Due: Friday January 26, 2018
on February 19th, 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus was the forth and final
child born to his father Nicolaus
Copernicus Sr. and his mother Barbara Watzenrode. After his father passed
away in the mid 1480’s, his uncle, Bishop of Varmia Lucas Watzenrode, took on a
parental role to Copernicus and made sure that he would be provided with the
best possible education.
1514, Nicolaus Copernicus had privately circulated an outline on his thesis
titled, “De revolutionbus Orbium Coelestium.”
Which translates to “On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres.” But the
publication of this work did not come until 1541 when a supporter by the name
of Rheticus grew impatient with Copernicus and published a brief description of
the work done by Nicolaus Copernicus.
was not actually the first person to introduce a model of the solar system which
placed the sun at the center with surrounding planets orbiting the giant sphere
of hot plasma. His model of our solar system came at a very timely and novel. At
the time, European astronomers had been increasingly struggling fix the mathematical
errors that surfaced from the (at the time accepted) Ptolemaic, geocentric
model of the solar system.
model of the universe proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus was heliocentric, meaning
that the sun was placed at the center of the solar system, which meant that the
Earth and other surrounding planets orbited around the sun. his astronomical
system offered a complete understanding of how the universe worked. In 1513,
his dedication to his work pushed Copernicus to build himself his own
observatory, which caused him to make inaccurate conclusions in his work such
as the thought that the planets orbit the sun in a perfect circle, which we now
know is incorrect because the planets orbit is in an elliptical shape.
in 140 A.D. and widely accepted as the corrected formation of the solar system
for fifteen centuries, Ptolemy’s model of the solar system places the earth at
the middle with all other celestial objects including the Sun, Moon and other
planets orbiting in small circles called epicycles as they revolved in larger
circles around Earth. The first principle in the Ptolemaic Model is an
eccentric motion. A body travelling at a uniform speed at a circular path with the
Earth at its center will sweep out equal angles at equal times, but if the path’s
center is displaced from the Earth, the body will sweep out equal angles in
unequal times, moving slowest when farthest from the Earth and fastest when
closest to Earth. The equant was a solution to Ptolemy’s discrepancies that the
geocentric model could not explain. The equant can be defined as the point at which
an epicycle’s center always seems to move at the same speed. When an epicenter
was at a different point on its deferent, then the planet moved at a different
speed. To complicate the matter even further, each planet had a different equant.