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Why is Nicolaus Copernicus famous?

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Nicolaus Copernicus is best known for being the father of what would later become humans' modern understanding of the solar system. Prior to this determination, scientists believed that all the objects in the solar system orbited around the Earth itself.

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Why is Nicolaus Copernicus famous?
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Fortunately for modern astronomers, Copernicus possessed the strength of character necessary to endure the maelstrom that followed his announcement. Until then, it was standard thinking in the West culture, as well as a part of religious dogma, that God had set all things in motion in the manner outlined by Ptolemy. By contradicting Ptolemy's description of how the solar system functioned, Copernicus also contradicted the sincerely held beliefs of the Church and its adherents. He would later be excommunicated by the Church as a heretic, and many who took up his call would follow the same path. It would not be until much later, with Galileo's refinement of the telescope, that concrete evidence would be discovered. Even so, Galileo himself was placed on trial for heresy, found guilty, forced to recant and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Then referred to as heliocentrism, Copernicus' theory is now widely regarded as one of the most ground-breaking discoveries of his time.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who was Copernicus?

    A:

    Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer of the 15th and 16th centuries. Copernicus is known for developing the sun-centered, or heliocentric, model of the solar system during a time when the earth-centered, or geocentric, model was prevalent and propagated by the Catholic Church.

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  • Q:

    What did Copernicus discover?

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    Copernicus discovered that the planets revolved around the sun, rather than around the Earth. Called the heliocentric model of the solar system, the concept was at odds with the conventional wisdom of the time, which held that all heavenly bodies rotated around the Earth.

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  • Q:

    What were the achievements of Nicolas Copernicus?

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    The greatest achievement of Nicolas Copernicus was the publication of his book, "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium" (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) just before he died in 1543. This major event in the history of science began the Copernican Revolution and fueled the scientific revolution, according to About.com.

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  • Q:

    What were some of Nicolaus Copernicus' accomplishments?

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    According to the NASA, Nicolaus Copernicus developed the heliocentric theory of astronomy and determined that Earth rotates on its axis. Born in 1473, Copernicus is known as the father of astronomy, paving the way for other astronomers, such as Galileo, to make later advancements.

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