The heliocentric theory would only be published shortly before his death. Most astronomers refer to the discovery of Copernicus as the doctrine that would not only change the face of how we look to the skies but the entire workings of humanity. The simple words that detailed that we revolve around the sun revolutionized the world in its entirety.

The theory took a while to reach the wide reaches of the world. At first, there were a few who supported the theory. As Nicolaus had feared for his own safety when initially he breeched the subject of this theory, so would his followers. People who gave this new idea credence were under the threat of being charged with heresy, going on to show how firmly rooted the Ptolemaic model had been in society. These threats materialized with the Italian scientist Giordano Bruno. Bruno would go on to teach the heliocentric theory, among other things that were deemed heretical. He was burned at the stake simply for preaching the heliocentric model of the universe.

While followers of the theory remained under threat, the work that Nicolaus Copernicus began had already started to take shape. The march of progress would not be halted. The evidence that would support the existence of a heliocentric universe gradually began to mount. In 1610, when Galileo gazed into the sky with his telescope, he spotted Jupiter had moons that were orbiting the planet. If this were to be true, it would entirely disprove the geocentric model of the universe, as these celestial bodies were not orbiting Earth, but a different planet. In order to corroborate his research, Galileo made a study of the planet Venus. In this endeavor, he found out that Venus was in fact in orbit around the sun. This was done so by the observation of the different phases of Venus. While Galileo did not share the fate of Giordano Bruno, he would face the wrath of the Church nevertheless. Galileo was tried under the Roman Inquisition on the charges of heresy. He would live out his days under house arrest.

The chain of events set into motion by the revolutionary work of Nicolaus Copernicus kept moving on. The wheel of progress would keep spinning. With the theory holding firmly in place, a German mathematician by the name of Johannes Kepler began working on a set of rules which would go on to describe the orbits, i.e. the path that the planets take around the sun. Essentially, Kepler would confirm Copernican theory through his laws. In fact, the calculations that Kepler presented in the 17th century remain in use even today!

What has been deemed the final proof in disproving the Aristotelian view of a geocentric model of the universe was the work of Isaac Newton. In 1687, Isaac Newton made use of an apple falling on his head to make perhaps the biggest discovery of humanity: gravity. It was the force that was used to explain the equations of Kepler, the force that kept the planets in check as they take their orbit around the sun.

Religious Dispute Over Heliocentrism

Religion has been one of the barriers to society, and here are details about how it interacted with the theory of heliocentrism.

The work that heliocentrism brought forward largely contradicted what was mentioned in the Bible. The Catholic Church feared that these revolutionary ideas could perhaps cause a cascade of reactions that could divert people from the Catholic Church. This resulted in the persecution of scientists that pursued the heliocentric theories and taught them. These teachings were dubbed to be heretical. The Church would forbid people from reading books written about the same. It would be sometimes referred to as a war between science and religion, one that inflicted heavy casualties of the world of science.

The Church's conflict with Galileo has been one that is one of the most crucial in the world. The trial of Galileo was one that has sounded through the very echoes of time. Copernicus did not face the brunt of persecution, largely due to the fact that he did not publish his findings until he was on his death bed. The Inquisition would put Galileo on trial.

The reason for the Church taking a contrary stance to these findings was attributed to what was mentioned in the Holy Scripture. It was stated in the Holy Scriptures that the Earth lies at the center of the universe, meaning the geocentric model, and not the sun. The words of the Bible were taken literally. What Galileo and Copernicus were stating and preaching proved what was in the Bible was wrong, and they were sinners who had to be punished by the Church.

During his trial, Galileo pleaded his case by stating that what he wrote was out of his vanity, and it was his attempt of being clever.

As Galileo peered into the reaches of space and looked at the phases of Venus, he would make the discovery that brought fruition to the idea that Copernicus presented.

Views Of Modern Science

The views of modern science as to how the heliocentric model stands is a mixed bag.

The work carried about by scientists over many centuries did in fact confirm that the sun was at the center of our solar system. The planets that exist in our solar system do in fact travel around it. It is not the Earth that the entire universe moves around.

