Nicolaus Copernicus Essay

860 Words 4 Pages
Nicolaus Copernicus
     Nicolaus Copernicus, who lived from 1473 until 1543, is known for his idea that the sun is motionless at the center of the universe and that the earth and other planets all revolve around it. This Polish astronomer revolutionized beliefs involving the universe, making his thoughts controversial in his time, but common knowledge in our own (Westman).
     Before the time of Copernicus, people had extremely different views of the universe. A Greek astronomer named Ptolemy had his own theory of the earth and its relationship with the sun and other planets. Around 140 AD, he came up with a system that showed the earth at the center of the universe with the sun and
…show more content…
     At first, Copernicus only planned to use his new system as an easier way to chart the planets’ positions. But, he explained everything with such high detail and mathematics that astronomers around the time of his death began to wonder if his theory might actually be the truth.
He was cautious to publish his ideas because he saw potential for trouble and possibly even a heresy charge from the Catholic Church, who strongly believed in Ptolemy’s earth-centered system. Finally he was persuaded to publish it by some of his early supporters. In doing so, he dedicated his works to Pope Paul III; perhaps to get him and the Church on his side (Asimov, 54-55).
Protestant leaders, not Catholics, were the first to reject Copernicus’s theory. They said it went against the teachings of the Bible that supposedly supported the contrasting system of Ptolemy. Despite this, Protestants were also some of the first supporters of this sun-centered plan (Armitage, 125).
About seventy years later, in 1616, the Catholic Church began to question the Copernican system. Galileo, one of Copernicus’s greatest supporters, used his newly invented telescope to observe the planets and was strongly convinced that Copernicus was absolutely correct. The Church now saw these ideas as a threat to their beliefs concerning the uniqueness of earth as God’s special creation, and soon warned Galileo not

Related Documents