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Nicholas Copernicus


Polish mathematician and astronomer, author of the Heliocentric Theory, according to which the sun is the true center of the solar system, due to the succession of days and nights due to the rotation of the earth on its own axis. Copernicus was born in Tourun, Postnamia (Polish region on the banks of the Vistula) on the German border on 19/02/1453. He was the son of a merchant who left him orphan at the age of 10.

His tutelage was in charge of his uncle Lucius Waczenrade, Bishop of Erimland. And it grew in the midst of the Renaissance period, in which knowledge as well as culture advanced revolutionarily. He also served the Catholic Church, which was somewhat positive, as it gave him access to the church's treasured knowledge.

Planetary properties

In 1491, he entered the University of Krakow, where he studied mainly mathematics. Then at the University of Bologna studied Greek and Padua Medicine. In 1500 returned to Poland, and already as monk, assumed the functions of canon in Frauenburg, practicing medicine. Since his true passion was astronomy, his attention was piqued by the planet Mars, and from his observations came the question: - Why did the planets get bigger and brighter along their trajectory? "Or did they grow up, which seemed absurd?" "Or were they so much closer to Earth?" Which certainly led them to leave the epicycles, where they should remain…

Faced with his doubts, Copernicus, with his characteristic tranquility, went on to study the ancient thinkers, who dared to give the earth a movement, and place the sun as the center of the universe. After thorough mathematical calculations, he deduced: The earth performs a complete movement around its axis. That would explain the movement of the sun and the stars, producing day and night. New calculations led him to attribute to the Sun the annual movement, which is actually performed by the earth.

Its claims were contrary to the Geocentric Theory, which claimed to be the fixed Earth, and that all other stars revolved around it. The church was grounded in the Geocentric Theory, and acted wildly against any concept contrary to this theory. The Geocentric Theory, also called the Ptolemaic Theory, because it was elaborated by Claudius Ptolemy, Greek astronomer and geographer of the 19th century. II, it said that the Earth was immovable and around it revolved the Moon, the Sun, the Planets and the Stars. For 30 years Copernicus, analyzing and meditating on his own observations, concluded his Theory. As one of its greatest characteristics was to be prudent, at first, presented his theory as a mere hypothesis, since at that time, convictions for heresy were common.

The revelations

Copernicus was ecclesiastical, respected and feared the religious authorities, for them, Ptolemy's theory was more appropriate to confirm the biblical quotations, in a convenient way for the church. Fearing to contradict it, Copernicus in 1530 presented his theory only among astronomers, in a manuscript called Nicholas Copernicus's Little Comments on His Hypotheses on Celestial Movements. Only in 1540 did he allow George Joaquim Rhäticus, his disciple, to publish his ideas in the Narrative Work on Copernicus's work on revolutions.

Your work

Finally in 1543, this same disciple circulated in Nuremberg Copernicus's complete work - On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs, where the Heliocentric Theory was scientifically placed, not as a hypothesis. This happened without the knowledge of Copernicus, who had a copy in his hands, ready at the door of his death in Frauenburg, on 24/05/1543, the same date that he died. This publication, which had a preface to Pope Paul III, was replaced by an anonymous one, attributed to Andreas Osiander, who insisted on the hypothetical character of the new system.

Only after 20 years of the dissemination of Copernicus's research, Dominican friar Giordani Bruno added Theory, the idea of ​​the infinite universe, raising the controversy again. Therefore, the Inquisition condemned him to death. Just at the same time, he started as a professor at Galileo Galilei University, which finally solidified the theory.

Copernicus' work was proven by great astronomers and mathematicians such as Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, but until 1835, the Church kept it on its blacklist. But his work, considered valuable and pioneer, guaranteed him the position of Father of Modern astronomy.