Copernican system

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Copernican system,

first modern European theory of planetary motion that was heliocentric, i.e., that placed the sun motionless at the center of the solar system with all the planets, including the earth, revolving around it. CopernicusCopernicus, Nicholas
, Pol. Mikotaj Kopérnik, 1473–1543, Polish astronomer. After studying astronomy at the Univ. of Kraków, he spent a number of years in Italy studying various subjects, including medicine and canon law. He lectured c.
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 developed his theory in the early 16th cent. from a study of ancient astronomical records. He retained the ancient belief that the planets move in perfect circles and therefore, like PtolemyPtolemy
(Claudius Ptolemaeus), fl. 2d cent. A.D., celebrated Greco-Egyptian mathematician, astronomer, and geographer. He made his observations in Alexandria and was the last great astronomer of ancient times.
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, he was forced to utilize epicycles to explain deviations from uniform motion (see Ptolemaic systemPtolemaic system
, historically the most influential of the geocentric cosmological theories, i.e., theories that placed the earth motionless at the center of the universe with all celestial bodies revolving around it (see cosmology).
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). Thus, the Copernican system was technically only a slight improvement over the Ptolemaic system. However, making the solar system heliocentric removed the largest epicycle and explained retrograde motion in a natural way. By liberating astronomy from a geocentric viewpoint, Copernicus paved the way for Kepler's lawsKepler's laws,
three mathematical statements formulated by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler that accurately describe the revolutions of the planets around the sun. Kepler's laws opened the way for the development of celestial mechanics, i.e.
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 of planetary motion and NewtonNewton, Sir Isaac,
1642–1727, English mathematician and natural philosopher (physicist), who is considered by many the greatest scientist that ever lived. Early Life and Work
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's embracing theory of universal gravitationgravitation,
the attractive force existing between any two particles of matter. The Law of Universal Gravitation

Since the gravitational force is experienced by all matter in the universe, from the largest galaxies down to the smallest particles, it is often called
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, which describes the force that holds the planets in their orbits.


See E. Rosen, Copernicus and His Successors (1995); T. S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution (1997).

Copernican system

(kŏ-per -nă-kăn) A heliocentric system of the Solar System that was proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus and eventually published in 1543 in his book De Revolutionibus . It uses some of the basic ideas of the Ptolemaic system, including circular orbits and epicycles, and was no more accurate in its predictions. Copernicus, however, maintained that the planets move around the Sun (in the relative positions accepted today), the Sun's position being offset from the center of the orbits. The apparent motions of celestial bodies such as the Sun were explained in terms of the rotation of the Earth about its axis and also the Earth's orbital motion.

The planetary motion can be represented by two uniform circular motions: one is an epicyclic motion of the planet about a point D on the circular orbit; the other, unlike that of the Ptolemaic system, is a uniform circular motion of D about the center, C, of the orbit. This requires that the rate of motion of D about C is exactly half that of the epicyclic rate of motion with respect to a fixed direction.

There was a strong and prolonged reaction – especially by the Church – to the Copernican system, which effectively displaced the Earth as the center of the Universe. There was also a sudden revival in astronomical observation in order to test the theory, notably by Tycho Brahe. Tycho's detailed observations, which showed the inadequacies of the Copernican system, were used in the formulation of Kepler's laws of planetary motion. The heliocentric cosmology became firmly established after Galileo had made telescopic observations of the phases of Venus.

Copernican System

(kŏ-per -nă-kăn) The youngest stratigraphic system of the Moon. It includes the freshest lunar craters, formed during the last billion (109) years approximately, many of which have preserved rays. The period began with the formation of the crater Copernicus. The Eratosthenian System (for which Eratosthenes is the type crater) covers the earlier period extending from about 3.15 to 1 billion years ago. It includes slightly older more degraded craters with no visible rays, in addition to most of the youngest mare deposits. See also Imbrian System; Nectarian System.

Copernican system

[kə′pər·nə·kən ‚sis·təm]
The system of planetary motions according to Copernicus, who maintained that the earth revolves about an axis once every day and revolves around the sun once every year while the other planets also move in orbits centered near the sun.
References in periodicals archive ?
For the Almagestum Novum analysis of the heliocentrism versus geocentrism debate, which Edward Grant has described as "the lengthiest, most penetrating, and authoritative analysis made by any author of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries," (35) Riccioli assembled 126 arguments put forward by both sides: 49 favored heliocentrism; 77 favored geocentrism.
Point after point is made that builds the case that despite his denial to the contrary, the accused sought to destroy the geocentric theory and validate and promote heliocentrism.
What made heliocentrism and Galileo's writings something the Church felt compelled to address at the highest level?
Indeed, Kepler's discovery of the shape of planetary orbits marks a greater break with tradition than does Copernicus' heliocentrism.
In the field of astronomy, the Alexandrian Aristarchus pioneered the theory of heliocentrism.
his time, who objected to heliocentrism, made the error of thinking that our understanding of the physical world's structure was imposed by the literal sense of Scripture.
Heliocentrism set the world spinning when Copernicus introduced the theory in 1543, naming the sun the center of our system of planets, something Europeans had not figured or dared to set in motion as an attempt to correct a world view centered on itself.
Freud referred to a triad of "outrages upon our naive self love" when he grouped together Copernican heliocentrism, Darwinian evolution, and his own theory of the structure of the psyche and the centrality of the (irrational) unconscious.
The science enters a revolutionary phase as a new paradigm such as Copernicus's heliocentrism comes to seem more plausible.
Sidharth provides incontrovertible evidence that such advanced "European" astronomical concepts as precession, heliocentrism, and eclipse cycle were first discovered and encoded in the ancient Indian texts, passages of which made perfect sense only if there astronomical keys are shown.
When one considers how dexterously Galileo exploited the presentation of mere moons at the Medici court, one can imagine all too well what good use he might have made of Copernican heliocentrism, in courtly tribute to the power image of an early modern prince.
Delio begins by detailing the medieval Ptolemaic worldview with its theological and cosmological implications and then explores Copernicus' heliocentrism, which challenged existing notions of the hierarchy of being.