Aristarchus of Samos


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Aristarchus of Samos

(ăr'ĭstär`kəs, ăr'ĭstär`kəs, sā`mŏs), fl. c.310 B.C.–c.230 B.C., Greek astronomer and mathematician of the Alexandrian school. He is said to have been the first to propose a heliocentric or sun-centered theory of the universe. Of his writings only a treatise, The Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon, remains. The procedures he followed in this treatise were highly original; his calculation of the moon's distance was incorrect, but he derived a more correct value for the solar year. The treatise does not mention his conclusion that the earth moves around the sun and that the sun is at rest, but statements by Archimedes and Copernicus indicate that he held this theory. Other conclusions in which he seems to have anticipated later scientists are that the sun is larger than the earth, that the earth rotates upon its axis causing day and night, and that its axis is inclined to the plane of the ecliptic, causing the change of seasons.

Bibliography

See T. L. Heath, Aristarchus of Samos (1913, repr. 1981).

Aristarchus of Samos

(fl. c. 270 B.C.) Greek astronomer; first to maintain that Earth rotates and revolves around Sun. [Gk. Hist.: EB, I: 514]
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In around 250 BC a bold scholar, Aristarchus of Samos, risked execution by stating that the Earth was not the centre of the universe.
Archimedes attributes this theory to Aristarchus of Samos, who thus anticipated Copernicus by 2,000 years.
Next the Sun: Aristarchus of Samos noted that when the Moon appeared exactly half sunlit, as best as he could judge by eyeballing it, the Moon was 87[degrees] from the Sun in the sky.
Not everyone agrees; while visiting the little town of Karlovasi, Greece, my wife and I saw a statue honoring the discoverer of the heliocentric system, Aristarchus of Samos.
By the end of the second chapter, Copernicus and Aristarchus of Samos are finally vindicated by the trio Friedrich Bessel, Thomas Henderson, and Wilhelm Struve, who each independently made the first parallax measurements of nearby stars.