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Author Topic: In what ways was Copernicus conservative and why?  (Read 2283 times)

Offline bisgesjohn

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In what ways was Copernicus conservative and why?


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: In what ways was Copernicus conservative and why?
« Reply #1 on: 19/02/2012 10:18:44 »
Copernicus was the first person in to publicise in AD that using the solar centric rather than the earth centric system was a far more rational way of explaining the observed motions of the planets.  However The ancient Greek Aristarchus had already published this conclusion BC but the churches ignored this because it did not suit their opinions about the special place of the earth.

However with his heliocentric model he kept the orbits as perfect circles (a conservative approach) and explained the slight deviations from perfection by epicycles then used to correct the motions of the planets in the earth centric models. 

An interesting aside.  This is probably the first use of a "Fourier transform" approach to model and analyse a problem by using different frequency cycles to create a complex periodic motion.

Kepler came up with the proper solution based on elliptical orbits which work with inverse square law (newtonian) gravity
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: In what ways was Copernicus conservative and why?
« Reply #2 on: 19/02/2012 12:24:22 »
I think Copernicus was much concerned to appease the religious authorities who held strong views on these matters and could enforce them
 

Offline Jim Grozier

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Re: In what ways was Copernicus conservative and why?
« Reply #3 on: 26/02/2012 17:22:34 »
I think a more significant factor in the slow acceptance of Copernicanism was the academic hierarchy in place in the 16th century. Astronomers such as Copernicus occupied a lower status in the hierarchy than natural philosophers, and it was considered "beyond their remit" to pronounce on how the universe was constructed - their job was simply to observe, calculate and predict the positions of the heavenly bodies. Kepler, Tycho and Galileo were all able to break free of the academic system by means of royal or aristocratic patronage.

The delay in the publication of Copernicus's book may well have been because he was worried about the reaction to it (in the event it was published when Copernicus was on his deathbed). He deliberately aimed the book at fellow-astronomers and mathematicians by writing it in a very mathematical language, and this meant that among those who were able to read it, it got a relatively favourable reception. Nevertheless a common reaction (even among astronomers) was that it was a convenient way of calulating the positions of heavenly bodies but it was not literally true. The Catholic Church did not get round to banning it until 1616, over 70 years after its publication.
 

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Re: In what ways was Copernicus conservative and why?
« Reply #3 on: 26/02/2012 17:22:34 »

 

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