What modern science disproved was the fact that the sun is not at the heart of the universe. A universe is a massive place, more than what one can imagine. It is rapidly expanding and is perhaps more than we can explore. The heliocentric model put the sun in the middle of the entire universe. This was disproved by modern science. The sun is simply a star whose mass is large enough to hold eight planets in their orbits around it. It is not the center of the universe. There are billions of similar stars in space, larger than the sun, that have their own system of celestial spheres orbiting them.

Modern science tweaked the heliocentric model and presented it as the definitive moment which confirmed that the planets in our solar system orbit it.

Modern Use Of Heliocentric

The heliocentric theory, while proved partially wrong, still has massive implications in the world of science.

Space exploration is one of the biggest avenues of human expansion, and it would not have been possible without the work that was put behind the heliocentric model. The calculations Kepler made and the equations that he presented are used even today, for things such as sending up satellites that orbit the Earth. Furthermore, the launch that took the first humans to the moon would not have been possible had this theory not existed.

If we truly hope to transition to living in space, the knowledge of the Earth's orbit around the sun is critical in deciding when and where we launch. It goes without saying that the calculations behind it lie within the work put into proving the heliocentric model.

Other Miscellaneous Facts

Here are some interesting facts about the heliocentric model!

When Galileo was publishing his work, he had to do it under the supervision of the Church. His work was to be inspected by the Master of the Palace in Rome. He had to leave Rome as there was the outbreak of a plague in the city.

After Dialogues was published, Galileo tried to present a balanced view of the heliocentric model, even though he was prohibited from holding, defending, or teaching the heliocentric theory. Galileo wrote Dialogues in Italian so that all of Italy could read it easily. The Pope ordered an almost immediate curb on the printing of any more copies of Dialogues.

Galileo originally intended to name this book the Dialogue on the Ebb and Flow of the Sea. This would depict the idea that the tides supported his idea. The change of the title to Dialogues made it seem like it dwelled on the side of theoretical. If the original title had been retained by Galileo, the Church might have been threatened and Galileo would have been charged with heresy sooner.

In order to minimize the chance of incurring the wrath of the Church, Galileo wrote dialogues in a way that it was a conversation of sorts between a supported of the Ptolemaic model, a supported of Copernicus' theory, and one neutral arbitrator.

The disproving of the fact that the sun does not lie at the center of the universe puts into perspective how small of a part the Earth really is in terms of talking about the entire universe.


Who discovered the heliocentric model?

The heliocentric model was developed by a number of scientists over hundreds of years. A definitive model was presented by Nicolaus Copernicus.

What is true about the heliocentric model?

The heliocentric model is only partly correct. It is true that the sun is the center of our solar system, and the planets within the solar system orbit it, including the Earth. What is not true is that the sun lies at the center of the entire universe.

How did Heliocentrism change the world?

The heliocentric model at the time took people away from the general consensus that the Earth was the center of the universe. It incurred the wrath of the Church and proved to be a dangerous theory to support. In the long term, it gave rise to equations and discoveries that are not only part of modern astronomy, but how modern science operates. Without it, the initial human trip to space would not have occurred.

When did the church accept heliocentrism?

The exact year when the Catholic Church accepted the model is debatable. The heliocentric model was taught in schools during the 1700s, along with the geocentric model.

How did Copernicus make his discovery?

Copernicus created an initial model that was different from the Ptolemaic model and used what is referred to as retrograde motion in order to craft his theory.

Is the heliocentric theory correct?

The heliocentric theory is only partially correct, as the part that states the sun is the center of the entire universe is incorrect.

Why were the churches against heliocentrism?

Churches took a stance against the theory as it provided a different account of the universe than the one that was handed down in the Holy Scriptures.

Who supported the heliocentric model?

The heliocentric model was supported by a number of scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler as well as Isaac Newton.

What was wrong with the heliocentric model?

The model showed that the sun was at the center of the universe when it is just a star similar to billions of stars that exist in the universe.

Guitar-playing Siddharth can speak English and French and is a content writer for Kidadl.

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